As a collector striving to find at least one stamp from every issuing entity since 1840, I sometimes have odd omissions. For certain countries, I have a limited number of stamps and sometimes the stamps I do have are ones that I’m not that fond of. No, I do not love every stamp! One of my favorite methods of obtaining a great variety of stamps at the same time is through mixed packets. But there are certain topicals that I am less than pleased with when they appear in these packets of different stamps. I have been lucky in that very few of these thematic stamps have been included in the packets and lots I’ve purchased to date. In fact, I believe the only other Disney stamps currently residing in my collection are a few from the United States. Since today’s stamp is the ONLY one I currently have from the post-1962 independent Uganda, I am sort of “forced” to use it here; however, I will be placing an order for more (non-Disney) stamps from this country soon. In fact, I also need to obtain stamps from several of the “forerunner” issuers of this region including those of British East Africa and the Uganda Protectorate, among others.
Officially the Republic of Uganda, this is a landlocked country located on the East African Plateau, lying mostly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S (a small area is north of 4°), and longitudes 29° and 35°E. It averages about 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) above sea level, sloping very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate. Uganda has a total area of 93,065 square miles (241,038 km²) and a population of 34,634,650 as of 2014.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.
Beginning in 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the British, who established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from Britain on October 9, 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts, including a lengthy civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Northern Region, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The official languages are English and Swahili, although “any other language may be used as a medium of instruction in schools or other educational institutions or for legislative, administrative or judicial purposes as may be prescribed by law.” Luganda, a central language, is widely spoken across the country, and several other languages are also spoken including Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, and Luo.
The ancestors of the Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until 1,700-2,300 years ago. Bantu-speaking populations, who were probably from central Africa, migrated to the southern parts of the country. According to oral tradition, the Empire of Kitara covered an important part of the great lakes area, from the northern lakes Albert and Kyoga to the southern lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. Bunyoro-Kitara is claimed as the antecedent of the Buganda, Toro, Ankole, and Busoga kingdoms. Some Luo invaded the area of Bunyoro and assimilated with the Bantu there, establishing the Babiito dynasty of the current Omukama (ruler) of Bunyoro-Kitara.
Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. British Anglican missionaries arrived in the kingdom of Buganda in 1877 (a situation which gave rise to the death of the Uganda Martyrs) and were followed by French Catholic missionaries in 1879. The British government chartered the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) to negotiate trade agreements in the region beginning in 1888. From 1886, there were a series of religious wars in Buganda, initially between Muslims and Christians and then, from 1890, between ba-Ingleza Protestants and ba-Fransa Catholics. Because of civil unrest and financial burdens, IBEAC claimed that it was unable to “maintain their occupation” in the region. British commercial interests were ardent to protect the trade route of the Nile, which prompted the British government to annex Buganda and adjoining territories to create the Uganda Protectorate in 1894.
In the 1890s, 32,000 laborers from British India were recruited to East Africa under indentured labor contracts to construct the Uganda Railway. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, but 6,724 decided to remain in East Africa after the line’s completion. Subsequently, some became traders and took control of cotton ginning and sartorial retail. From 1900 to 1920, a sleeping sickness epidemic in the southern part of Uganda, along the north shores of Lake Victoria, killed more than 250,000 people.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on October 9, 1962, as a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. In October 1963, Uganda became a republic but maintained its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. The first post-independence election, held in 1962, was won by an alliance between the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Kabaka Yekka (KY). UPC and KY formed the first post-independence government with Milton Obote as executive prime minister, with the Buganda Kabaka (King) Edward Muteesa II holding the largely ceremonial position of president.
Uganda’s immediate post-independence years were dominated by the relationship between the central government and the largest regional kingdom — Buganda. Indeed, an understanding of this relationship is critical to understanding the current political and social elements that have forged and continue to shape Uganda.
From the moment the British created the Uganda protectorate, the issue of how to manage the largest monarchy within the framework of a unitary state had always been a problem. Colonial governors had failed to come up with a formula that worked. This was further complicated by Buganda’s nonchalant attitude to issue. Buganda never sought independence, but rather appeared to be comfortable with a loose arrangement that guaranteed them privileges above the other subjects in the protectorate — or a special status when the British left. This is best demonstrated by the battle between the British Governor Cohen and the Kabaka and his subjects prior to Independence.
