Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda — 2003

Economy, Society, and Warfare in the Nineteenth Century

By Richard Reid

"This is an impressive study, asking important questions and marshalling a wealth of evidence and original argument to provide bold answers."


Blessed with fertile and well-watered soil, East Africa's kingdom of Buganda supported a relatively dense population and became a major regional power by the mid-nineteenth century. This complex and fascinating state has also long been in need of a thorough study that cuts through the image of autocracy and military might.

Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda explores the material basis of Ganda political power, gives us a new understanding of what Ganda power meant in real terms, and relates the story of how the kingdom used the resources at its disposal to meet the challenges that confronted it. Reid further explains how these same challenges ultimately limited Buganda's dominance of the East African great lakes region.

Richard Reid is a lecturer in African and Imperial History at the University of Durham.

Cover of 'Political Power in Pre-Colonial Buganda'


  • Choice, Vol. 41, No. 01, p. 305; September 2003
  • Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, XLIV (3), 175, pp. 711-714, 2004
  • American Historical Review, June 2004
  • English Historical Review, Vol. CXX, No. 486, April 2005
  • African Affairs, Vol. 103, July 2004

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