The Empire of Sun and Moon: The Story of the Haya People

Chapter 0: Background

Deleted member 163405

The Empire of Sun and Moon: The Story of the Haya People

Chapter 1: Dawn
Part 0: Background Up to the Year 1300

The Haya people were originally a tribe of fishermen settled around Lake Ukerewe. They separated themselves from the authority of the Banyambo people and the various Karagwe Kingdoms. They began to establish themselves as a distinct ethnicity from the Banyambo people.

Early Haya oral history suggests they settled around Lake Ukerewe (Victoria) during the Bantu Expansions which took place from 1,000 BC - 1 AD. They were amongst the earliest people in the region to develop iron smelting and crafting, which soon became a part of the wider Urewe culture. From the 5th century BC to the 6th century AD, the establishment of settlements along the Great Lake where fishing, cereal farming especially millet, and sorghum would become the ground for a sustainable settlement, root cropping, as well as, bean cultivation began to take place.

By 1100 AD, the Bahaya people would begin to feel the pressures of outside trade and modernity. The Bunyoro and Buganda peoples, as well as the kingdoms that developed out of them. From Bunyoro Bahaya would be introduced to new breeds of African bananas, and Buganda notably brought breeds of cattle, mainly the indigenous Sanga Cattle, that would help revolutionize the way the Bahaya lived. The introduction of cattle to their already sedentary and settled lifestyles would begin the development of many of the local villages into burgeoning towns. The movement of these various people’s coincided with an increased cycle of an environmental downturn, degradation of soil quality, and general environmental catastrophe.

To the East, along the shores of the Swahili Coast, several great trade sultanates brought technology, horses, gold, ivory, and many other goods. The Swahili Coast would trade with Arabia, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, and even into China. While there were an estimated 25-35 trade cities and various sultanates that would rise and fall. By the time of 1200, The Pate Sultanate was a nation founded in Pate town, a small trading outpost established by Omani refugees and traders in the 8th century. Pate had become a vassal under the powerful Kilwa Sultanate; however, their power was in a period of general flux so by 1203, Pate would once again be independent under the Nabahani Family, another Omani transplant. Further down the coast, south of Pate, the Malindi Kingdom that was founded in 850 AD had grown and subsequently fallen, being destroyed in 1100 AD. As trade would remain cyclical, the Malindi Kingdom had fallen into irrelevance, especially during the rise of Kilwa. Yet despite this, the city would be rebuilt in the early 1200s, and once again Malindi merchants would begin to reestablish themselves in India, Arabia, and Persia. The Malindi Kingdom also maintained contacts and trade up to the Sultanate of Mogadishu and its successor Auuraan, and as the Far East as China, as the city is noted several times by Chinese traders throughout the centuries, especially during the Song Dynasty. The last of the smaller trade kingdoms, just south of Malindi would be the Sultanate of Mombasa. Founded in 900 AD, according to oral historians by Queen Mwana Mkisi. This is likely a myth as she founded Kongowea her name being Mwana “the holy” founder of Kongo. Despite unknown beginnings, Mombasa grew and as the city grew it became an important trade city with Gujarat and Southern India, trading the city’s millets, ivory, and sesamum for the gold, and spices of India.

All of these small trade kingdoms and sultanates would; however, pale in comparison to the Sultanate of Kilwa. Stretching from Inhambane to Pate it dominated the region extracting tribute and making vassals much of the Swahili Coast at its height. Founded in 960 by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi. Driven out of Persia by his brothers following the death of his father. Al-Hassan would travel to Mogadishu where he would stay until he had a falling out with the city's officials. It’s expected Hassan had criticized the city's running, even potentially predicting the sultanate’s collapse, so he was forced to flee. From there we would sail south and purchase the island of Kilwa from the local Bantu people. Cooperating with the island's local inhabitants, the city of Kilwa was founded. The island quickly proved more advantageous than Mogadishu, and merchants, immigrants, Persians, and Arabs all began to flock to the island, and the city of Kilwa began to grow. By 1195, the sultanate had taken control of Sofala becoming a trade entrepôt for the further inland fast-growing Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe. It conquered through trade, diplomacy, and warfare, surrounding city-states, even Zanzibar. By 1200, the Kingdom of Kilwa’s power was in a state of flux; however, it would be the beginning of the kingdom’s golden age.

On the far periphery of the region would be the Sultanate of Auuraan in Somalia, and the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in the far south inland (modern-day Zimbabwe). The Sultanate of Ajuuraan was the successor to the old sultanate of Mogadishu which had collapsed following the growth and expansion of Kilwa into its tributaries. Ajuuraan would step into the power vacuum and begin establishing itself as a new trade empire led by the Garen Dynasty, a former dynasty that had ruled the Garden Kingdom in inner Somalia. The Ajuran Sultanate was unique, being the only known example of a hydraulic empire in Africa. The Garen dynasty was known as a water dynasty monopolizing control over the Jubba and Shabelle Rivers. They used their control over the waterways as a way to cow numerous smaller tribes and city-states into their growing sultanate. They were also known for their use of early hydraulic engineering to construct numerous limestone wells, cisterns, and advanced irrigation systems.

Then, in the far south was the Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe. At this point it was still; however, known as the Kingdom of Mapungubwe the city of Mapungubwe had greatly decreased in importance with many of its people and leaders resettling to the capital city of Great Zimbabwe. Being one of the few inner-city trade empires, Great Zimbabwe greatly expanded in size and power, eclipsing nearby towns and cities. Zimbabwe at this point was known for its many great stone cities known as little Zimbabwe.

The Great Lakes of Africa are where several kingdoms would be established. The most powerful was the Kingdom of Rwanda which dominated both sides of Lake Plain-Like (Tanganyika) and Lake Kivu. At this point in 1200, they were led by King Nisoro I Gihanga. While still immensely powerful his authority was being chipped away by the surrounding people. To the north was the Kingdom of Bunyoro which had originally been the strongest of the Lake tribal kingdoms. The death of their previous king had fragmented the kingdom's power, and the Haya, Busoga, and Buganda kingdoms would all break away. Buganda sat on a potentially important trade node on Lake Ukerewe. While little trade trickled inwards towards the Great Lakes, as the Kingdom rose in power and size the more they would begin to push outwards.

In this region, the Haya Kingdom would be born, under its first King Kamaanya. The exact birth date and even the name of Kamaanya are unknown. According to the oral traditions of early Bahaya history, he descended directly from the heavens above delivered by the Gods to save the Haya people, who had been greatly suffering under the growing power and pressure of a rival tribe, mainly the Banyambo of the Karagwe Kingdom. The Banyambo were the opposites of the Haya. While the Haya people remained settled, the Banyambo were pastoralist nomads, who had temporary yearly settlements. During an immensely bad harvest, while the Haya whose more diversified food production allowed them to subsist on fish, cattle, and leftover stores, the Banyambo starved. This led the pastoralist nomads to raid several settlements of the Haya people.

The Haya people by this point had no formal centralized Kingdom and were ruled by many dispersed families, the most powerful were the Batembuzi (which supposedly Kamaanya had been the founder and ruler of), the Bayango, Bakuma, and Ihangiro. The Haya were unique as they possessed the ability to forge carbon steel, which they would do underneath their great sacred shrine trees known as the Kaiija. This steel produced and furnaces used were far more advanced than anything any neighboring cultures were producing at the time and even many civilizations nearby. Unfortunately, this steel was underutilized in the realm of combat, most was used for farming tools, pottery, and other utensils.

It would be under Kamaanya that he would push his blacksmiths to forge the first weapons of war. Mainly spears, and short swords during this period; however, even arrows for bows would be crafted. Day and night these blacksmiths would work in shifts, and pottery and non-essentials were melted down, with notably Kamaanya himself in a gesture of well-publicized poverty shedding all his possessions except his gown. It’s said during those years that the king slept on the floor. Kamaanya would begin his efforts of unification with the other great clans. He would marry a daughter of the Bayango clan, Queen Aisha. The Bayango was the second largest and most powerful of the Haya clans, thus uniting the two families and various settlements into a unified state. Then came the Bakuma clan, Kamaanya would meet with the leaders of the clan, marrying some of his clan to the Bakuma and uniting them into one clan, allying and tying them together.

Finally came the Ihangiro. They refused any negotiations or friendship with Kamaanya or his coalition of clans. So, a combined clan army would march upon the Ihangiro, they would show their strength and their numbers. According to legend the clan leader of the Ihangiro marched out against Kamaanya and challenged him to single combat. It is said when the two clan leaders clashed the clouds roared and the skies poured with rain. Then Kamaanya shattered the weapon of the clan leader to the surprise of his entire clan and village. The legends then say Kamaanya was declared King of All Kaya People.

