||Rare early Zionist literature in Yiddish dealing with the failed proposal to create a Jewish homeland in Uganda in East Africa, commonly known as the Uganda scheme. The first page is headed by three crowned shields each with a Magen David, similar to the later symbol of the state of Israel. The text is in six chapters in vocalized Hebrew letters.
The the Uganda scheme was a proposal made by the British government to the Zionist Organization to establish an autonomous Jewish colony in British East Africa (now Kenya). After the El-Arish proposal was turned down, in 1903 Joseph Chamberlain suggested to Theodor Herzl that the Zionist Organization establish a Jewish settlement in East Africa. The negotiations between Herzl and the British government ended in Herzl proposing that the British extend a charter for settlement and an official proposal by the British government on Aug. 14, 1903, concerning Jewish settlement on a specified territory in British East Africa. The administration of all internal affairs would be autonomous under the supreme control of the British government; the borders of the territory were not specified and were to be finally fixed after the opinion of British experts was obtained and a commission of inquiry was sent by the Zionist Organization. British motivation in advancing this proposal, in addition to the desire to help Jews suffering from the pogroms in Russia, was apparently the desire to attract manpower and capital capable of developing the area. Herzl's proposal combined various intentions: to provide swift aid to the masses of East European Jewry whose insecure position had been sharply thrown into relief by the Kishinev pogrom, and to prevent the masses of Jews emigrating from Russia from dispersing in many countries. Herzl also wished to create political ties with the British government that would be useful for furthering the settlement plans in El-Arish and strengthen his position in the negotiations on Erez Israel. The projected settlement in East Africa should help to generate the future settlement in Erez Israel. Herzl's motives, therefore, were mainly tactical; he intended no deviation from the Basle program. The Uganda scheme was introduced by Herzl at the Sixth Zionist Congress (August 1903) and led to sharp disagreement and furious debate. The controversy continued after the Congress ended and threatened to split the Zionist Movement. Those opposed to the scheme, who called themselves Ziyyonei Zion, were led during the Congress by Jehiel Tschlenow and later by M. M. Ussishkin. During the Congress, the majority of the Russian members of the Actions Committee handed Herzl a statement of their opposition and left the hall, followed by the rest of the opponents, mostly delegates from Russia. During a private meeting Herzl succeeded in convincing these members of his continued efforts toward obtaining settlement rights in EreZ Israel and thus saved the unity of the Zionist Organization. After the Congress, however, this unity was dissolved, and the opposition convened the Kharkov Conference to present Herzl with an ultimatum to abandon the scheme. Herzl refused to receive a delegation from the Kharkov Conference, but Herzl and the Ziyyonei Zion were by and large reconciled at a meeting of the Zionist General Council (April 11, 1904), after the British government withdrew its offer. In the meanwhile, the struggles over the proposal, added to the strains of political activities, aggravated Herzl's heart condition, and he died before the Seventh Congress (1905) convened. At that Congress, the Uganda Scheme was rejected by the delegates after the commission of inquiry sent by the Sixth Congress to examine the proposed territory presented a negative report on their findings. Israel Zangwill supported its acceptance, however, and when his view was voted down he split from the Zionist Movement and, together with 40 delegates to the Congress, formed the Jewish Territorialist Organization. The Seventh Congress also decided that according to the Basle Program, the Zionist Organization should concern itself with settlement only in Erez Israel.