Kampala was built on seven breathtaking hills, cut up by delightful valleys, and swamps traversed by sluggish streams, giving it entrancing scenery. Kampala hills not only provide a back drop of the city and a panoramic view from any direction, but its living history and definition. The seven hills on which the city was gradually built are: Rubaga, Namirembe (Mengo), Makerere, Kololo, Kibuli, Kampala (old Kampala) and Mulago. The three hills are dedicated to God: The catholic hill of Rubagga; Namirembe hill provides the headquoters of the Bristish church missionary society, and Kibuli is Muslim. Kololo and Nakasero were assigned for diplomatic, residential and administrative purposes. Mulago was set a side as the hill of the sick and Makerere, the tower of knowledge. Kampala hill remains a Fort, Muslim new mosque headquarters and a small administrative centre.
Kampala the garden city of Africa grew into the Uganda capital partly from historic accidents that started over centuries ago in the Kingdom of Buganda. Thought slightly over a 100 years old, the city is now firmly established as one of the fastest growing commercial and business cities on the continent, home to more than 2 million people.
Its from this development that Kampala manage to host the Common Wealth meeting in 2007, which lead to the development and rehabilitation of New Hotels around.
The word Kampala come from the word “Impala” a type of antelope, which the 19th century Kings of Buganda used to graze on the slop of the hill near Mengo palace. Most of the are were the present day Kampala stands was wetland and mash, dominated by rolling hills, an ideal habitat for the impala, grazed on the hills and came down to the wetlands for water.
In those days places were named after events or things associated with them. So the Bristish referred to the area as the Hill of the Impala Kasozi Kampala. So, whenever the Kabake (king) left his palace to go hunting, the Royal guards could tell his visitors that he had gone to Kampala to hunt; the name Kampala stuck.
The Name”hill of the Impala” was given specifically to the hill on which captain Fredrick Lord Lugard, a British admistrator, established his camp in December 1890. this hill was the imperial Bristish East African Company’s administrative headquarters until 1894, when the company collapsed and the headquarters of the protectorate was transferred to Entebbe. A small building existed on the hill was the new mosque is built; the building which is next to the mosques formed the first museum between 1908-1910. Unfortunately the site is not accessed to the public as it is the home of the Uganda Muslim Supreme council.
At this tinny Fort and administrative post, Lugard Hoisted the Imperial British East African company flag on December 18th, 1890; it was replaced by the union jack on April 1, 1893. The fort at Kampala hill (now known as Old Kampala) attracted several hundred people and a small township developed. Soon, traders erected shops at the foot hill.
After this foundation was laid just before the turn of the 20th century, kampala began a speed development. Its physical and climatological factors favoured it more than any other spot for modernisation. Kampala was also advantage as easy access to Entebbe (the colonial capital and gateway to Uganda for most international visitors), its central position. By 1900 the confines of the fort had become too small for the distractive purposes, so it was decided to move the colonial offices and government residences to Nakasero hill. Shops and other commercial premises followed and flourished.
Asian entrepreneurs flocked in and begun controlling part of the commercial activity. While the British planned and laid development for Kampala, the Asians implemented it. They monopolised the serene business life rapidly growing town.
With improvements of communication the growth of Kampala was assured. Between 1911 and 1945, Kampala’s expansion followed closely the Patten of international events. World wars led to the depressions, while post-war years saw a boom impetus and trade expansion.
The commercial and administrative growth was replicate in the Kampala’s population growth rate. The population stress in the city placed more additional demands on social and physical infrastructures, including housing, water sanitation, electricity, health units and schools. From 1930s steady progress was made to provide piped water, electricity (at first by generators) hard roads drainage services and water-born sanitation. The church missionary society had already established a hospital at Mengo hill in 1897; the British set up Mulago hospital in the early 1920s. These services contributed to the improvement of health and other social facilities, and subsequent status of all municipalities bestowed onto Kampala on January 1, 1949.
In the field of education, work on Makerere College (now Makerere University) started in 1922 at Makerere hill. Dozens of primary and secondary schools have been built in and around Kampala were also built till date. Missionaries and Asians took the lead in the sector were Luganda, gujrat, urdu, and English were the major languages of instructions in schools.
After 1945 Kampala’s development kept pace with increasing volume of commercial activities. This was particularly so in the 1950 s, which saw tremendous construction of new office block, residential houses, maintenance of 160 km of roads in the town ship and the landscaping of kololo Airstrip ( now the national Heroes’ cemetery).
To safeguard and protect the development work and projects, the British installed soldiers at strategic hill around Kampala. These military stations were transformed into fully-fledged barracks. These were: Makindye , Mengo ( later referred to as Lubiri ) ,Kireka and Mbuya .
Kampala has undergone a remarkable transformation since its conception in the 1890s. In physical size it has grown from 19 square kilometers to the present 80 square kilometers, an expansion that has been reflected administratively.
In 1906 the settlement was declared a township. In 1950 the first mayor of Kampala, Sir Amar Maini (C.B.E) was appointed. 9 the current mayor, Mr John Ssebagala-Kisito, is the seventh mayor) On January 1, 1962, Kampala became a city council. The City had kept its peace and had blossomed. Hence, on the day Uganda was granted independence, October 9th 1962, Kampala was finally declared capital of Uganda.
Source by Dickson Richards