For nearly 12 years, Kamaanya would prepare his burgeoning tribal kingdom for war. The Haya Kingdom would begin to establish a solidified base society. The Bacwezi belief system was prominent with stories of Gods and Goddesses being conveyed by spirit mediums, diviners, priests, and priestesses. Central to this religion would be,of course, the blacksmiths, and forges. These forges would be greatly expanded, and this would also push the Haya Kingdom to reach outwards and begin sending traders to Rwanda, and Baganda trading their pottery, bananas, and glass for iron ores. It would also be this initial introduction to cross-civilization trade. According to oral history, King Kamaanya would be the one to build and shape Haya society. He would begin by greatly centralizing around individual clan systems, with each familial clan adopting a common totem to identify their family and community with. Haya villages would at this period be made out of flexible reed and mud-brick, known as a Mushonge. The roof would be a vernacular architectural design with iron and steel reinforcing the roofs. The king would also inform his people how to properly organize agriculture. The banana grove (Kibanja) would be made to directly surround the homestead and be tended and harvested all year. Familial plots which would be tended to by each family plot (Musiri) would be used for more supplemental foods, mainly maize, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Finally came the communal plots (rweya) managed by the entirety of a village. On these lands cattle would graze, grass cutting for mulch, build thatching, and even in some cases grow and manage trees. It’s also said that Kamaanya would be considered instrumental in the creation of so-called ethnic medicines using local plants and herbs to treat common illnesses.

Kamaanya established the administration for his new kingdom. At the head of the kingdom was the King also known as the Bakama who assigned different roles to each clan. The Batunda clan became royal bodyguards, the Bashonde became in charge of the creation of war material, and Baihuzi were trainers. Then his court would contain the Chief Minister (Omukuru We Kibuga), Ministers (Batongole), and Council of Advisors (Lukiiko). In charge of the different villages were the appointed County Chiefs (Bami B’enshozi), and the village headsmen (Bakungu). According to legend, Kamaanya created the first system of imperial selection. This would be known as the Omuteko, all boys from age 10-12 would report to the village headsmen who would examine and choose the best students to go before the King. During these examinations language, fighting skills, history, and loyalty to the king would all be tested. The most talented children would join the court and be assigned to various important positions to be further educated and serve as an apprentice. During this period as high as 50% of children were expelled from training.

The burgeoning kingdom would continue to attempt to try and trade and expand ties to other kingdoms. To achieve this the Haya Kingdom would have to clamp down on their rivals the Banyambo of the Karagwe Kingdom. King Kamaanya would march with his small army north against the temporary settlement of the Banyambo. He would in a battle prove the strength of his weapons, driving away the herders, raiding their settlements, and capturing their loot, women, and children. These would all be integrated into the new growing kingdom.

By 1200, the Kingdom of Haya would be established, with the 1st so-called King sent from the Gods, King of All the Hayas, Kamaanya I Batembuzi.


[1] It should be noted that most of these histories are of course falsehoods. Many for instance were to legitimize the rule of African kings over Arab merchants. Kilwa for instance tied itself between Al-Hassan being a mixed-race Abyssinian and Persian from Hormuz. This tied Islam together with the traditional culture of Africa thus legitimizing the sultan’s rule. This tying of African traditions and myth with religion would be seen in most major kingdoms of the period, as written records generally were still uncommon during this period. For most trade kingdoms writing generally was only used to record transactions, while in the Great Lakes generally there were no written records until later periods.

[2] At this point it should be noted we are moving away from the established history of the Haya people. Instead,we are going into my speculations and the alternate history of the Haya begins at this point with the unification of the clans.
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Chapter 1.1: Reign of Kamaanya I (?-1324)

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Chapter 1.1: The Reign of Kamaanya I (?-1324)

The first ability to accurately record any of Haya's history comes around the year 1300. It’s estimated King Kamaanya I is estimated to at this point be between the ages of 25-35. By this period in time, he solidified control mostly over the Haya people and created the Kingdom of Haya.

Queen Elea, and the Birth of an Heir (1300~)

Kamaanya’s Queen, Elea of the Bayongo clan, would bring the Kingdom its first heir, it is thought he was born around the year 1300, they would name him Kasasiri. Despite being a greatly political marriage it’s suggested Elea was deeply close to Kamaanya and the two developed a loving relationship. Their supposed deep love for each other would be strained and tested during the long campaigns by Kamaanya. Elea for her part was a gifted administrator who used the Batembuzi and Bayongo families to exert great control over the Kingdom's prevention of domestic troubles at home and outmaneuver potential rivals in court. Her talent for administration would greatly insure the early successes of Kamaanya as she negotiated numerous places with angry villages, and created a rudimentary taxation system, which would take from entire villages. Haya culture didn’t have concepts of private property, and the land was farmed communally, except by individual families who maintained housing plots to make supplementary food. This requisition of food, materials, and even sometimes men, would greatly contribute to the success of Kamaanya’s campaigns later.

The birth of Kasasiri is debated; however, the most likely period is around July 1300. This estimation comes from the recovery of business transactions on tablets recovered in Zanzibar and other city-states along the Swahili Coast. These transactions show the purchasing of incense, alcohol, and ivory, all of which point to some form of great celebration not usually seen within the Kingdom. This period would also note a stark lack of military conflict, whether in the archaeological recovery of any evidence or even by oral folklore, which is generally unlike the ambitious Kamaanya. This suggests a level of reverence and desire by the usually agile Kamaanya to remain sedentary at home for the birth of his first child and heir.

Buganda Haya War (1301-1304)

This year of peace would; however, not last, as soon the Haya, and the Buganda Kingdom would come to conflict. Folklore at this point claims, the Buganda King Kato Kintu of Buganda, was a cruel and malicious king and was seeking to destroy the potential rivals in Haya. Many had heard by this point, of the legendary Divine Haya Iron, so it is said, the King wished to put down the divine kingdom before it could overthrow him. It should be noted, oral historians and other so-called scholars were directly in service of the kings, and royalty, so it is most likely oral histories are embellishments, if not outright falsehoods. Furthermore, Kamaanya’s central role in the Haya creation, and the mythology surrounding him, makes most of these early wars incredibly unreliable. While Bugandan culture is today widely lost, archaeology, as well as collections of history from those who attempted to remember the old oral histories of the Buganda people[1] would help develop a clearer picture of this early conflict.

Buganda was like all the other kingdoms at the time, a collection of loosely held villages. Usually, the most influential clan and village would dominate the smaller villages based on wealth, military prowess, or marriage diplomacy. King Kato of the Kintu Clan had established his power over the large village of Bukoba. This village had grown to be a burgeoning trade village. While the trade didn’t often reach Lake Ukerewe, cattle, gold, and even some horses reach Bukoba. This made King Kato extremely rich and extremely powerful. He would use this wealth to buy those villages he could, while also using brutal cruelty to crush those that had opposed him. So, the evidence suggests Kamaanya looked hungrily towards these lands, seeing Bukoba and the Kingdom as a potential starting point to build a Haya Empire.

In 1301, Haya marched forwards having invaded with an army estimated between 800-8,000. King Kintu would lead an army of an estimated 300-3,000, though his army even contained a small amount of cavalry. While Kamaanya was an excellent leader and organizer for war, he knew he couldn’t lead his soldiers alone. He began to surround himself with like-minded forward thinking tribesmen, this is how he would meet Rwebishengye. Born from an unknown, possibly unnamed village, Rwebishengye has proven himself organizing the fending off of multiple raids on his village at a young age. He would quickly become noticed as the Haya Kingdom formed and he became close friends with Kamaanya. The two would begin their penetration into Buganda lands. Rwebishengye would meet with local villagers stopping and offering help and aid, tending crops, killing bandits, and other miscellaneous tasks, before extending an offer to village elders to join the Haya. Many villages and clans who had already strongly disliked Kintu gladly joined the Haya kingdom. Others that refused, Rwebishengye would raze their villages, and destroy their clans. This sort of absolute destruction shocked many, as most wars to this point had been minor adjustments of lands, and grazing rights or even raids for food. Yet the Haya introduced not only stronger weapons but also new more destructive tactics. This envelopment and takeover of villages within Buganda, as well as fending off numerous raids by not only Bugandans but nomadic tribes made the process incredibly slow.

By mid-1303 it is said the Haya had rallied enough support and secured outlying villages to meet for a final confrontation with the Buganda King. The village of Bukoba by this point had developed a small defensive Palisade barrier around it, this provided some cover for the Bugandans. Nonetheless upon leaving the village Kintu’s warriors were hit with arrows from the Haya hunting longbows. Using these longbows Haya would pick off Bugandan Calvary; however, they were sure to attempt to avoid hitting the horses, as capturing them wasworth far more than killing them. After initial volleys, the Buganda warriors would retreat behind their palisades to avoid further losses.

