King of Uganda and Royal Drummer with His Ears Cut off by Order of Former King, Africa


This photograph of a scene in Uganda is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. Uganda became a protectorate within the British Empire in 1894, but the country’s centuries-old kingdoms remained intact and each kingdom retained a considerable degree of local autonomy, including the right to administer justice by traditional means. Carpenter's New Geographical Reader: Africa (1924) contained a glowing description of Uganda and its natural wealth: “The best soil is a rich red. There are hills of fine pasture, dense woods filled with big game, swamps choked with papyrus reeds, in which crocodiles and hippopotamuses are found, and other regions where the grass is ten feet high. There are also vast stretches of meadow land, spotted with groves of beautiful trees and dotted here and there with villages, around which are small gardens and farms.”

Last updated: May 29, 2013