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History

Pre-colonial

Pre-colonial Rwanda was a highly centralized Kingdom presided over by tutsi kings who hailed from one ruling clan (nyiginya). The king ruled through three categories of chiefs: cattle chiefs, land chiefs and military chiefs. The chiefs were predominantly, but not exclusively, tutsi, especially the cattle and military chiefs. While the relationship between the king and the rest of the population was unequal, the relationship between the ordinary hutu, tutsi and twa was one of mutual benefit mainly through the exchange of their labor. The relationship was symbiotic. A clientele system called "Ubuhake" permeated the whole society. All these social groups share the same language, same culture, same monotheist beliefs (Imana), same geographical habitat and intermarriage was common.
Besides, the specific attributes of current Rwanda culture such as craft, performing arts, habitat were formed in this era.

Colonial period - Independence

Colonial period was characterized by the well known indirect rule that institutionalized inequality of the pre-existing social class into "ethnic group".  The three "Tribes" of tutsi, hutu and twa were categorized by the number of cows and looks of face and height.  At the time of independence in the midst of the Cold War, the colonial power played group against the other for the sake of its interest.  At independence in 1962, Belgium shifted its alliance from the tutsi aristocracy to the hutu intelligentsia and this resulted in bloodshed and thousands of citizens were forced to exile.

Post-independence - Genocide

Post-independence regimes institutionalized the politicization of ethnicity and practiced systematic ethnic exclusion as a mode of governance. This led to the forceful repatriation of thousands of refugees under the leadership of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). Forced to accept the peaceful solution to the war, the regime planned a systematic elimination of tutsi and moderate hutus and this culminated in the well known genocide of 1994 that was perpetrated by the former army and the well known militia (interahamwe).

Post-genocide - Today

In July 1994 RPF stopped genocide, set up a transitional government of national unity. In 2003, Rwanda adopted the new constitution by referendum, organized both presidential and legislative multiparty elections. Despite the current potential destabilization due to the presence of former army and militia in Eastern DRC, the country has enjoyed peace and steady reconstruction and development for the last 13 years.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

1884 The Berlin Conference is held on the division of Africa between European Nations.
1894 The German captain, von Gotzen, is received by the Rwandan monarch, King Kigeli IV Rwabugili.
1895 Rwanda becomes part of German East Africa colonies along with Burundi and Tangayika.
1900 The German administration welcomes the first group of European Catholic missionaries, known as the "White Fathers" or "Peres Blancs" fleeing from the neighboring British colony of Uganda.
1917 After the defeat of the Germans in WW1, Belgium army moves in Rwanda from their neighboring colony of Congo and in 1923 the League of Nations mandates Belgium to administer Rwanda; Belgium establishes a political system of indirect rule administration with the King effectively working under the Belgian Administration.
1935 The Belgian Colonial Administration issues, for the first time, identification that clearly categorized people as "hutu", "tutsi" and "twa" on the basis of the number of heads of cattle they owned. Those with ten or more cows were categorized as "tutsi"; while those with less were categorized.
1954 King Rudahigwa demands total independence and an end to Belgian colonial occupation. This was the main reason for the shift of support of the colonial administration from the King to the hutu elite.
1957 Indeed under the patronage of the colonial administration and the Catholic Church, Gregoire Kayibanda, a hutu catechist, publishes the "hutu Manifesto" demanding the political authority be granted to the Bahutu majority. He later created the Parmehutu party.
1962 Belgium officially grants independence to Rwanda and Gregoire Kayibanda becomes the President of the First Republic. 1959: first ethnic killings and exile for thousands Rwandans. With independence came the "ethnization" of all aspects of life in Rwanda (education, access to employment, to police, army, political participation, etc.); this went on until 1994.
1963
1966
1973
Systematic ethnic killings and subsequent exile
1990 The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) made mostly of 30 years old refugees barred from going back home forcibly launched an invasion from Uganda.
August 1993 Arusha (Tanzania) peace accord under the auspice of the UN based mostly on power sharing and repatriation of refugees.
April 6th 1994 genocide starts after the death of former President J. Habyarimana in a plane clash. Genocide was stopped by the RPF that won the war and subsequently formed a government of national unity with the 6 other opposition parties.
2003 New constitution and first ever multiparty Presidential and Parliamentary elections that saw President Paul Kagame elected as the President of the Republic up to date.


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