Over the next few months Bukoba would slowly be surrounded and starved. Attempts to leave the village would see the small boats hit with arrows, hunting spears, and even rocks with slings. This prevented the left of the village. As siege warfare wasn’t usual to Buganda or Great Lakes warfare in general, the food stores quickly ran dry. King Kintu realized he had no other options, either allow him and his people to starve to death, or worse be overthrown and killed by his soldiers, or he could attempt to charge out and meet for a final battle. This final stand which would be popularized by holdouts of Buganda culture as it slowly became eroded, would show an idealized last charge of the Kintu. Despite being known for cruelty in life he would be lionized in death, with some rumors saying he took hundreds of arrows before falling.

It was all for nothing, in the ensuing battle Kintu was killed, and his warriors fled or were cut down. The Haya Kingdom would absorb the entire Buganda Tribal Kingdom.

Pacification and Rebuilding of Buganda (1304-1310)

The pacification and rebuilding of Buganda would set a precedent for all future conquests by the Haya Kingdom. These wars would not be done to win resources, and then rule as decentralized kings, instead, the very culture and people would be radically shaken and incorporated into the Haya Kingdom. Bukoba for instance would be transformed into the new capital of Haya, which Kamaanya would name Kataruku. In the new capital, stronger palisades and earthen works would be built. Old religious symbolism burned and in their place, the Forges of Kaiija under large trees that the village had been built around. The Kaiija of Kataruku would be known in time as the largest, and most expansive of the forge villages of the Haya. It was said the smoke burning from all the great forges could be seen all around, and often dedicated people had to be assigned in case of out-of-control fires. Kataruku’s central location along the relatively small Great Lake trade route meant that Haya gained access to more iron, especially from the Rwandans to their west, and the few caravans brave enough to venture from the Swahili Coast.

Kataruku would also be built as a larger trade post than in times past. As people from the Haya kingdom moved to the new capital sometimes as warriors, many as merchants, priests, and noblemen seeking to carve out positions of power in the growing court of the King. This would swell the numbers of Kataruku and make it a more lucrative trading location. Of course, King Kamaanya would help this growth by constructing larger ports for small boats from Lake Ukerewe, as well as building more lodgings, and expanding supply lines to ensure food got to the city. Most importantly, merchants would be sent out to the east, along the most east to navigate the path and go to the trade cities of the Swahili Coast. This had two main purposes. Not only would it establish the word of a new dominant and growing kingdom in Lake Ukerewe it would also allow for the establishment of trade deals with officials to create the first lines to Haya. This would be encouraged by the showing off of Haya metalworkings and their strength. This process would take years but in the long term it would bare fruit as slowly more merchants would make the long and difficult trek inland.

The pacification and rebuilding would not come without violence. Villages across the former Buganda Kingdom had to be brought to heel by Rwebishengye. He would go from village to village giving out new titles and ruling responsibilities. Those that resisted this integration were executed, and entire villages that resisted were erased off the map, becoming new lands to be divided up. The less influential villages seemingly counterintuitively received more attention. Those that were receptive to the Haya religion would see shrines and large forged built, while larger villages often were more neglected. This division and raising of the former lower caste villages would make them more loyal to the new system and prepared to defend it.

Developments within the Haya Kingdom (1310-1323)

As the Haya became more connected with the outside world and gained access to larger quantities of iron, the Kingdom began to experiment with new technology and ways of using its iron inside, and outside of warfare.

Most interestingly the first iron plows would hit the fields of the Haya Kingdom. These would more easily plow and develop the agriculture of Haya, especially those of wealthy villages and rulers of those villages.

Secondly, the development of rudimentary armor would begin. Horses were at this point uncommon to own, and extremely valuable. More so the rider of the horse was also extremely valuable. So the development of thick quilted armor that could stop numerous arrows and strikes by swords or spears, especially those from poorly made weapons. This quilted armor was so heavy that a cavalry rider had to be helped onto his horse by several aides. Even the horse too had heavy quilted armor that would protect its exterior, especially the sides and hips. While heavy the armor provided great protection; however, it had to be only temporarily worn lest the horse and ride suffer from heatstroke; although, it provided great warmth at night.

Throughout the 1320s as Kataruku grew in both size and wealth, trade guilds would begin to develop. These guilds would finance and protect merchants and traders as they came to and from Kataruku. Soon these guilds would rival the power of village aristocracy and even the priestly class. For now; however, they remained small collaborating with King Kamaanya to extend the reach of his kingdom to the Swahili Coast. These merchants would also be the impetus for writing within Haya, as they needed to develop parchment and writing ability to keep track of the large transactions and volume. This writing would be done using the Arabic alphabet as was seen on the Swahili Coast trade kingdoms.

The Death and Apotheosis of Kamaanya (1324)

Kamaanya would die in the mid 1320’s. While the date is unknown today among the Haya it is celebrated on January 7th and the recognized year is 1324. The exact cause of his death is unknown among actual physical evidence and texts. According to folk tradition, Kamaanya had seen that he had built a Kingdom fit to conquer the Great Lakes, and upon commanding his citizens and successors to reach for all the Great Lakes to the Great Sea, he would be taken to the heavens. Some accounts say that in a massive storm, clouds would cover Kamaanya and when they cleared he was gone. Modern history is unclear on his death. Due to the deification, he likely disappeared in some way, with some postulating he died in a raid again nomads and was lost amongst the carnage.

The priestly class would still have a role to play even as Kamaanya died. Besides the Great forges and tree shrines, Kamaanya would also undergo a form of deification. He would be known as Kamaanya Ruhanga or Kamaanya He Who Creates. Shrines would be dedicated to him, and the Great iron forges of the Haya would be considered offerings to him and would be pushed to always be expanded and active.

His son, Kasasira was set to succeed his father. Thankfully as time goes on the stories become less apocryphal, and there is more evidence to support the reign of Kasasira I of the now-holy Batembuzi Dynasty.


[1] Buganda culture in general would vanish slowly over time. As the Haya kingdom grew and expanded its so-called iron culture and religion would integrate the conquered people. Despite this holdouts existed into the late 1700s and by this time a Haya writing system existed and their histories and culture were written down before the eventual disappearance of widespread cultural remembrance.

[2] Due to the large distance between the Swahili Coast and Lake Ukerewe, this meant special provisions had to be greater. For a merchant, a letter would have to be sent informing the village of their arrival. Then the villages would have to send out supplies to meet the merchants halfway through to ensure they did not run out of food or water and perish along the travel. After both of these requirements were reached, and as long as there were no tribal attacks or other calamities along the way, then it would ensure the successful travel of a merchant. Ironically the logistical hazard of this trip would lead to the development of a cohesive writing system, as it became necessary to keep track of the extensive logistics of allowing trade to flow through the kingdom.

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Deleted member 163405

Thoughts, criticisms, just saying hi? All is appreciated
This is an impressive piece, not enough people focus on pre colonial Africa either and I think you are doing a solid job of creating logical and historical believable sequences of events.
This is awesome. Super interesting. The Haya culture seems something out of a fantasy book by how you described it. So they had a proto-version of the bureaucratic examination system China has, high quality steel forged in forges placed underneath huge trees that doubled down as temples and one of their main staples were bananas?

How historical is what you wrote? Was Kamaanya an historical character? Of course Buganda wouldn't be destroyed, since it survived to our days, but how much of the early Haya history you told happened? What's the POD?

Deleted member 163405

This is awesome. Super interesting. The Haya culture seems something out of a fantasy book by how you described it. So they had a proto-version of the bureaucratic examination system China has, high quality steel forged in forges placed underneath huge trees that doubled down as temples and one of their main staples were bananas?

How historical is what you wrote? Was Kamaanya an historical character? Of course Buganda wouldn't be destroyed, since it survived to our days, but how much of the early Haya history you told happened? What's the POD?
So the main point point of divergence will be the introduction of trade within the Great Lakes region and the movement of nomads. These nomads from time to time did cause conflict, and the environmental shifts hit them the hardest and caused them to sometimes have to raid to survive. Between the encroachment of new cattle and horses, along side the shift of nomads to more raiding tactics it caused the Haya to shift towards more aggressive expansion to defend themselves.

Kamaanya is very loosely based upon Ruhanga of Haya and many Great Lakes folklore literally meaning He Who Creates. It’s said that this leader was the founder of the Empire of Kitara (The Empire of Sunlight and/or Moonlight.)

The Haya I’ve portrayed are accurate to their real life counterparts, the only difference being obviously their expansion. Something we’ll see more of is the clan based system that saw entire clans assigned specifically to do one set role for the king. Some clans were entirely assigned to producing wifes for the King. The Omuteko which saw children from across the Haya villages sent to train for 2 years and then selected for roles based upon their excellence is actually accurate to the Haya people. They are an extremely interesting group with a multitude of possibilities for divergence.

