The Tooro monarch, Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV was crowned in 1995 when he was just 3years old, making him the youngest monarch in the world at the time.
Tooro region stretches over a high plateau in western Uganda located between Lake Albert and Lake George, bounded on the west by the Rwenzori Mountains, the south by Queen Elizabeth National Park, and to the north by Bunyoro-Kitara.
The Tooro Kingdom is Uganda’s youngest kingdom and it shares the same roots as that of Bunyoro-Kitara up until the 1820’s when a renegade prince of Bunyoro established the new Kingdom of Tooro. For this reason, the two kingdoms share almost identical cultures and traditions.
Fort Portal is the cultural centre and official seat of the kingdom and the Tooro Palace that is the official residence of the Omukama is perched atop a hill, commanding a majestic view of the town. Tooro is an amazing cultural destination with a lot to explore of the kingdom’s culture, including the traditional royal palace and the tombs. In addition, the Bunyaruguru Crater Lake region on the outskirts of Fort Portal has over 40 crater lakes that are a wonder to explore.
The Kingdom of Tooro
In 1822, during the reign of Omukama Nyamutukura Kyehamba III of Bunyoro, the heir to the throne, Prince Kaboyo paid a visit to the southern territory of the kingdom in modern-day Tooro. At the time, Kaboyo’s father, the Omukama had been on the throne for over 30years, and his reign had lost popularity because he was considered too old and weak to lead the massive kingdom. In addition, Nyamutukura had recently survived an attempted overthrow by the Bunyoro elders who hoped to install Prince Mugenyi, Kaboyo’s younger brother on the throne.
In Tooro, Kaboyo realised the full extent of his father’s unpopularity when the local chiefs proposed to him that he should secede from Bunyoro and form a new kingdom. Kaboyo then annexed the territory with River Muziizi forming a border with Bunyoro and proclaimed the new kingdom of Tooro. The same year, he was installed as Rukirabasaija Kaboyo Olimi I of Tooro. Nyamutukura had a soft spot for Kaboyo and so even when his army looked set to take back Tooro; he called off the assault and decided to tolerate the breakaway kingdom, even sending royal regalia to Kaboyo. When Nyamutukura died in 1835, Kaboyo was invited to take his rightful place as Omukama of Bunyoro but he declined.
During Kaboyo’s 30year rule, Tooro maintained an amicable relationship with Bunyoro, but after his death in 1860 the new kingdom was plagued with succession wrangles for over a decade and left prone to attack. In 1876, Omukama Kabalega attacked Tooro and slaughtered the entire royal family save for one prince, Kasagama who escaped to Buganda. Tooro was re-absorbed into Bunyoro-Kitara until 1891 when Kasagama with help from Captain Lugard and the Imperial British East Africa Company was restored to the throne as Rukirabasaija Kasagama Kyebambe III.
In exchange for the British help, Kasagama signed over much of Tooro’s mineral, forest and wildlife rights and Tooro functioned as a semi-autonomous kingdom for the duration of the colonial era. His grandson Rukirabasaija Patrick Kaboyo Rukidi III had only been on the throne 8months when the central government abolished the Tooro Kingdom along with all other kingdoms in Uganda.
In 1993 when traditional kingdoms were restored, Rukidi III died a few months before his planned second coronation ceremony. In 1995, Prince Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV was crowned Omukama of Tooro, the youngest monarch in the world at just 3 years old.
What You Need To Know
Location And Getting There
The Tooro Kingdom consists of Kamwenge, Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa Districts in Western Uganda with headquaters in Fort Portal Town.