Archive for the ‘Nobility’ Category.

The Polish Aristocracy: The Titled Families of Poland

Whoever visits the various forums on heraldry or is in any way involved with chivalric institutions will invariably end up reading/hearing about someone’s claim to Polish nobility. Be warned that more often than not, the claim is completely false.

What’s especially interesting is that they’re not content with claiming minor Polish nobility but go to the top, even claiming princely status.

Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, co-editor of the venerable World Orders of Knighthood and Merit and recognized expert on such matters, maintains a site on Polish Aristocracy that lists those families that actually are titled Polish nobles.

 

The link to the site is: http://www.polishnobles.com/

 

Kingdoms within the Republic of Uganda

Typically, republics and kingdoms aren’t compatible and don’t coexist homewever, there are some notable examples around the world that are the exceptions proving the rule.

Some of the better known kingdoms that are part of a republic are those that are within the Republic of Uganda. The kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara, Busoga and Toro are ancient traditional kingdoms of Africa that long enjoyed local and international recognition, even by the British colonial powers.

Unfortunately, with the political upheavel that Uganda experienced in the late 1960’s the new government of Milton Obote forcefully disbanded all the traditional kingdoms. The constitution introduced in 1967 went a step further and fully outlawed them.

The famously violent regime of Idi Amin of the 1970’s was no better and it wasn’t until the democratically elected government of 1993 re-established them. Then in 1995, the new constitution fully recognized these ancient kingdoms in law and the powers of their leaders or Kings. The 2005 amendment to the constitution re-affirmed the position of these Kings, further confirming their status in Ugandan society.

Though these Kingdoms are fully recognized in law, they are not fully sovereign politically. However, they do have considerable political influence and regularly meet with government leaders.

As mentioned above, the only four kingdoms recognized in Ugandan law are the following:

Buganda is the largest of the subnational kingdoms of Uganda and the namesake of the country and covers about 17% of the population of the country. The traditional title of the King of Buganda is “Kabaka” and the current Kabaka is Muwenda Mutebi II.

Bunyoro-Kitara is the second largest of the Ugandan kingdoms and the only one that was once an empire controlling a large swath of the land that is Uganda today. The traditional title of the King of Bunyoro-Kitara is “Omukama” and the current Omukama is Solomon Iguru I.

Busoga is another ancient Ugandan kingdom that is smaller than those above. The traditional title of the King “Kyabazinga” and the last one to hold the title was Henry Wako Muloki. Unfortunately, there has been strife among the leaders of the Kingdom and a successor has not yet been chosen.

Toro was once part of the Bunyoro Empire and was created in 1830 when the eldest son of the Omukama rebelled and founded his own kingdom. The Kingdom of Toro also names its King “Omukama” and the current holder of the title is Rukidi IV.

 

Links of interest:

 

Note: Images from Wikipedia

 

Genealogical and heraldic formal education

Heraldic and genealogical studies have the distinction of requiring high academic standards in its research, to be taken seriously, but there is very little formal training and education available from traditional educational institutions. The vast majority of us in these fields are amateurs, in the original sense of the word (look it up).

Therefore, it is exciting to see that some universities take these fields seriously enough to establish some educational programs around them.

The list below is not intended to be comprehensive or all inclusive but, it will be an ever growing list (kind of like the list of heraldic artists I have):

  • University of Strathclyde: Offers a Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme offering postgraduate certificates and diplomas via distance education. Graduates of the Diploma program have the option to continue their education and receive a MSc.
  • University of Dundee: Offers a Heralrdy Course (only) that is part of its Postgraduate Certificate in Family and Local History, or as part of the University of Dundee’s Masters degree in Archives and Records Management.
  • Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED): A top Spanish university, offers three levels of education via distance education at a postgraduate level also that covers not only heraldry and genealogy but also nobiliary law. The levels are “Expert”, “Specialist” and “Master” in the mentioned areas. Naturally, the language of the program is Spanish.

At this point, I’d like to quote Martin Goldstraw from his excellent Cheshire Heraldry blog where he said:

Courses of this nature can’t be a bad thing however I can’t help but think that once universities get involved we are only one step away from the view often nowadays held by academics that unless one has a recognised qualification in a particular subject one can’t possibly know anything about it.

I agree with this sentiment and would hate for this happen.

 

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