Independence Day in Uganda
Observed annually on October 9th in Uganda, Independence Day commemorates the country’s independence from the United Kingdom on this date in 1962. While some countries move their Independence Day celebration to the following Monday if the holiday falls on a weekend, Uganda does not.
It is always celebrated on the 9th of October, regardless of the day of the week it falls on. It is a public holiday in the country, so people have the day off, and many non-essential government offices, businesses, and schools are closed for the day.
The History of Ugandan Independence Day
In 1862, British explorer John Hanning Speke became the first European to visit the country and come into contact with indigenous peoples. This opened the door for British missionaries to start visiting the area over the next decade, with the blessing of Mutesa I, the king of Buganda.
In 1888, the British government chartered the British East Africa Company to negotiate trade agreements in the region. In 1890, Britain established its right to the region, coming to an agreement with Germany over its colonial rights. In 1894, Great Britain created the Uganda Protectorate to stop violence in the region that resulted from sectarian conflicts and to protect their trade route down the Nile River.
Because of the huge amount of debt incurred by the British Empire during WWII, Britain loosened its grip on the region. On October 9th, 1962, Uganda gained independence from Britain and became a parliamentary democratic monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the country’s figurehead. In October of the following year, Uganda became a republic.
Observing Ugandan Independence Day
Although celebrations occur across the country, the national parade begins at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. Parties, cultural events, and other events are observed as well.