Deleted member 163405

very nice. First time hearing about the Haya people but looking forward to more.
Well i always appreciate you coming and reading my work even if this is a definite departure from my usual!
Chapter 1.2: Reign of Kasasiri (1324-1356)

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Chapter 1.2: Reign of Kasasiri (1324-1356)

Following the death and deification of King Kamaanya Ruhanga, his son Kasasiri would set to take over his father's place. Luckily for modern historians, Kasasiri would see the development and use of Arabic-style writing, so from this point on more data is recoverable with each successive King.

Birth and Pre-Rule (1300? - 1324)

Kasasiri’s early life is greatly shrouded in mystery. Most estimates place his birth sometime near 1300, after his father’s unification of all the Haya villages into a tribal kingdom. His mother Queen Elea of the Bayongo Clan would be responsible for raising young Kasasiri as his father was occupied with building the Kingdom and leading campaigns abroad. As such, Kasasiri developed a talent for administration, and diplomacy, much like his mother.

Queen Elea had proven herself an able administrator and extremely intelligent. She supposedly developed the Omuteko system, with Kasasiri being an early participant in its early trials. He trained and tutored in the administration of villages, and management of inter-village conflicts, and proved a successful defender against raids by external tribes. One anecdote tells of how Elea disguised Kasasiri and sent him to be trained before the King with other boys from across the villages of the Haya Kingdom. During the oral instructions, and subsequent physical and mental tests it is said Kasasiri surpassed all the other boys to the amazement of the rest of the advisors and trainers. It is then said he revealed his identity to his father much to the joy and rapturous cheers of the gathered crowd. Having completed his training from the age of 12 he would then serve in his father's court.

As heir, he would serve as a royal bodyguard, protecting the King on the battlefield, and in private. He took over the inspection and selection of the various clans for their duties to the king's court, including wife bearers, royal cooks, and brewers. He would also help oversee the administration of the Kingdom at the highest levels with his father, where he would implement many of the skills he learned from his mother Elea.

Kasasiri would also marry, the time is estimated around 1322, Kanjogera Ihangiro of the clan his father had destroyed for their resistance to him during the unification of the Haya. Kanjogera was said to be so striking in her beauty that the heir promised he would help restore her clan’s villages when he became ruler.

By the time of 1324, Kasasiri had not only proven himself, but he had also become ingrained and learned the skills of every clan, and position within his father’s royal court. This not only made him a stronger leader but ensured an avoidance of much of the factionalism that was generally seen in royal courts after a King’s death. So, when King Kamaanya did die in 1324, Kasasiri was ready and able to seamlessly take over his father's place as King.

Securing His Rule (1324-1332)

Despite his acceptance by his father’s court; nonetheless, some would attempt to resist the new King’s rule. Surprisingly the first resistance would come from his own mother former queen Elea. The former queen was not content with her loss of power and privileges within a society. She attempted to subvert and bring Kasasiri back under her thumb, placing herself as an advisor within his court. Within the first months of his rule; however, the relationship between Kasasiri and his mother would quickly devolve as he bucked against her style of rule, and she despised his attempts to restore his Queen’s Ihangiro clan.

At first, Kasasiri would attempt to merely remove his mother from politics altogether. Elea would be announced to be retiring from the court, as well as public life, and was even granted a home, servants, and provisions within Kataruku. Despite being offered this olive branch to live out the rest of her life in comfort, Elea had no intention of being replaced. She began to plot to overthrow Kasasiri, she did this with the help of her Royal bodyguard turned lover Mujuni. Unfortunately for both, the new king had made himself well-loved by the Royal court, as well as people inside and outside of Kataruku. All of their attempts to reach out ended in failure or neutrality by the clans they reached out to. Even worse for the pair, Kasasiri would soon learn of their betrayal. Still hesitant to murder his mother, the King ordered her to leave Kataruku and enter into exile from the Haya Kingdom. She would once again refuse, and with Mujuni would refuse summons by the King, as well as any official dispatch. Once a confrontation ended in a violent brawl in which the King’s Royal Guard was forced to back off. King Kasasiri had begrudgingly decided to eliminate his mother. Officially in 1329, former Queen Elea and her lover Mujuni would both be assassinated by garrote made out of fishing line.

The issues did not cease for the King. His 3 brothers would stand against the King. They objected to the ousting of their mother and turned nearly rebellious after her assassination. The most powerful of the three brothers was Mbogo. He was the second eldest and was well-liked within the military for his bold and aggressive behavior in battle, his military experience being something Kasasiri did not have. On the downside Mbogo was malevolent and often cruel, this hurt his opinion, especially among civilians, and recruited soldiers. Mbogo would begin building a small gang of ex-soldiers and young recruits. Kasasiri would once again turn to subterfuge to achieve his goals. One of his brothers he’d assassinate by garrote using fishing line as done to his mother. The other he’d have stabbed to death while in the fields during a hunt. Mbogo despite being bold was not idiotic or a fool. He knew it would be impossible to become King especially when Kasasiri controlled the mechanisms of politics and subterfuge within Kataruku. He would flee the capital taking his small group of followers and heading north into Bunyoro. Here he would become friends with the local king and villages and be granted a place within his court, and a powerful card should the Haya Kingdom ever stumble. Luckily for Bunyoro, they would not have long to wait.

Familial issues still did not end with the death and exile of the Kasasiri’s entire family. Now he was left without an heir, and if he were to die there would be no clear succession. Despite having deep affection and love for his wife, her inability to thus far produce a living heir greatly damaged their relationship and the stability of the realm. The king would make a difficult decision. He would create a new program the Buzan. In this women from across the realm would be selected much as boys had been selected and judged on their looks, childbearing potential, and practical abilities. Upon finding the most “appealing” match to King, the woman (or in many cases girl) would be married by the King. Kasasiri himself would end up having one main wife, and 4 concubines. It would come from his first concubine that his heir Sekamaanya would be born around 1324. This development of the Buzana had numerous impacts on society both positive and negative. Of course, the coercion of young girls and women into being rated for their beauty inherently calcified the formerly fluid gender relations and roles in Haya; however, it also prioritized people to educate their children male and female on important practical skills to potentially be noticed by high-ranking officials.

Prospect of War, Death of the Old Guard (1333-1335)

With the securing of his victory after the internal power struggle, King Kasasiri began looking outwards.

There were two plans favored by his military. The Old Guards favored expansion against the Bunyoro. They are the remnants of an old Empire that had subjugated much of the Great Lakes region. Crushing them would grant the prestige of conquering the old Empire, as well as, shattering anyone who could even claim any Haya land. This Old Guard was led by Rwebishengye who had served under Kasasiri’s father and was the most respected man in Haya. The New Guard favored a different plan. They wanted to expand against Busoga which held large iron ore deposits that could help the continued growth of the Haya military, religion, and society. The military New Guard would be led by Kayemba. King Kasasiri would decide to support the New Guard, going as far as to sideline Rwebishengye completely.

Old Rwebishengye himself would take the sidelining hard. He had helped build the kingdom and led its victory, and now he was cast aside and treated as a traitor. He would die in 1334, a defeated and broken man. In his replacement Kayemba, an ambitious and temperamental man he would serve as the King's second in command of the army.

Together Kayemba and Kasasiri would develop a plan to justify their conquest of Busoga to not attract attention from surrounding tribal kingdoms. Firstly they continue and deepen their need for iron from Busoga, then they would order paid tribals, usually with food or cattle, to attack caravans coming from Busoga. In Busoga, the king would order the deals with Haya to be canceled and their merchants turned away citing the increase in hostility of local tribals. Now Kasasiri had his justification for the war.

Haya-Busoga War (1335-1341)

The Haya-Busoga War would begin in 1335, and would nearly destroy the entire Haya Kingdom.

With an army of estimated somewhere between 3,000-13,000 depending on estimates as it was nearly impossible in to gather proper numbers and population at this time, though due to the scale of the conflict it’s estimated to be closer to 13,000. The Busoga being a small tribal kingdom had only an estimated 3,000-5,000 soldiers at the time. The war should’ve been far easier than it would prove to be. As soon as Haya soldiers entered Busoga, the Bunyoro would declare war upon both sides. Their soldiers led by the pretender Mujuni would sweep into Bunyoro in a legendary battle that would be known as the Battle of the Three Armies. Bunyoro having a general element of surprise and led by the legendary veterans of Mujuni would decimate the Busoga army and force Haya into fleeing. In the battle, Kayemba would die having led a near-suicidal charge into the enemy melee.

The Haya army retreated south to Kataruku where they would attempt to reorganize. Kasasiri would appoint Rwabirere as the new second in command. Rwabirere was far less political and rash than Kayemba and would help create a sensible defense plan for Kataruku as it became incredibly likely that Bunyoro would march therenext. In Busoga, the Bunyoro would annihilate the villages of Busoga with Mujuni being responsible for much of the slaughter. The King of Busoga would be killed effectively bringing the entire region under de jure Bunyoro control, even if most of the region was left in chaos. Mujuni of course was not finished, he combined his army with bandits and slaves and prepared his march to claim the throne of Haya.

