Tribes in Uganda : A tribe can defined as  a social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language.

The Pearl of Africa is gifted  with innumerable tribes each with their respective language and  cultures. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world that house rich ethnic diversity. The tribes fall under three main ethnic groups including Bantu, Nilotic and Central Sudanic. Furthermore, the number of ethnic groups present in Uganda is very large, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region.

The main ethnic group is the Bantu. The biggest tribe under the Bantu is the Baganda. The Baganda tribe which makes up 16.9% of the population, followed by the Banyanole, Basoga and Bakiga tribes, which make up 9.5%, 8.4% and 6.9% respectively. There are many other tribes; however, they constitute a smaller percentage of the total population than the above mentioned.

The earliest inhabitants of the area were hunter-gatherers. This lifestyle was slowly replaced by the arrival of the Bantu-speaking peoples between 1,700 and 2,300 years ago. Today, the population of Uganda is approximately 37.8 million and made up of various ethnic groups.


Buganda has a long and extensive history. Unified in the 13th century (1300AD) under the first king Kato Kintu, the founder of Buganda’s Kintu Dynasty, Buganda grew to become one of the largest and most powerful states in East Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tribes in Uganda
The Baganda

The largest ethnic group in Uganda is the Baganda. Baganda People origin make up 16.9% of the population. The Baganda belong to the Bantu ethnic family and likely settled in the area between 1000 BC and 500 AD with the Bantu migration out of west Africa. The traditional language of this group is Luganda.

As of 2021 The Buganda tribe and its peoples reside in 26 districts across Central Uganda mainly along the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The over 12 million people make up majority of the country s population at approximately 27%


The second largest tribal group is the Banyankole, which makes up 9.5% of the population. The Banyankole primarily reside in the southwestern region of Uganda. They traditionally speak a Bantu language called Runyankole. The primary economic activity of the Banyankole is raising cattle. Today, the majority of these individuals practice Christianity, although the customary belief in ancestor spirits continues. When their kingdom was prohibited in 1962, the Banyankole fought the new, independent government. When monarchism was restored in 1993, the Banyankole were not united in their desire to reestablish the kingdom. To this day they have not resolved their differences.


The Basoga tribe group makes up 8.4% of the population, which makes them the third largest ethnic group. Their traditional language is Soga, belonging to the Bantu language family.

Tribes in Uganda
The Basoga

Land was owned by clans and managed by the head of the clan. Ownership could not pass to another clan The Basoga, today, inhabit the area east of the Baganda kingdom. After contact with British colonialists in the late 1800’s, the Basoga suffered significant population loss. Most of this, however, was due to an outbreak of the sleeping disease. As a result, between 1900 and 1910 much of the kingdom was evacuated. Those who survived came back to area between 1920 and 1930, although another epidemic occurred in the 1940’s. This was followed by famine. The population size continued to decrease. Similar to the Baganda, when tribal monarchies were once again legalized, the Basoga reestablished their kingdom.

Other tribes in Uganda include; Basongora, Bafumbira, Bakiga, Leo, Karimojong, Banyoro among others

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