The precolonial kingdom of Buganda, nucleus of the present Uganda state, has long attracted scholarly interest. Since written records are lacking entirely until 1862, historians have had to rely on oral traditions that were recorded from the end of the nineteenth century. These sources provide rich materials on Buganda in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but in this 1996 book Christopher Wrigley endeavours to show that the stories which appear to relate to earlier periods are largely mythology. He argues that this does not reduce their value since they are of interest in their own mythical right, revealing ancient traces of sacred kingship, and also throwing oblique light on the development of the recent state. He has written an elegant and wide-ranging study of one of Africa’s most famous kingdoms.
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