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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Immigrants and indigenes: the Lost Counties dispute and the evolution of ethnic identity in colonial Buganda
Author:Doyle, ShaneISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:ethnic identity
Ganda (Uganda)
social integration
colonial policy
Buganda polity
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531050902972782
Abstract:This is a study of ethnic politics in colonial Buganda, one of East Africa's largest and oldest kingdoms. It compares two strategies of ethnic integration: one designed to discipline the enormous, disparate body of economic migrants who sought to share in Buganda's cash-cropping wealth; the other aimed at undermining the irredentism of the Nyoro population of the 'Lost Counties', territory that had been conquered by the British and transferred to their Ganda allies during the 1890s conquest of Bunyoro. In Buganda's heartland, most Ganda wanted immigrants primarily for their labour, and viewed the prospect of their integration as landholders, in-laws and chiefs with some alarm. By contrast, in the Lost Counties, the need to assimilate the local Nyoro majority was almost universally accepted by Ganda. Here, customary law was used to suppress Nyoro culture, Ganda names and clans were imposed on Nyoro subjects, and Nyoro were counted as Ganda in censuses. As the colonial period wore on the greater power of the Ganda State was employed in increasingly complex ways to secure the loyalty of the amenable Nyoro elite, and repress the dissident minority. A number of factors explain this divergence. The structure of colonial politics focused Ganda ethnic identity more on territoriality than had previously been the case; Buganda's historic rivalry with Bunyoro encouraged this relatively extreme policy of absorption; the loss of the Lost Counties would weaken Buganda's physical and demographic pre-eminence within Uganda; and Nyoro irredentism, by securing the support of political elites across Uganda, heightened Ganda fears of encirclement by hostile nationalist forces. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]