Timeline of Ugandan History

This timeline of Uganda History is a work in progress. It sets out major events after 1939 that contribute to the story of the nation. As we learn, from the Young Reporter interviews, what ordinary Ugandans remember as the important events in their lives, additions will be made to the timeline. We will choose those developments that concern and affect large numbers of people. It is intended that the timeline will give young people some knowledge of major events in Uganda and guide them in their investigations of history through the oral accounts of older members of their family and community.


Study in small groups the timeline of events below and pick out those that you think will be most likely to have a lasting long-term effect on future lives and well-being in Uganda. Compare the events chosen by different groups and try to reach a common understanding of what sorts of events are “history-making”.

An Overview of Ugandan History


1939-1945 Second World War

1945    End of World War II – Strikes and disturbances about food prices and low wages




1949    Further Disturbances


1951 Idi Amin became Heavyweight boxing champion

1952    Andrew Cohen, new British Governor appointed to prepare Uganda for Independence

1952 Murchison and Kazinga/Queen Elizabeth were created as Uganda’s first National Parks

1952 Uganda Development Corporation Established

1953    Start of ‘Kabaka Crisis’ November: Kabaka Mutesa II deported

1954 Nalubaale Power Station at Owen Falls, Jinja was completed

1955    End of 1900 ‘Buganda Agreement’    Kabaka returns


1957    Andrew Cohen, ends time as British Governor

1958    Territory-wide elections to the Legislative Assembly – except Buganda

1959 Life Expectancy from birth is 40.8 years


1961    March elections: boycotted in Buganda: won by Ben Kiwanuka, Democratic Party

1962    25 April: elections won by Milton Obote and UPC (and Kabaka Yekka Party) 

1962 9 October: Independence Day

1963    9 October: Uganda becomes a Republic with Kabaka Edward Mutesa II as President and Milton Obote as Prime Minister



1966    Destruction of Buganda Kingdom Flight of Kabaka Mutesa II

1967    Milton Obote issues Common Man’s Charter and New constitution

1967 The East African Community (EAC) of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda established with a common shilling.

1967 Traditional Tribal Kingdoms abolished by Obote



1970 Nationalisation of major industries

1971    25 January: Military coup brings Idi Amin to power

1972    4 August Amin gives Uganda’s Asians 90 days to leave the country

1973 14,300 elephants in Murchison Falls National Park



1976 July 3, Israel rescued 103 passengers and crew being held at Entebbe Airport by pro-Palestinian hijackers

1977 East African Community disbanded


1979    11 April Amin overthrown by Uganda National Liberation Front and Tanzanian army.  Amin goes into exile

1980 1,400 elephants left in Murchison Falls National Park but no longer any rhinos

1980 Average Life Expectancy from birth was 52 years

1980    10/11 December General Election Milton Obote and Uganda People’s Congress elected to form new government. Start of Bush War led by Yoweri Museveni and National Resistance Army (NRA)



1984 Ethiopian famine extends to Karamoja 1984-5

1985    28 July Obote ousted in military coup by the Okello brothers

1986    26 January NRA take Kampala, 29 January Yoweri Museveni declared President

1986 Alice Lakwena led a Christian Fundamentalist revolt in Northern Uganda. It was defeated in 1987

1987 Joseph Kony took over as Head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)


1989    11-28 February Elections to National Resistance Council (no parties allowed)


1991 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park was established

1992 Coffee market restructured as Marketing Board closed


1994 Average Life Expectancy from birth fell to 40 years following HIV/AIDS epidemic

1994 Ronald Mutebi returned as Kabaka of Buganda

1994    28 March Elections for Constituent Assembly

1995    New constitution: Two term limit for presidency

1995 Inflation 6% after averaging 92% in previous 15 years

1996    Presidential election   Museveni beats Paul Ssemogerere

1996 Universal Primary Education programme begins

1996 20% of Kampala’s population HIV positive

1996 LRA rebels force tens of thousands from their homes and abduct children to become fighters

1997 Education Sector Strategic Plan

1997 Economic Impact of AIDS – 11% of children orphaned

1997 Ugandan troops help depose Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, who is replaced by Laurent Kabila

1998 Universal Primary Education Programme Initiated

1999 Feb 14, Two bombs exploded in Kampala bars – 5 killed and 35 injured

1999 Kiira Dam built alongside Owen Falls Dam at Jinja

2000 Kanungu massacre by religious fanatics

2000    Referendum on the constitution

2000 Fall in number in absolute poverty to 33%

2001    Presidential election   Museveni beats Kizza Besigye

2001 East African Community (EAC) inaugurated in Arusha, Tanzania



2004 LRA rebels slaughter more than 200 people at a camp for displaced people in Northern Uganda

2005    Parliament lifts two-term restriction on presidency

2006    Presidential election   Museveni beats Besigye

2007 Uganda opens anti-retroviral drugs factory to treat AIDS patients

2007 April Demonstrations in Kampala opposing the sale of large area of Mabira Forest for Sugar plantation

2008 Creation of Uganda National Roads Authority

2008 Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army sign a ceasefire at talks in Juba, Sudan

2009 Female circumcision made illegal

2009 Uganda Army withdraws from D.R. Congo

2010 Two bomb attacks by Al-Shebab on people watching World Cup final in Kampala kill at least 74 people.


2012 Bujagali Hydro Electricity Dam


2014 Average Life Expectancy from Birth rises to 54

2015 Uganda’s elephant population recovering

2016 General election

2016 Clashes between tribal king of Rwenzururu in western Uganda and security forces

2017 Constitutional Amendment extending Presidential Term of Office

2017 Uganda withdraws troops from Central African Republic

2018 East African Floods


2020 Covid-19 Pandemic in Uganda

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