Outside Buganda, a quiet spoken politician, Milton Obote, from Northern Uganda had forged an alliance of non-Buganda politicians to form the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). The UPC at its heart was dominated by politicians who wanted to rectify what they saw as the regional inequality that favored Buganda’s special status. This drew in substantial support from outside Buganda. The party however remained a loose alliance of interests but Obote showed great skill at negotiating them into a common ground based on a federal formula.
At Independence, the Buganda question remained unresolved. Uganda was one of the few colonial territories that achieved independence without a dominant political party with a clear majority in parliament. In the pre-Independence elections, the UPC ran no candidates in Buganda and won 37 of the 61 directly elected seats (outside Buganda). The DP won 24 seats outside Buganda. The “Special Status” granted to Buganda, meant that the 21 Buganda seats were elected by proportional representation reflecting the elections to the Buganda parliament — the Lukikko. KY won a resounding victory over DP, winning all 21 seats.
The tribal nature of Ugandan politics was also manifesting itself in government. In time, two segments of the government acquired ethnic labels — “Bantu” (the mainly Southern Ibingira faction) and “Nilotic” (the mainly Northern Obote faction). The perception that the government was at war with the Bantu was further enhanced when Obote arrested and imprisoned the mainly Bantu ministers who backed Ibingira. Bitter rivalries between the two factions were to define Uganda’s military politics later. They unwittingly brought to the fore the northerner/southerner political divide which to some extent still influences Ugandan politics.
In 1966, following a power struggle between the Obote-led government and King Muteesa, Obote suspended the constitution and removed the ceremonial president and vice-president. In 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic and abolished the traditional kingdoms. Obote was declared the president.
After a military coup on January 25, 1971, Obote was deposed from power and General Idi Amin seized control of the country. Amin ruled Uganda as dictator with the support of the military for the next eight years. He carried out mass killings within the country to maintain his rule. An estimated 80,000-500,000 Ugandans lost their lives during his regime. Aside from his brutalities, he forcibly removed the entrepreneurial Indian minority from Uganda. In June 1976, Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight and forced it to land at Entebbe airport. One hundred of the 250 passengers originally on board were held hostage until an Israeli commando raid rescued them ten days later. Amin’s reign was ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979, in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda.
Museveni has been president since his forces toppled the previous regime in January 1986. Political parties in Uganda were restricted in their activities beginning that year, in a measure ostensibly designed to reduce sectarian violence. In the non-party “Movement” system instituted by Museveni, political parties continued to exist, but they could operate only a headquarters office. They could not open branches, hold rallies, or field candidates directly, although electoral candidates could belong to political parties. A constitutional referendum cancelled this nineteen-year ban on multi-party politics in July 2005.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, Museveni was lauded by western countries as part of a new generation of African leaders. His presidency has been marred, however, by invading and occupying the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Second Congo War, resulting in an estimated 5.4 million deaths since 1998, and by participating in other conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa. He has struggled for years in the civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has been guilty of numerous crimes against humanity, including child slavery, the Atiak massacre, and other mass murders. Conflict in northern Uganda has killed thousands and displaced millions.
Parliament abolished presidential term limits in 2005, allegedly because Museveni used public funds to pay US$2,000 to each member of parliament who supported the measure. Presidential elections were held in February 2006. Museveni ran against several candidates, the most prominent of them being Kizza Besigye.
On February 20, 2011, the Uganda Electoral Commission declared the incumbent president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the winning candidate of the 2011 elections that were held on February 18. The opposition however, were not satisfied with the results, condemning them as full of sham and rigging. According to the official results, Museveni won with 68 percent of the votes. This easily topped his nearest challenger, Besigye, who had been Museveni’s physician and told reporters that he and his supporters “downrightly snub” the outcome as well as the unremitting rule of Museveni or any person he may appoint. Besigye added that the rigged elections would definitely lead to an illegitimate leadership and that it is up to Ugandans to critically analyse this. The European Union’s Election Observation Mission reported on improvements and flaws of the Ugandan electoral process: “The electoral campaign and polling day were conducted in a peaceful manner […] However, the electoral process was marred by avoidable administrative and logistical failures that led to an unacceptable number of Ugandan citizens being disfranchised.”
