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date: 22 January 2020

Rwanda and Burundilocked

  • Peter Cooke
  • , revised by J. Gansemans

Extract

Two neighbouring republics in Central Africa.

Despite their differing contemporary political situations, the same three ethnic groups – the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa – are located in Rwanda and Burundi. From the 16th century the Tutsi kingdom of Rwanda has shared the history of Burundi. In both republics, the majority is Hutu, Bantu-speaking farmers culturally related to peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been dominated by Tutsi dynasties since the 16th century when these cattle-breeders arrived in Rwanda from the north. The Tutsi conquered the area and founded a feudal kingdom, wielding absolute power over the other population groups although they represented only about 15% of the total population. In the late 19th century, both Rwanda and Burundi were under German control and from 1920–62 were moved to Belgian colonial rule. In 1959, a Hutu uprising destroyed the Tutsi feudal hierarchy and overthrew the monarchy. Violent inter-ethnic rivalry between the Hutus and Tutsis culminated in the near-genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis in ...

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