The Battle of Kataruku would be a pivotal battle for the Haya Kingdom. The capital was encircled by Mujuni and his “army” with most of the Haya soldiers being within the walls. Leading the soldiers in the back would be Mujuni and the veterans of the Haya. While their armies had been greatly depleted by the fight they still presented a great threat. The battle would open with a volley of arrows from both sides as the Haya had improved their longbows and were able to take down Mujuni’s archers from a greater distance. The use of the ramparts and improved palisade walls meant that Haya took relatively few casualties in this opening stage. Mujuni had originally planned a siege, but Kataruku was well stocked for a siege, and the lands surrounding had been purposely cut down to ensure the Bunyoro would have no food to scavenge. This meant Mujuni would take his forces and advance onto the Palisades and the village itself. It was at this moment, Rwabirere would play his hand. Leading a detachment of quilted armor calvary, Rwambiere would slam into the rear of Mujuni’s forces, the battle was intense as the veteran soldiers put up a brutal defense against the calvary. As the peasants and bandits in the front of Mujuni turned around to help fight the Calvary, the gates of Kataruku would open and King Kasasiri would lead the defenders forward. This pressure on both sides sent the entire battle into a chaotic melee, and the peasants and bandits quickly began to splinter and dissolve. Realizing he was quickly becoming trapped under the tidal wave on both sides, Mujuni would still refuse to back down. Whether it was confidence, ego, or grim realization, it did not matter, Mujuni and his veterans would be cut down to the last man.

Victory had come, but at a high price, the Bunyoro King no longer being under the influence of Mujuni
[1] would pay large restitution to Haya, and relinquish claims to Busoga or any Haya land. The Haya was deeply wounded by the Bunyoro advance and the land was left burned and scarred. Kasasiri would still lead his army to Busoga, where he would meet with village elders from the various villages of Busoga. With no King and a depopulated landscape, it was likely they’d fall into banditry, or destruction by Bunyoro once again. Kasasiri would offer them annexation and integration, in exchange for the continuation and protection of the village elders' rule. Despite everything, the Haya Kingdom continued onwards.

Road to Rebuilding (1341-1345)

Despite victory in the war, the Haya Kingdom had paid a steep price for its victory. Much of Busoga was left in de facto anarchy as banditry and nomadic countryside roamed the countryside. Even the surrounding countryside of Kataruku was left decimated and depopulated. Once again Kasasiri was forced to secure his rule, and this time it would be radically different. He would be forced to ask villagers to come once again on pacification campaigns. In return this time he offered more than cattle and loot, he offered them expanded lands within their villages and the ability to use that land. Soldiers would have their private village plots expanded, to the communal plot. These private plots were relatively unmolested by tax collectors, and village rulers, allowing soldiers more autonomy. This would begin the rumblings of a social conflict between the communal village, and private ownership.

The pacification of bandits, and restoring a semblance of law to the countryside would be successful. Many of the destroyed and decimated villages would be resettled by large numbers of Haya people from the south who had been largely left untouched by the preceding years of war and bloodshed, and experienced a populace boom under the growing power of the Kingdom.

Most important and central to the entirety of the war, the iron mines of Busoga would be restarted. Slaves many of whom had been bandits or criminals would be sent to work in the iron mines. Bugembe which was the largest village and formal “capital” of the Kingdom, would be rebuilt, stacked with Haya people, and the great forges would be built. Rwabirere himself would be granted control over the village.

Later Years of Rule (1346-1355)

With the bloodshed of the past behind, him and his prowess as a leader effectively shown off, Kasasiri would begin his large sweeping reforms.

Religion would become far more standardized. Practiced rights for giving offerings to Ruhanga through the iron forges in villages, as well as diviner houses for spirit mediums, priests, and priestesses to speak to the dead, and provide offerings to loved ones, as well as, last rights. Spirit mediums and priests would also channel power through and communicate with the Gods and Goddesses of the Haya, which would become a more standardized 4 God pantheon. Ruhanga which took his form through Kamaanya, and 3 other Gods, Kairu, Kakama and Kahima. Kairu represented the God of the land, food, water, and harvest, and offerings were done to him to ensure good harvests. Kakama was the God of death, bloodshed, violence, war, hunting, and fishing. Surprisingly, he was not considered an evil or vengeful god, but merely a part of life. He was given offerings usually animal sacrifices by hunters, fishermen, generals, and soldiers. Finally, Kahima was the God of Life, fertility, and health. He was given sacrifices by doctors, midwives, expectant mothers, and children. Finally, Ruhanga the father and God of Creation, and Power was the most powerful of the Gods. He was worshipped by priest-blacksmiths, miners, kings, and merchants.

The administration would undergo standardization as well. Of course, at the top of the political structure would be the King or Bakama. Below him the second in command known as an omukuru we kibuga or just Kibuga, a position that would be compared to a prime minister or grand vizier today. Surrounding the Bakama and Kibuga would be a council of ministers, known as a Bangole. This Council of Bangole’s made up of members from each of the village clans separated by profession. Each clan would have a Bambi b’enshozi or Chief of the Clan. Finally,the village headsmen or Bakungu would oversee the local tasks of a village. Jobs within the administration would be handed out based on the Omuteko as described. After a participant displayed a level of aptitude they’d be placed in an administrative position.

The idea of a clan itself would change. Clans would be redeveloped based on geographic location, and each clan would share a surname. Marrying someone outside of your clan would be patrilineal meaning the female would join the male clan. Each clan based on its geographical location would be assigned a role to play within the larger administration. While every village had farmers, priests, hunters, etc, each clan would now be given a set role to provide. For instance, clans set near the Great Lakes would provide canoes for the kingdom. Particularly militaristic people would have higher conscription. Clans near iron deposits would be responsible for producing said iron as well as blacksmiths, and weapon smiths. Those who had large bee populations would have to do beekeeping and collect honey. There were also lumber clans, horse breeders, cattle herders, hunters, cooks, scholars, priests, and brewers. While one’s clan did not determine their job, clans that specialized in a said job generally produced and encouraged people to become that profession, and were rewarded for quotas met. This would begin a horizontal caste system, as while some castes could be considered more important, all were needed to upkeep the Kingdom, especially in larger villages like Kataruku. Even then this caste system wasn’t extremely rigid, as anyone at a young age if they proved themselves could find themselves elevated to different jobs within the kingdom.

The army and defense of the state would face an overhaul itself. For the first time, there would always be a standing army. The army would be divided into Omutwe, each Omutwe would be divided amongst the geographic region they lived in meaning they could be called up without too much affectation of their home or lengthy travel. During the war, the Omutwe would form a mass army once again. Each Omutwe would be controlled by the appointed Bambi b’enshozi.

Even weapons in the military became more producible. While Haya weapons were of a high-quality metal than anyone else at this time, they nonetheless lacked a level of standardization as Haya people were relatively new to such extensive mass warfare. During the period of Kasasiri, a more set form of weapons would develop and stay relatively consistent over the millennia. The most revolutionary would be a serrated spear, that had begun developing around central Africa and Great Lakes region generations in the past. This serrated spear mid-short range stabbing or throwing spear would be made and tipped with the fire-forged Haya iron and would be immensely deadly. Its serrated edge meant that often it could disembowel its target upon being used or causing other massive internal damage. Another mid-short-range weapon would be the Haya Heavy Axe. It was a large heavy axe that was made for cleaving and breaking arms, legs, and even weaker shields. For more short-rangeengagements would be the sickle sword. A smaller curved blade was known for brutal slashing maneuvers that would cause deep damage as well as provide agility for the user. As time went on these would be replaced with scimitars especially as trade with the Indian and Arab world increased. Shields generally took the form of long and tall shields that could cover much of the user's body, and short handhelds that would have to be more readily maneuvered but also offered greater agility and offensive abilities. Both types were made out of a combination of hardwood, leather, and sometimes metal inserted to provide a stronger frame. Bows in the Haya Kingdom took the form of longbows, which had originally been used for long-range hunting, especially against dangerous predators such as Lions. All of these weapons notably seemed to double over as basic tools for foraging and setting up camps or farms. This further re-enforces the fact most Haya warriors were also farmers and knew how to live off the land, and most early farm equipments had to be bent or forged into weapons of war.

King Kasasiri would also begin to develop and integrate the Haya into the growing trade network. Within his lands was a modest amount of gold, and silver so he would begin to create rudimentary coinage that he could trade with the Swahili Coast who by this point had been minting coins for hundreds of years. For most villagers; however, barter remained far more common, and it would take generations for the coins to become more commonplace.

