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Uganda: Christianity
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Religion > World Religions > Christianity


The largest Protestant denomination is Anglican (Episcopal). In 1989 about 4 million Ugandans, or roughly 22 percent of the population, belonged to the nineteen dioceses of the Anglican Church of Uganda. Other Protestant churches, including Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, and a small Bahai congregation, together had fewer than 1 million members. About 5 million Roman Catholics (roughly 28 percent of the population) were members of the thirteen Catholic dioceses in Uganda. The Catholic and Anglican archbishops and other church leaders were Ugandans.

The first Christian missionaries represented the Anglican Church Missionary Society (CMS) and arrived in Buganda in 1877 a French religious order, arrived two years later. These and later Catholic and Protestant missions competed for converts in southern Uganda and became embroiled in local politics. British and German military commanders organized Protestant and Catholic converts to defend imperial interests against each other and against Muslim armies. Many early converts to Christianity were persecuted by local rulers, and nineteenthcentury martyrs were commemorated in shrines in several places in southern Uganda.

After the victories of Protestant armies in the conflicts of the 1890s in southern Uganda, membership in the Anglican church was a requirement for each kabaka of Buganda. The Anglican Cathedral on Namirembe Hill near Kampala became the site of the kabaka's coronation. (A Roman Catholic cathedral was built on nearby Rubaga Hill in 1925.) When Protestant Baganda formed the political party Kabaka Yekka (KY) to press for autonomy for Buganda at independence, Catholics formed the Democratic Party (DP) to oppose the parochial interests of the KY. The DP also won support in areas where opposition to Buganda was high, and other political parties organized in reaction to KY and DP demands. Religion continued to be a factor in national politics through the first three decades of independence.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Uganda was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 53 of 169


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