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Burundi Old History

 

The Pygmy people are believed to have been the first to populate the area that today constitutes Burundi. The details of when the Hutu and Tutsi groups migrated into the area are uncertain and controversial, not least in the light of recent decades of mass murder. Between 1890 and 1962 the area was first colonized by Germany, then by Belgium.

The hunter and gatherer people began to populate the area during the first centuries after Christ. Farming Hutus probably settled there during the 7th and 8th centuries, while the ancestors of livestock-rearing Tutsis are believed to have immigrated from the 12th or 13th centuries.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Burundi, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

A Tutsid-dominated kingdom eventually grew and was firmly established from the 17th century. However, the monarchy was loosely held together and the king had a relatively weak position. The real rulers were a number of Tutsi princes or clan leaders, called ganwa. There was a strong rivalry between different ganwa, so each became dependent on the support of "their" Tutsis and Hutus.

The rivalry between the clans weakened the country, which in 1890 became an easy prey for German troops. During the colonial period, Burundi, together with Rwanda, was ruled first by Germany and after the First World War by Belgium on behalf of the League of Nations (United Nations forerunner) under the name of Rwanda-Urundi.

Old History of Burundi

In the 1950s, the colonial regime underwent some democratization before a planned independence for the area. New political parties were formed, among which the dominant ones were the National Progressive Alliance (in French abbreviated to Uprona) and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC).

Uprona was supported by the ruling clan Bezi and led by the king's eldest son Prince Louis Rwagasore. Uprona was a nationalist and tried one of the Tutsis and Hutus. The conservative PDC was founded by the rival clan Batare and had the support of the small emerging urban middle class. The Belgians also favored the PDC, which advocated democratic reforms rather than rapid independence.

Before independence, Rwanda-Urundi was divided into two states, and in 1961 parliamentary elections were held. In Urundi, Uprona won. Rwagasore became prime minister but was murdered after only two weeks by PDC supporters, probably with Belgian support.

2013

November

Suggestions for reduced influence for Tutsis

A commission reviewing the constitution proposes a series of amendments that raise strong protests. Among the amendments is that Parliament should be able to adopt a new law with a simple majority, instead of a two-thirds majority. It would give the Hutus full control over the legislation, since Tutsis have only 40 percent of Parliament's seats. The Commission is also proposing reduced power for the Vice President, who currently has to belong to a different party and ethnic group than the President. It is also proposed that the Senate be deprived of its task to ensure that government work is distributed proportionally among the people groups. The President must be eligible for re-election more than once. Several hundred activist movements are protesting that the government wants to tear down the agreements that put an end to 13 years of civil war.

September

Rwasa is being investigated for massacres

Prosecutors launch a preliminary investigation into crimes against opposition politician Agathon Rwasa. He is accused of having ordered a massacre of around 160 Congolese Tutsis in Gatumba, west of Bujumbura, 2004. The prosecution says the amnesty issued for former UNL rebels does not apply to " crimes against humanity or war crimes ".

August

Rwasa appears in public

Former opposition politician and rebel leader Agathon Rwasa appears in public for the first time since he went underground after the last presidential election (see June 2010). Rwasa says he has been hiding in Burundi, but he has also been observed in several neighboring countries over the years.

April

Freedom of the press is limited

The National Assembly adopts a law that allows journalists to disclose their sources and fines reporters or media companies for violating the press law. The media is prohibited from disseminating information on the armed forces, security issues and the country's currency.

 
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