The Iteso migration

The Itesot are a branch of the Plain Nilotes called the jie, under the smaller group of the Ateker. They are related to the Turkana, Kumam, Maasai and Karamojong.

It is assumed that these people came from Southern Ethiopia or Sudan and settled first in Karamoja where they lived with their Karamojong brothers for some time.

Reasons for their Migration from Karamoja

Karamoja could have experienced the problem of overstocking creating the problem of land shortage and later conflicts.

Increase in population, whereby land is assumed to have been small for their growing numbers forcing t.hem to search for bigger areas for settlement.

It is probable that the Itesots migrated in search of fertile areas that could support agriculture. Soil erosion could have washed away the fertile soils.

It is also assumed that since they were pastoralists may be they were looking for pastures and water for their animals.

The region also witnessed prolonged seasons of drought since the area was arid and the drying of water reservoirs, which might have forced them to move in search of water.

Diseases like small pox, malaria, river blindness and nagana may have hit their area due to overcrowding, forcing some to look for new disease - free areas.

Natural calamities like severe famine might also have hit their area forcing them to look for new areas that could give them food.

Internal conflicts are given as a probable cause for their migration. These may have been possibly family quarrels or clan feuds. Other conflicts may have been over land that was not enough.

It is also assumed that there were external conflicts and pressure from the neighbors especially the Galla,Turkana and Karamojongs

Others assume that their migration was just out of love for adventure and wandering. They may have just wanted to be in a new place.

Some might also have migrated because of group influence, i.e. simply because they saw others moving.

Their Migrations and Settlement

The Itesot are a branch of the Plain Nilotes called the Jie, under the smaller group of the Ateker are related to the Turkana, Kumam, Maasai and Kararnojong.

It is assumed that these people came from Southern Ethiopia or Sudan and settled first in Karamoja where they lived with their Karamojong brothers for some time.

However, between 1562 they left Kararnoja perhaps due to pressure from the Karamajongs, overstocking, lack of water and over population.

They then moved southwards and established themselves on the shores of Lake Bisinia, K.umi and Soroti. It was from here that they acquired their name - Itesot.

Due to more pressure, others moved to Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya.

Today they are settled in Kumi, Mbale, T ororo, Serere, Amuria, Katakwi, Kaberamaido and others are in Kenya.

Effects of their Migration

Their migration led to population increase in East Africa especially in areas like Eastern Uganda and this later led to land conflicts.

They introduced new culture in East Africa after their intermarriages with other people.

They also formed new decentralized states in East Africa and also introduced new tradition weapons with ritual attachment

They acquired new farming skills for the Bantu like the growing of sweet potatoes and ground nuts.

They also promoted barter trade within the neighbors and as such they bartered hides and skins, ivory and beads for what they lacked

Their migration also resulted into displacement of people in East Africa especially those in fertile areas.

They adopted some customs after they intermarried with them for example circumcision customs.

Their war like behavior caused a lot of security in East Africa and consequently caused a lot of damage on life and property.