19475981911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 27 — UnyoroHarry Johnston

UNYORO, called by its people Bunyoro, a country of east central Africa lying N. W. of the kingdom of Buganda (Uganda) and bounded E. and N. by the Victoria Nile. On the west, Unyoro includes nearly all the eastern shores of Albert Nyanza and a strip of territory—incorporated in Belgian Congo in 1910—west of that lake. In 1896 a British protectorate was established over Unyoro, which now forms the S.W. part of the northern province of the Uganda Protectorate. The limits of Unyoro have varied according to the strength of its rulers; during the 19th century the states of Bunyoro and Buganda appear to have been rivals for the overlordship of the region between the Bahr-el-Jebel and the great lakes. The Banyoro (as its people call themselves) had a certain degree of civilization and were skilled in iron-work, pottery and wood-work. The ruling class is of Hima stock, the Bahima possessing large herds of cattle. The first Europeans to enter the country were J. H. Speke and J. A. Grant, who spent part of 1862 there, the king, Kamurasi, putting many obstacles in the way of the travellers continuing their journey down the Nile. Its next white visitors were Sir Samuel and Lady Baker, who in 1864 discovered the Albert Nyanza. At this time ivory and slave traders, nominally Egyptian subjects, penetrated as far south as Unyoro, and a few years later (1870–74) Baker, as governor-general of the Equatorial Provinces, extended Egyptian influence over the country and placed a garrison at Foweira on the Victoria Nile. He formally annexed Unyoro to the Egyptian dominions at Masindi on the 14th of May 1872. General Gordon, who succeeded Baker, established posts at Masindi and Mruli. With King Kabarega, a son of Kamurasi, the Egyptians had many encounters. Egyptian authority ceased altogether with the withdrawal of Emin Pasha in 1888, but not long afterwards British influence began to be felt in the country. Kabarega in 1891 found himself in conflict with Captain F. D. Lugard, who entered Unyoro from the south. From this point the history of Unyoro is traced in the article Uganda. It need only be stated here that in 1899 Kabarega was captured by the British and deported to the Seychelles, and that one of his sons (Yosia, a minor) was subsequently recognized as chief in his place, though with very restricted powers, the province being virtually administered directly by the British government.

Unyoro has played rather an important rôle in the past (unwritten) history of Equatorial Africa as being the region from which the ancient Gala (Hamitic) aristocracy, coming from Nileland, penetrated the forests of Bantu Africa, bringing with them the Neolithic civilization, the use of metals, and the keeping of cattle. Unyoro, though not a large country, is in many ways remarkable. It is thought to contain gold in the north and north-east. In the west and south-west are the vast primeval forests of Budonga and Bugoma, containing large chimpanzees and a peculiar sub-species of straight-tusked elephants (only found in Unyoro).

See the works of Speke, Grant and Baker; also Colonel Gordon in Central Africa (4th ed., 1885); J. F. Cunningham’s Uganda and its Peoples (1905); and Winston Churchill’s My African Journey (1908).  (H. H. J.)