Bantu-speaking mixed farmers first migrated into southwest Uganda from the west around 500 BC. There is evidence that they smelted iron for tools and weapons. In the following centuries Nilotic-speaking pastoralists entered northern Uganda from the upper Nile valley (now southern Sudan). By AD 1300 several kingdoms (the Chwezi states) had been established in southern Uganda. In 1500 Nilotic-speaking Luo people invaded the Chwezi states and established the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro and Ankole. At this time, northern Uganda became home to the Alur and Acholi ethnic groups. During the 17th century Bunyoro was southern Uganda’s most powerful state, controlling an area that stretched into present-day Rwanda and Tanzania. From about 1700 the kingdom of Buganda expanded (largely at the expense of Bunyoro), and a century later it dominated a large territory bordering Lake Victoria from the Victoria Nile to the Kagera River. The kabaka (king) maintained a large court and a powerful army and traded in cattle, ivory and slaves.
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