Since August 2012, hacktivist group Anonymous has threatened Ugandan officials and hacked official government websites over its anti-gay bills. Some international donors have threatened to cut financial aid to the country if anti-gay bills continue. Indicators of a plan for succession by the president’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, have increased tensions.
Uganda has issued stamps under a number of different names, starting with the first release by the Uganda Protectorate in 1895. They were mission stamps typewritten by E. Millar. In 1896, crudely printed stamps were introduced, and in 1898 a set of seven stamps portraying Queen Victoria were issued. Uganda then used stamps of East Africa & Uganda (1903-1922), Kenya & Uganda (1922-1927) and Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika/Tanzania (1935-1976). Although Uganda had its own postal administration from 1962, commemoratives inscribed Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania remained in use until 1976. Uganda issued a set of four stamps on July 28, 1962, commemorating the centenary of Speke’s discovery of the source of the Nile. This was the only set issued by Uganda as a self-governing state. The first stamps of independent Uganda were issued on October 9, 1962. Previously, a stamp from Kenya, Uganda & Tanganyika appeared on this blog. I hope to obtain stamps from the other entities in the near future.
Scott #1174 was issued on December 22, 1993, as part of a set of eight stamps plus two souvenir sheets on the theme of “Friends with Dinosaurs”, thus covering two different popular topicals with one issue (Scott #1174-1183). The stamps were printed by lithography and perforated 14 x 13½. The 50 shilling stamp features Mickey Mouse with “Sleepy-Time Stegosaurus.” The stegosaurus was a genus of armored dinosaur with fossils dating to the Late Jurassic period. They are found in Kimmeridgian to early Tithonian aged strata, between 155 and 150 million years ago, in the western United States and Portugal. Several species have been classified in the upper Morrison Formation of the western U.S, though only three are universally recognized; S. stenops, S. ungulatus and S. sulcatus. The remains of over 80 individual animals of this genus have been found. Stegosaurus would have lived alongside dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Allosaurus, and Ceratosaurus; the latter two may have been predators of it.
These were a large, heavily built, herbivorous quadrupeds with rounded backs, short fore limbs, long hind limbs, and tails held high in the air. Due to their distinctive combination of broad, upright plates and tail tipped with spikes, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. The function of this array of plates and spikes has been the subject of much speculation among scientists. Today, it is generally agreed that their spikes were most likely used for defense against predators, while their plates may have been used primarily for display, and secondarily for thermoregulatory functions. Stegosaurus had a relatively low brain-to-body mass ratio. It had a short neck and a small head, meaning it most likely ate low-lying bushes and shrubs. One species, Stegosaurus ungulatus, is the largest known of all the stegosaurians (bigger than related dinosaurs such as Kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus).
Stegosaurus remains were first identified during the “Bone Wars” by Othniel Charles Marsh. The first known skeletons were fragmentary and the bones were scattered, and it would be many years before the true appearance of these animals, including their posture and plate arrangement, became well understood. The name Stegosaurus means “roof lizard” or “covered lizard”, in reference to its bony plates. Despite its popularity in books and film, mounted skeletons of Stegosaurus did not become a staple of major natural history museums until the mid-20th century, and many museums have had to assemble composite displays from several different specimens due to a lack of complete skeletons.
While I am not a big fan of Disney stamps (there are WAY too many of them issued by certain entities), nor of dinosaurs, they do serve a purpose in popularizing our hobby amongst younger collectors. For that reason, I am thankful for them and I am pleased to highlight this Ugandan stamp on this blog, although it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the nation itself. I won’t be adding too many others to my collection if I can help it. However, I’ll probably make an exception for those Disney stamps showing Mickey and other characters participating in various philatelic activities.