The Rise of kingdoms
- This is the area surrounding Lake Victoria.
- Many Kingdoms flourished in this region and the most important of these were Bunyoro Kitara, Bunyoro, Buganda, Ankole, Toro, Karagwe, and Wanga.
- The Batembuzi were the first to inhabit the interlacustrine region.
- Their origins are not clear and are surrounded in myths and legends.
- Traditions in western Uganda suggest the Tembuzi fell from heaven.
- They were semi gods and were able to perform miracles.
- The Tembuzi couldnt die but just disappeared and went back to heaven at the end of their earthly life.
- The Tembuzi dynasty is believed to have been founded by Ruhanga (creator or god) assisted by his brother Nkya.
- Ruhanga had no sons but Nkya had four, namely Kairu, Kahima, Kakama Twale and Kintu.
- Kairu became the ancestor of cultivators, Kahima the ancestor of herders and Kakama Twale the ancestor of rulers.
- Local traditions claim that Ruhanga and Kintu went back to heaven.
- Upon Ruhangas ascending to heaven, Kakama Twale took over the kingdom.
- Kakama Twale later disappeared to heaven and was succeeded by his son Baba who was later succeeded by Ngonzaki.
- Ngonzaki was succeeded by Isaza who was recorded as the last ruler of the Tembuzi.
- When Isaza disappeared, his gate keeper – Bukuku imposed himself as the ruler but people refused to recognize him as their leader.
- The Tembuzi were farmers growing mainly cereals and also kept animals.
- They also slept in grass thatched huts.
- This Kingdom lasted for 4 to 5 generations between 1200 1350 A.D.
- The Tembuzi divided their Kingdom into Ssazas each under a chief.
- They introduced the succession system in Bunyoro-Kitara.
- After the collapse of the Tembuzi dynasty, the Chwezi took over the interlacustrine region.
The Chwezi Rule (1350 1500 A.D)
- Their origin is not clear.
- Most of what is known about them is derived from myths and oral traditions.
- The Bachwezi were the successors to the Batembuzi.
- They were also semi gods and wandering pastoralists.
- Some historians believe that they were Galla or Cushitic people from Ethiopia.
- Others suggested that they must have been Greeks, Portuguese or possibly Egyptians.
- Others claim that they were probably Bantu speaking people.
- They were believed to have entered Uganda through the North or North East.
- Unlike the Tembuzi, they were true human beings.
- They were tall and light skinned people.
- They were demi-gods who possessed super natural powers and performed miracles.
- They were pastoralists and mainly kept the long horned cattle.
- They were known by various names e.g. Chwezi, Tutsi, Hinda and Hima.
- The Bachwezi formed the Bunyoro-Kitara Empire.
- The first ruler of the Bachwezi was Ndahura and their last ruler was Wamara.
Organisation Of Bunyoro Kitara Empire
- The Bachwezi were organized under one central authority i.e. they had a centralized monarch.
- The overall leader of the Bachwezi had the title Omukama.
- Omukama had absolute powers to life and death.
- The empire was divided into small states or provinces, districts and counties each under a chief.
- The chiefs were close relatives of the Omukama and formed a council of representatives.
- Bigobyamugyenyi was the capital of Bunyoro-Kitara Empire.
- The rulers lived in reed palaces with palace officials, Women and Slave artisans
- The Chwezi palaces were protected by enclosures called Ebirembo.
- The Chwezi Empire had a large standing army that fought using spears, bows and arrows.
- The Chwezi army also dug ditches around their capital and cattle kraals for purposes of protection.
- The Chwezi had a Royal Regalia which included the royal crown, royal drum and spears.
- These were symbols of power respected by everyone.
- The Bachwezi had two classes of people in society i.e. the Bahima and Bairu.
- Bairu were cultivators while Bahima were pastoralists and rulers.
- They built grass thatched huts smeared with cow dung and decorated inside with a variety of hand crafts.
- They were great sportsmen who spent their free time playing games e.g. Omweso and wrestling.
- They were great hunters who used long spears.
- They built reed palaces for the Omukama to stay in.
- Religiously, they believed in many gods.
- They had many strange and super natural powers and could even disappear when annoyed.
- They were a pastoral group who mainly kept the long horned cattle.
- The Chwezi were also farmers who grew coffee, beans and millet.
- The Chwezi also carried out Iron working and made implements like hoes, pangas and spears.
- They were also involved in pottery and made round bowls; Jars and shallow basins.
- Basket weaving also came with them.
- The bark cloth industry also formed part of their economy.
- They also made cow-hide sandals.
- They involved themselves in barter trade with their neighbors exchanging Iron implements and salt for food.