As trade with the Swahili Coast and even into Somalia continued, the Haya would become more aware of the Islamic world. King Kasasiri for instance voraciously consumed knowledge delivered to him by merchants, becoming interested in Islamic medicine, and passing much information off to court physicians and tribal healers.

Nearing the end of Kasasiri’s life and reign, he would become more occupied with dealing with merchants and trade within the Haya Kingdom. He would make numerous concessions granting wide-sweeping autonomy to merchants to operate within the Kingdom. The first guilds would begin to develop within Kataruku, and would soon become a self-made aristocracy to challenge the priestly men and noblemen. Kasasiri himself would hire more merchants to act on behalf of the crown, especially on the Swahili Coast, all of this was to the increasing chagrin of the noble and priestly classes. Much of this trade would also shift to the Haya’s remaining friendly kingdom, the Rwandans. This kingdom held immense gold and iron reserves and was able to use the Haya’s trade connections to increase their King’s wealth. Though, the stability of this deal would be called into question in the following years.

Murder of King Kasasiri (1356)

King Kasasiri was poisoned during a large public feast, in 1356. It was considered a Kingdom-wide tragedy as Kasasiri had remained a relatively popular and kind king, especially to the peasantry. Despite this, he had made numerous enemies within the higher circles of power, any of whom may have been responsible for his death.

The priests, shamans, and spirit talkers were an extremely obvious choice for the murder of Kasasiri. His often forceful hand in the consolidation of the Haya pantheon as well as his attempts to develop more standardized practices had angered many within the formerly very autonomous priests. Kasasiri had insulted the doctors withhis increasing consumption and advocation for the knowledge brought from the middle eastern world, through trade. This made them the likely candidate as they also readily had access to poisons and plants due to their professions as physical and spiritual healers.

Other potential groups were the village and clan nobles. Their power had been broken and then reforged under Kasasiri and many were angry at the rapid and forced pace of his reforms. Furthermore, his increased staffing of the Royal court by so-called self-made men, as well as the meritocratic public service examinations meant their hereditary power was under threat.

Either way, one or even both groups played a part in the assassination of Kasasiri. Unfortunately for the nobles and clergy, his successor Sekamaanya would neither be weak, nor forgiving. The reign of Sekamaanya the Brutal would begin..


[1] Some would claim Mujuni used black magic to bewitch the Bunyoro King into following him. Most likely, the Bunyoro King was aging and growing weak and influenceable, and the young and ambitious Mujuni seized upon it.

[2] Most of these weapons weren't developed by the Haya irl, I just created what I would think to be the most logical weapon developments within the region, as well as borrowing from some neighboring people. Overall I saw an interesting change to show off some underappreciated African weapons.

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Deleted member 163405

Well that was a longer one, questions, comments, concerns, desire to keep me company?
Wow, that was super impressive!

Seriously, that was an enthralling read, I think you did a great job blending Kasasiri as an effective and popular king with the long term consequences of his actions (oof, gender roles) and the level of ruthlessness and brutality often seen or even required to survive in the cut throat world of monarchies. From the slaying of his own mother and her own ambitions to the more minor examples like sidelining a loyal general out of political convenience.

The developments with the clans and the religion are very intriguing, plus I love a good pantheon :D
I know nothing about any of these peoples nor much African history in general but this is making me want to learn more.

Deleted member 163405

Doing some touch-ups to knock out some spelling issues. Writing at night completely wrecks my spelling.

Deleted member 163405

Wow, that was super impressive!

Seriously, that was an enthralling read, I think you did a great job blending Kasasiri as an effective and popular king with the long term consequences of his actions (oof, gender roles) and the level of ruthlessness and brutality often seen or even required to survive in the cut throat world of monarchies. From the slaying of his own mother and her own ambitions to the more minor examples like sidelining a loyal general out of political convenience.

The developments with the clans and the religion are very intriguing, plus I love a good pantheon :D
I like to try and represent the goods and bads within my character. I think one common facet in some alternative history stories is the inherent coldness it takes to build an Empire. They generally aren’t held together out of love or kindness or the “benevolent philosopher kings.” Rather they are merely the stories they tell their subjects to justify afterwards.

Deleted member 163405

I know nothing about any of these peoples nor much African history in general but this is making me want to learn more.
The Haya people are a very interesting people and most of their history is relatively sparse. The Empire I’m basing this whole story on itself is so shrouded in myth it’s unknown how real and how large it was
I like to try and represent the goods and bads within my character. I think one common facet in some alternative history stories is the inherent coldness it takes to build an Empire. They generally aren’t held together out of love or kindness or the “benevolent philosopher kings.” Rather they are merely the stories they tell their subjects to justify afterwards.
I tend to think its a mixed bag myself, doing stuff that makes you beloved has plenty of benefits, but that doesn't mean you won't have to also be ruthless, its a ruthless world after all and as you say empire building is still empire building.
Chapter 1.3: Reign of Sekamaanya (1356-1389)

Deleted member 163405

Chapter 1.3: Reign of Sekamaanya (1356-1389)

The reign of Sekamaanya, also known as Sekamaanya the cruel or the terrible, began in 1356 following the poisoning of his father Kasasiri. Sekamaanya was rather old to rule being 31 years old at the time of his ascension to the throne.

Pre-Rule, Marriage, Early Cruelty (1325-1356)

Sekamaanya was born in 1325 in Kataruku to his mother who is an unnamed concubine to his father Kasasiri. His early years would see him exposed to immense levels of violence within the Kingdom. His father had been securing his rule during this period, crushing and expelling those that opposed him. It is likely these, and especially the separation of him from his concubine mother, are what shaped the young heirs' ideas about power and authority.

Sekamaanya would sadly experience more violence as he grew up. In 1337, at the age of 12 years old, the Haya-Busoga war would come to Kataruku. Peasants and bandits under the command of throne claimant Mujuni under the support and supply of the Bunyoro Kingdom. Sekamaanya experienced the starvation and violence associated with sieges, as many died in the ensuing combat. He watched the melees on the fields outside Kataruku and accompanied his father to the aftermath of the battle where he walked through the carnage and corpses, as well as watched the execution of wounded and captured bandits and peasants.

Around 15, Sekamaanya became more actively involved in ruling alongside his father. He passed the Omuteko and according to testing seemed to be extremely talented at administration and warfare; however, even now he was noted for his talents being derived from how much fear he instilled into those working around and under him. One story recounts how the older Sekamaanya, convinced 10-12-year-old boys to beat other children who underperformed during the Omuteko. Furthermore, the heir seemed to take great pleasure in these often sadistic beatings.

In an attempt to calm down the young Sekamaanya, he was sent down south to the homelands of the Haya people. These lands were relatively peaceful and quiet, all the nomads had been annihilated long ago, and the villages were loyal to the kingdom. He would quickly grow tired of this arrangement and was reported to have led harassing raids on the relatively small, and disorganized villages of the Zinza people. He would capture and enslave multiple villages, bringing them back to Haya to sell off to Muslim merchants on their way back to the Swahili Coast. Unwittingly, Sekamaanya had made the Kingdom a participant in the expanding Indian Ocean Slave Trade. Before these raids most of the Swahili Coast just captured any slaves they could along their borders, but as time had gone on these numbers dwindled. Now Sekamaanya in his campaign against disorganized villages had opened up a new market.

For 5 years the heir would remain in the south, leading random raids and destroying villages around the Haya Kingdom. He would be recalled home to Kataruku. Now at the age of 21, he would learn overarching administration from his father the increasingly worn-down Kasasiri. While his father hadn’t necessarily approved of the enslavement of villages that had not negatively engaged the kingdom, the growing merchant class approved of the development as it promised even more interest from the Swahili Coast. Despite the hesitation, the aging Kasasiri acquiesced and allowed the slave trade to grow within his kingdom.

Their time together in Kataruku caused deep resentment to foster between be two. For Kasasiri, he feared his son. He feared his rage, brutality, and wrath. While his son and heir were extremely efficient in his tasks, he did them with a level of scorched earth brutality that caused ripples throughout the region. Sekamaanya felt the opposite of his father. He hated the aging king, his weakness, frailty, and increasing ineptitude. When his father was finally assassinated in 1356, Sekamaanya was relieved, finally, the aging king could drag down the Kingdom no longer.

For Sekamaanya there was; however, one person he deeply confided in. This would be his wife Mukatabazi.
[2] Chosen during the female buzano, Sekamaanya was impressed, not only by her beauty but her penchant for sadism. The two would over time develop a parasitic relationship. Many servants later in history would recount how they didn’t fear Sekamaanya or Mukatabazi by themselves, as they were harsh but fair. When the two were together; however, very little mercy was shown.

