Uganda embraces many ecosystems, from the tall volcanic mountains of the eastern and western frontiers to the densely forested swamps of the Albert Nile River and the rainforests of the country’s central plateau. The land is richly fertile, and Ugandan coffee has become both a mainstay of the agricultural economy and a favorite of connoisseurs around the world. Uganda obtained formal independence on October 9, 1962. Its borders encompassed two essentially different types of societies: the relatively centralized Bantu kingdoms of the south and the more decentralized Nilotic and Sudanic peoples to the north. The country’s sad record of political conflict, coupled with environmental problems and the ravages of a countrywide AIDS epidemic, hindered progress and growth for many years. Yet, even so, at the beginning of the 21st century a popularly elected civilian government ruled Uganda, which had attained political stability, had set an example for tackling the AIDS crisis that threatened to overwhelm the continent, and enjoyed one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. Uganda’s indigenous languages are coextensive with its different ethnic groups. In addition to English, French, and Swahili, Radio Uganda broadcasts in more than 20 indigenous languages including Alur, Ganda, Lugbara, Masaba, Rwanda, Nyankole, Nyole, Soga, and Teso (Iteso). Most Ugandans can understand several languages.