The Origins of Tooro

The Origins of Tooro

The kingdom of Tooro is in western Uganda, and is one of the five traditional kingdoms. Its seat is in Fort Portal, where the royal palace is built, and where the last three kings are buried.

Toro was part of the Bunyoro Kitara empire until 1826, when the heir to the Bunyoro throne broke away from his father, and annexed the southern territories that were Toro. He then made himself king, Olimi I. The Batooro – as the people of Tooro are known – accepted their new King, who ruled until 1865. His death marked a power struggle for the throne, including an invasion from Bunoyoro.

Today, Tooro is ruled by Omukama Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, known as King Oyo. He inherited the crown in 1995 upon the death of his father. He was only three year old at the time, making him the youngest ruling monarch at the time, and the twelfth ruler of Tooro kingdom. Three regents were appointed to rule until he reached adulthood: his mother, aunt and the President of Uganda. The main role of the king is to oversee the cultural affairs of the kingdom

The royal palace sits atop a hill in Fort Portal town. It was built in 1963 by King Oyo’s grandfather, Rukidi II, who ruled Tooro from 1929 until 1965. He is buried, along with his father and son just outside Fort Portal in Karambi tombs.

The palace fell into disrepair after the abolition of the kingdoms in 1966. The kingdoms were restored just two years before King Oyo took the throne, and his palace was repaired in 2001 with help from Colonel Gaddafi of Libya.