Dealing with the Assassins (1356-1357)

The poisoning and death of his father Kasasiri brought the new king an immense wave of joy. It is said upon hearing of his father's death, Sekamaanya held a large celebration showing a rare generosity to the civilian populace. The events were marked with days of feasts and games in Kataruku. Those in the nobility and those involved in the plot breathed a collective sigh of relief. It seemed the new King approved of their plot, and many happily swore allegiance to their new overlord.

This was all a deceptive plan by Sekamaanya. Having lulled the nobility into a false sense of security, and securing the allegiances of their clans, the new King would launch a wholesale slaughter of those that had killed his father. Though he agreed that his father needed to die, the King was a direct descendant of the Gods, and could not be slain by a mere mortal family. He would pay homage to his father in some small way, as he used the fishing line to garrote the noblemen as his father had done to his brothers and mother so long ago.

Surprisingly, Sekamaanya did differ from his father in that way. He did not order the deaths of his family. His mother had long since departed due to illness, and his brothers had all died young or grew content in administrative roles in the comfortable south, or autonomous north. This meant the new King did not need to order the deaths of his own family. Instead, after the death of most of his father’s court, and numerous noblemen, after which he sat young children or loyal clans on the old noble’s seats of power, the new King considered his rule secured.

The Corruption of Power (1357-1363)

With his power secure, Sekamaanya sat on the top of the throne of bones. The gnashing gears of the King’s power tore apart the nobility and opposition. Without opposition, Sekamaanya, and Mukatabazi would again indulge in their worst personal vices.

While the treasury of the kingdom belonged and was controlled by the King anyway, notably Sekamaanya would skim more off of the top. All transactions, jewelry, cattle, luxury food, and everything else were taken. It was known in Kataruku that the King’s due had to be paid. Ironically despite his attempts to expand trade, his rule and tastes made it increasingly harder for merchants to make the long journey out to the Haya Kingdom, for very little return.

His wife, Queen Mukatabazi grew increasingly corrupt, especially when Sekamaanya went on campaigns or tours. She would not only indulge materialistically, but also physically in the slaves, and servants of the kingdom. It’s likely during this period she became pregnant for a final time with the future King Rwebishengye, though at this point he was merely her youngest child out of 6.

As merchants became more aloof towards Sekamaanya, many turned to different ways to get supplies into Haya. This period would see the growth of smugglers. These smugglers usually cooperated with merchants to sneak and sell wares in the Haya Kingdom, away from the prying eyes of Sekamaanya and his family. The King himself would ignore smuggling, whether this was done deliberately to “encourage” trade, or if his court and administrators deliberately covered up the existence of the smugglers to prevent the trade routes from collapsing entirely is unknown. Likely, it is both, as while it seems impossible for the King to have no idea of the trade happening even within his seat of power, it's likely he had no idea of the extent to which smuggling proliferated.

The Great Kuponda (1363-1369)

One place King Sekamaanya greatly desired to expand into Bunyoro territory. The Bunyoro had invaded the Haya while their back was turned and marched a traitorous claimant up the gates of Kataruku and tried to remove Kasasiri. While the king still had no love for his father or his memory, he had no desire to see an attack on the Kingdom go unpunished.

He met with his father’s old generals namely, Rwabirere, and laid out a plan for a conquest of the Bunyoro. This attack called for more than a simple invasion and conquest, it pushed for the annihilation of Bunyoro. Villages were planned to be completely wiped from the earth, men slaughtered, women and children enslaved, and the land left barren. This war and its aftermath would be known as the Great Kuponda or the Great Crushing.

General Rwabiere would take between 2-20,000
[3] men and march into the lands of the Bunyoro. This would be the first time new weapons of the Haya would be tested, the serrated throwing spears, and strengthened long bows especially would be tested for their effectiveness. Bunyoro numbers were only around 1-5,000 so even by conservative estimates half that of the Haya. They had proven unable to effectively recover from the 1st war against the Haya, and the death of Mujuni and the elderly king he manipulated threw the kingdom into a state of crown power struggle. The current King of Bunyoro Kyebambe the First, was holding his kingdom together by the threads, and the invasion by the Haya threatened to undo all of his work.

Initially, Kyebambe sent only a small detachment to scout out the size and veracity of the forces of the Haya. The reports made back to him shook the aging king to his core. Thousands of Haya men marched against him, but they slaughtered everything in their path. Reports and fleeing tribesmen flooded to the King telling stories of the destruction of entire villages. The lands were picked clean of cattle and crops to feed the Haya, while villages were enslaved, or destroyed. While Kyebambe had heard stories of the brutality of Sekamaanya and heard of his cruel nature, he had not expected such a wholesale slaughter, even less he hadn’t expected to face the whole force of the Haya bearing down unto his small tribal kingdom.

The king knew he would be unable to win against the Haya forces so, he instead made a plan. His heir Nyamutukura would prepare an exodus. Gathering up anyone who could walk, any cattle, or horses, as well as any meager possessions left in the kingdom, Nyamutukura would take these and move to the north. They would go to the north to hide and settle away from the wrath of the Haya. This great exodus would empty the lands of the Bunyoro Kingdom, which would then be further desolated by the rage of the Haya armies.

It’s said during their period King Sekamaanya grew more incensed as he grew closer to the Bunyoro seat of power. More villages were empty leaving his insatiable bloodlust and rage only to fester and grow. By the time he reached Hoima, he was ready to crush the army of the king himself. For his part Kyebambe knew he would be unable to win, he had only a modest force of those that swore to die with him. With only a few hundred men he would stand against thousands. The king tore off any signifier of his royalty and led his soldiers into their final battle.

As expected the battle was a slaughter. Despite their bravery and valiance, the Bunyoro were slaughtered down to the last man, and Hoima was destroyed. Nonetheless even as the Bunyoro died in the south, the new King Nyamutukura would lead his people to the north where the Bunyoro Kingdom would survive as a small collection of villages into the 1400s.

The entire former region of the Bunyoro would be renamed into Ankole after a close tribal “kin-brethren” of the Haya.
[4] Much of the region was left in disarray. Villages were burnt-out husks, and the land was barren. The land was so blackened and destroyed that even bandits and nomads weren't a problem for the Haya during the integration period. The new settlers of these lands would be a mix of Haya, and Nkole after which the region was renamed. The region would very slowly claw its way back to functioning, and the anarchy of the post-Bunyoro collapse would turn into uncertainty, and then finally quiet difficult peace.

Dynastic Chaos (1369-1372)

Upon returning home, King Kamaanya returned not to a kingdom at peace, but one consumed by strife. The cause of this strife was not bandits, nomads, or even scheming nobles, they all feared and ran from the Haya. The true cause of strife was the King’s Batembuzi Dynasty. Queen Mukatabazi had been explicitly left in charge of the Kingdom, while the king was off at war. She quickly proved herself to be an incapable administrator, greatly upsetting the royal court and even the general populace. Word of her sexual affairs with a local stable boy quickly spread throughout Kataruku as well as the sadomasochistic parties she held at the royal palace.

As the Queen became increasingly despised by the royal court and local populace, some people within the royal family decided to act. The eldest son of the Sekamaanya and the Queen, Prince Nkuba, and the King’s brother Murashani would make a move against the Queen. They would arrest the Mukatabazi for cheating with a stable boy, and misuse of resources during wartime. They would imprison the Queen and her lover inside the royal palace, while in general the news was kept quiet throughout the Kingdom to prevent chaos or uprising by loyalists of the Queen. Under the careful administration of the two conspirators, the Kingdom functioned better than it had in years, trade began to trickle back to the kingdom, smuggling decreased, and the royal family's public image was greatly improved.

When Sekamaanya returned from his war of conquest, Nkuba and Murashani would reveal the Queen’s crimes to him. Surprisingly to everyone, the King immediately shouted down the two conspirators. He claimed they were liars and that his wife would never betray him. He accused the two of disobeying direct orders to respect the Queen’s rule, and attempting to increase their station. Before either could speak Sekamaanya struck his son with his Royal staff, beating his eldest heir to death on the floor of the royal palace. Murashani was greatly shocked by this action but before he could do anything he was strangled from behind with a bowline by the King’s royal bodyguards. The Queen was saved from her imprisonment and free to continue her ways, and the King out of hubris remained oblivious to the situation.

This would not be the only tragedy to befall the royal family during this period. During the war, the King’s son who had been acting as an attendant was killed during the heat of battle by stray arrow fire. Even back home one of his sons would die of malarial disease, and another killed in a “hunting accident.” This left the King with only two potential heirs, and neither was what he desired. This would be Rwebishengye “The Bastard” and Rwechungura “The Slow.”

Rwechungura was a mentally deficient child. He showed early on a lack of social development that bloomed into an overall lack of ability or desire for rulership. While the administration was discussed he played with toys or rode horses. During the Omuteko he supposedly sat on the ground and covered his ears until the loud sounds of battle and screaming ceased. Overall it would likely be impossible for Rwechungura to be a King, he would only be controlled, either by the court, the Royal family, or foreign merchants.

