Who is St. Charles?

St. Charles Lwanga and the Ugandan Martyrs

Charles Lwanga (also known as Karoli Lwanga) was born in 1860 and was martyred June 3, 1886.

In 1875 the explorer Henry Stanley reached Buganda (earlier name for Uganda). Very shortly afterwards the first missionaries came to Buganda. The first Anglican missionaries arrived in 1877. Roman Catholic missionaries followed in 1879. The arrival of missionaries set the stage for a marked turning point in the religious life of the people of Buganda.

King Mutesa, who never converted and died a tribal traditionalist, possessed the astuteness and maturity to deal with the various forces of Islam, tribal religions and Christianity that were vying for the souls of the Bugandans. Upon his untimely death in 1884, King Mwanga II, only eighteen years old, ascended to the Bugandan throne. His reign would prove extremely hostile to the new religions, especially Christianity.

One of the first Christians to be martyred under the reign of Mwanga was James Hannington, the first Anglican Archbishop sent to Buganda. Shortly before arriving at the court of Mwanga, he and his party were intercepted. Archbishop Hannington and his entire party were killed in 1885.

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