African History 2: Bunyoro and Buganda
Today we're going to learn about how salt can build a city, and bananas can build an army. Seriously. Take a look.
|World History||African History|
They mostly came to power in the middle ages.
But…that’s still pretty old, right?
And the thing that makes these societies the most interesting is that they’re examples
of isolated and… peculiarly African… development.
These dudes weren't influenced by the Egyptians or the Middle East. [Tiger in a field and a city appears from under the ground]
They rose up out of the jungle all by their lonesome.
Bunyoro actually came to power first.
What was the secret to its success?
Yup…salt. [Person shakes a salt shaker]
It’s a mineral that’s essential for all human and animal life, making it, uh… pretty
So when Bunyoro figured out the process of culling salt from the soil around its lakes, [Man culling salt from a lake]
it eventually figured out it was sitting on a gold mine.
Well, a salt mine.
Well, really a lot of salty dirt.
Whatever…it was valuable.
And trading it gave Bunyoro the kind of thriving economy needed to build a kingdom. [Bunyoro people working]
Meanwhile, a rival was steadily growing in power on the shores of Lake Victoria.
It didn’t have salt, but it did have a knack for growing bananas, which provided the base
for its growing economy.
A country run on banana power. [Country overview with a banana attached to a generator]
Now that idea has some a-peel.
Buganda also had a ton of ambition.
So it put a lot of that banana money toward maintaining a standing army and building a
fleet of jumbo canoes.
It used that army to take over new land and to dominate trade on Lake Victoria. [Buganda army firing bananas at army]
By this point, it was getting pretty lucrative, since Arabic and Swahili traders had arrived [Arabic and Swahili traders fighting with bananas]
looking for slaves and ivory.
Oh, and they also brought a new invention called… the gun.
So that was a biggie. [Buganda fires a gun]
With its newfound wealth and firepower, Buganda started to totally dominate its salty rival
Bunyoro, though the old school kingdom still managed to put up some resistance.
However, Bunyoro’s downfall was sealed when Buganda made a deal with the British, who’d [Buganda negotiating with British soldiers]
arrived first in the form of explorers and missionaries.
Now in the form of soldiers, the British offered to back Buganda, as long as Buganda became
a British Protectorate.
Buganda signed up to be a part of the British empire in 1894, and it wasn’t until the
1960’s that it regained its independence. [Timeline of Buganda]
Back in the day, it seemed like a great opportunity, though.
Together, the British and Bugandans attacked Bunyoro and killed three quarters of its population,
basically annihilating the ancient kingdom. [Bunyoro appears and looks at the rubble]
Talk about overkill.
And that’s why the modern-day country is called Uganda instead of Unyoro or… something
Though today both Bunyoro and Buganda are recognized provinces within Uganda.
So…would you call that a happy ending? [Ugandan crying]