Rwebishengye is also known as “the bastard” was also not an ideal choice for a successor. From a young age, Rwebishengye preferred to read and study. He became one of the first Haya royalty to be able to read and write, he would consume books and scrolls delivered by merchants. The heir would later become instrumental in instituting written language in all merchant transactions and normalizing it within courtly society, with the Haya Language adopting the same script as Swahili and Arabic. For now, he was looked down upon within his family. During his Omuteko trials, he was only modestly useful at military strategy, while possessing a masterful gift for administrative tasks. Notably, he became hostile to his father over the murder of his brother, and arbitrary corruption and embezzlement that became rampant throughout Sekamaanya’s reign.

Importantly, behind the back of the King, Rwebishengye was nicknamed “the bastard” this is due to his birth being highly contentious. It was no secret within the royal court, that Queen Mukatabazi was an adulterer, and this became even more apparent with the birth of Rwebishengye who was born while the King was out of the capital for several months. This likely lack of legitimate blood of the gods would haunt the future king for the entirety of his rule.

King Sekamaanya had no other choices for heirs, he began to prepare his son Rwebishengye for rulership. His other son Rwechungura was sent down south to the dynasty's home village of Nyamirembe. This did not seem to bother him, as he spent his time horse riding, and generally being helpful around town. Despite being called “the slow” by those in court, he was genuinely beloved in the old homelands, for his kindness, and gentleness.

From Mania to Despair (1373-1387)

The final 14 years of King Sekamaanya’s reign saw the once manic and energetic king sink into a deep depression. Having butchered his son in a fit of blind rage, as well as, his brother would fill the King with a pang of immense guilt he was unable to escape.

In the years after the death of most of his children and his brother, he went on pillaging and raiding neighboring tribes as he had done in his youth. He found these tasks increasingly unpleasant. Where he had once been cheerful and righteous in the slaughter and enslavement of enemies, he became wretched at the sight of blood and entrails. By 1375 he withdrew and ordered no more raids, and by 1380 he could not even hunt.

The Royal Palace of Kataruku which had once held some of the most lavish and indulgent parties now sat quiet and empty. The King excised most of the staff from the premises and turned to deep alcoholism. Even his wife, who had once been a sycophantic encourager of his habits grew cold and distant until she died in 1383, an event he barely noticed due to his near-constant drunkenness. He supposedly could be heard at late nights pacing the floors of the Royal Palace wailing at the top of his longs, and begging all those he had killed for forgiveness. Many Spirit Talkers and Priests would claim the ghosts of the defeated haunted the King to his grave.

Seeing as his father was now almost entirely detached from reality, Rwebishengye took over the role of active administration and set up operations in a small hut outside of the palace. Most importantly the heir would entirely gut the old court. Filled with sycophants and yes men they would be entirely useless to this new king. Instead, he staffed his court with learned men, the only people that could read, well-traveled merchants, and even some griots. These men would serve as the path for the new Kingdom the future king wanted to raise.

Next, he would tackle corruption, smuggling was stomped down upon. Most smugglers only had picked up the job due to the skimming off the top King Sekamaanya had done. By bringing them back into the official market, along with generous payments of gold and silver, these men would help bring trade back to the Haya Kingdom. Corrupt officials and those who embezzled were found and killed by the heir, and many more were stripped of titles and banished.

Rwebishengye would also take great strides to rebuild from the years of stagnation that had been endemic to his father’s rule. The vengeful leader of the Haya armies Rwabirere would finally die after decades of service under two kings, and he would be replaced with the young and pragmatic Mwanda.

The workshops of the Gods were built upon and expanded with new furnaces rising in the newly conquered Ankole lands. Many of those who had been expelled were invited to resettle, and Rwebishengye himself would bury the hatchet and make peace with many former villagers who hadn’t fled during the Great Kuponda.

Merchants would be heavily integrated even beyond the royal inner court. Administrative positions, management, and logistics would go to merchants who would be hired due to their ability to read, and record data. The merchant class would slowly begin to become the scholarly class, along with the Griots who would be trained to move from oral to written communications. The Kataruku Trading Guild would originally start as a small hut on the docks of the lake; however, as the heir began to generously donate to them, and staff their positions they became expanded in power. Even their trade routes would expand not only going to Kilwa, and the other Islamic states, but even reaching into Great Zimbabwe and the Trade Entrepôt of Sofala.

First, they would be given a chance to prove their worth. The eastern half of the Kingdom of the former Busoga lands had never truly recovered from their conquest by the Haya nearly 50 years ago. While Their lands had been rebuilt their iron and gold mines remained sluggish and damaged. The merchants-administrators would be sent to salvage the situation and prove their worth. Only time would tell if they would be successful.

The heirs' interest in books and reading did not only extend to philosophy and writing but technology as well. He would revive the experiments with armor that had been undertaken by his grandfather. Around this period quilted armor would begin to be given to more veteran foot soldiers, while calvary would begin to experiment with chain mail that would be imported along the trade routes; however, quilted armor would continue to be the mainstay until the Haya grew in power.

From Despair to Death (1389)

King Sekamaanya had by this point been out of active rule for almost a decade, and his mind and health had degraded. It’s said in his final year it is said he sat on his throne wailing and refusing to eat or move from the chair. He proceeded to rot and decay while still alive having sat sedentary, defecating, vomiting, and drinking. Eventually, he would breathe his last, with some servants who had usually only come back to bring him food and ale finding his bloated corpse. The King was dead and the entire kingdom breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Despite his nepotism, cruelty, and brutality, the reign of Sekamaanya would establish important precedences for all future kings.

The early period of every king's rule would be known as a consolidation of power. This meant strangling rivals and placing loyal replacements in charge. It also established the symbolic importance of the firstborn child after becoming a king. As an offset for all the death, a child should be born. In the middle of a King’s rule, it became exceptionally common for warfare and conquest to push the Kingdom’s borders. Finally, the latter half of a King’s rule should be administration and consolidation. This precedent would be repeated and copied throughout his descendants.

Modern historians would develop a different view of Sekamaanya’s reign as King. With his clear signs of trauma at a young age, and being surrounded by sycophants, he has come to be seen not as a deranged vicious king, but rather a tragedy of the system. Despite portrayals he was not incapable of feeling guilt as his late rule shows, but instead he is shown to be extremely menetally unstable, and emboldened by his surroundings to engage in his worst vices.

Even Queen Mukatabazi today is not seen as evil. She is rather also a victim of circumstance, merely a girl taken from her home and attempting to secure some stability and control over her life and surroundings.

While historians have been quick to deny divorcing these historical figures from the guilt of their actions, instead the modern narrative has been an attempt to reframe these two miscast characters as tragic.


Slavery among the Great Lakes tribal kingdoms is a relatively murky and not well-documented subject. The way social castes often flowed meant a slave's status could change several times within their lifetime from unfree, to free, to unfree once again. Slavery is also generally unstandardized and would vary between clans, villages, and tribes. The Haya especially don’t have a well-documented or known history of slavery, while Buganda and Bunyoro do. The standardization of this system in real life came around the early 1800s as inward penetration of the European slave trade especially Spain and Portugal, meant the market grew immensely. For this timeline, I merely had the Haya under a cruel heir pull the trigger early and start the slave trade with the Islamic world.

2. Mukatabazi while its initial meaning would be lost, would come to be known as the Wife of the Attacker, or Wife of Conquest. This would be deeply tied to her relationship with Sekamaanya, indulging in many of her vices, as well as his.

3. One thing I should explain is the numbering conventions. The reason I say 2,000-20,000 or 1,000-10,000 is because actual numbers on the population at this time are impossible and historians were notorious for lying about battle numbers. Hundreds of thousands of men dying in battle etc, so that's why in general I say somewhere between the two because we wouldn't honestly know.

4. Despite the idea of nationalism still not existing for almost another 600 years, nonetheless early in Haya culture, the idea of an ethnoreligious zeal behind Haya expansion and destruction of other cultures can be seen. Most Haya saw themselves at odds with other non-kin and believed their Gods to be greater than those of the enemy tribes. Whether this can be chalked up to proto-nationalism, cultural arrogance, or extreme tribalism, is still left up to debate. The irony of all of this being the Bunyoro and Haya people are closely related and considered of the same ethnic cluster, making this whole war of destruction almost hyper-tribalistic as even close brethren were considered others that needed to be destroyed.

5. Once again I have taken liberties in adapting arms and armor for the Haya. As this kingdom grew in size and power, I figured they would be able to develop more and increase trade. It’s already near the Horn of Africa region which saw great advancements in armor and technology during this period, even in small amounts of chain mail.
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