/div>Country, eastern Africa. Area: 93,263 sq mi (241,551 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 32,710,000. Capital: Kampala
. Uganda is home to dozens of African ethnic groups, as well as a small Asian community. Languages: English (official), Swahili. Religions: Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic; also Protestant); also Islam, traditional beliefs. Currency: Uganda shilling. A landlocked country on the Equator, Uganda is largely situated on a plateau, with volcanic mountains edging its eastern and western borders; Margherita Peak
, at 16,795 ft (5,119 m), is the highest mountain. Part of Lake Victoria
occupies virtually all of southeastern Uganda; other major lakes are Lakes Albert
, George, and Bisina. The Nile River
traverses the country. Huge tracts of land are devoted to national parks and game reserves. The economy is based largely on agriculture and food processing. Livestock raising and fishing are also important, and there is some manufacturing and mining. Uganda is a multiparty republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president, assisted by the prime minister. By the 19th century the region was divided into several separate local kingdoms inhabited by various Bantu- and Nilotic-speaking peoples. Arab traders reached the area in the 1840s. The kingdom of Buganda
was visited by the first European explorers in 1862. Protestant and Catholic missionaries arrived in the 1870s, and the development of religious factions led to persecution and civil strife. In 1894 Buganda was formally proclaimed a British protectorate. As Uganda, it gained independence in 1962, and in 1967 it adopted a republican constitution. The civilian government was overthrown in 1971 and replaced by a military regime under Idi Amin
. His invasion of Tanzania in 1978 resulted in the collapse of his regime. The civilian government was again deposed by the military in 1985, but the military government was in turn overthrown in 1986. A constituent assembly enacted a new constitution in 1995.