Uganda Scheme

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Theodor Herzl

The Uganda Scheme was a plan in the early 1900s to give a portion of British East Africa to the Jewish people as a homeland. It drew support from prominent Zionist Theodor Herzl as a temporary means of refuge for European Jews facing antisemitism.[1]


The offer was first made by British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain to Theodore Herzl's Zionist group in 1903. He offered 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2) at Uasin Gishu (at the time spelled "Gwas Ngishu"), an isolated area atop the Mau Escarpment in modern Kenya (not Uganda).[2] This territory had only recently been transferred from the Uganda Protectorate to the East Africa Protectorate in 1902, as part of the Uganda Railway development plan.[3] The land was thought suitable because of its temperate hill station-like climate and its relative isolation, being surrounded by the Mau Forest. The offer was a response to pogroms against the Jews in Russia, and it was hoped the area could be a refuge from persecution for the Jewish people.[4]

In Fiction[edit]

  • The story of the 1904 expedition, as well as an imagined vision of a Jewish state in Uasin Gishu, is told in Lavie Tidhar's novelette "Uganda", in his 2007 collection HebrewPunk.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Uganda Proposal". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  2. ^ Joseph Telushkin (1991). Jewish literacy. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-688-08506-7. Britain stepped into the picture, offering Herzl land in the largely undeveloped area of Uganda (today, it would be considered an area of Kenya). ... 
  3. ^ Červenka, Zdenek (1973). Land-locked Countries of Africa. Nordic Africa Institute. pp. 81–88. 
  4. ^ Theodor Herzl's biography at Jewish Virtual Library
  5. ^ The story online at Flurb Magazine

External links[edit]