Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)



Capital : Kampala

Size: 91 000 sq m Popn: 18 674 000

Eastern, Western, Northern, Busoga, Karamoja, Nile, North Buganda, South Buganda


This fertile Commonwealth country attracted many settlers, such as the Bantu from the West and the Hamitic and Nilotic peoples from the North, who displaced the original pygmies to the forests of the South West. The Bantu were organized into kingdoms by the C15th with Bunyoro dominating initially and Buganda taking over by the C19th when the Europeans arrived.

Under King Mutesa I (1856-1884) there was social, administrative and religious reform influenced by Arab traders and European visitors. He became a Christian and used some Islamic law. After a period of control by Arab traders in 1888-9, Buganda became a British protectorate in 1893 but retained possession of land freeholds. The British East Africa Company helped the Christians to convert those Ugandans who had become Muslims but there was some conflict between the Protestant English and the Catholic French misionaries.

At the beginning of the C20th, there was a movement away from the British, Christian administration and demands for African leadership began. One military leader, Semei Lulaklenzi Kakungulu (advisor and general to the previous kings) tried for many years to persuade the British to recognise him as king. He was seen as a rival by the Prime Minister of Buganda, Apollo Kagwa, and was only related by marriage to the Buganda royal family. The British refused his request and threatened military action if he continued to use the title although he continued to hold administrative offices. Kakungulu founded the Abuyudaya Jewish movement.

After various political struggles independence was granted in 1962 with Milton Obote as Prime Minister and Mutesa II as President when the Federal Republic was proclaimed in 1963. The king was deposed in 1966 and Obote became executive president, ending the federal status. After an assassination attempt in 1969, he banned political oppostion and instituted a vitual one-party state.

Major-General Idi Amin Dada seized power in 1971, making himself life president and implementing a reign of terror and disastrous economic policies. Many people of Arab origin were expelled and moved to Britain. He claimed that Uganda had historical rights to large amounts of Kenyan territory which strained relations between the two countries and severed diplomatic links with Britain. He was ousted in 1979 after the failed invasion of Tanzania and a provisional government under Yusuf Lule and later Godfrey Binaisa was overthrown by the army.

After elections, Obote returned only to be exiled again when the military seized power under Brigadier Tito Okello in 1985. He was unable to control the army and fled to Sudan early in 1986. Signs of recovery became visible after President Museveni's National Resistance army took over but rebel groups are still active.

Ethnic groups include Baganda, Basoga and Banyankole, religions are Christianity, Islam and traditional beliefs and languages are English (official), Swahili and Luganda.

Ugandan Names


Akello Balinda Daudi Donu Eria Ibulaim
Janani Joswa Kagera Kalema Kato Kezekia
Kitaba Lukwongwa Lulaklenzi Makabee Malaki Mori
Mubale Mugombe Musamba Mutesa Ndaula Nimulodi
Okot Oumee Paskar Samson Saulo Semei
Semuwemba Taban Yakobo Yari Yekoyasi Yokana
Yowen Yoweri Yuda Yusufu Zakayo  


Nagesa Sera Sudati Wandina    


Abe Apio Asiku Atria Balozi Bbosa
Bingamu Birungi Erza Habyari Kagwa Kakungulu
Kamoga Kamomba Kanogo Kasakya Kaweke Kazilawe
Keki Kirunda Kisito Kizito Kogbara Kony
Kutakulimuki Luwandi Luwuliza Luwum Lwanga Madraa
Mana Masasu Mayat Mkasa Mugema Mugombe
Mulefu Mumbya Murmaba Musajakawa Musamba Museveni
Mwanga Naggenda Naide Nyombi Obote Ogola
Omaswa Omitra Owor Petero Rwabugini Sajjabi
Sebuggwawo Singhal Ssenyonjo Tebazalwa Wambukawo Were



Adroa 'God's will' Birungi 'perfect' Dembe 'peace' Gwandoya Jamba Kintu
Kissa Kizza Lutalo Milkasa Mubiru 'eel clan' Mutesa
Mwaka Mwanje Najja Salongo Sanyu 'happiness' Zesiro


Kissa Mirembe, Namirembe, Mireh 'peace' Nabulungi Najja Namono Nantale 'from the lion clan'
Nnambi Sanyu Zesiro      


Achon Babito Binaisa Dada Kalule Lakwena
Lule Lutwa Musevini Mutesa Muwanga Obote
Okino Okoth Semogerere Ssemwanga    










This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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