Rwanda grew as a nation for hundreds of years
through migrations across the African continent. In the
light of the 1994 genocide, old historical writing has
been called into question and the descriptions of
various ethnic groups have been partially revised.
However, it seems clear that the contradictions that led
to the genocide were mainly built up during the colonial
The first inhabitants of the area are believed to
have been pygmies, twee, who fed themselves as hunters
and collectors. At the end of the first millennium in
our era, there was a relatively highly developed
agricultural culture, built by immigrant Bantu people.
From about the 11th century, livestock management seems
to have begun to play an important role. Probably later
a slow immigration of livestock-loving people from the
northeast, who would be the Tutsi ancestors, happened.
From the 15th century, a Tutsi kingship emerged, which
in the 19th century had gained control of most of the
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Rwanda, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, when the
European great powers divided Africa between them,
Germany was given the right to colonize Rwanda and
Burundi. The Tutsiel elite of the area could, through
the protection of the Germans, strengthen and expand
their power and became increasingly authoritarian. That
development continued since Belgium took over power
during the First World War. The Belgians bridged the
social divide between Hutus and Tutsis by introducing ID
cards with ethnic affiliation indicated.
In the 1950s, a change in the attitude of the
Belgians to the Rwandans took place. The Tutsis wanted a
quick independence while still in power, but instead won
the Hutu's claim to influence a new generation of
colonizers. The racially substantiated contradictions
erupted in full bloom.
At the death of King Mutara III in 1959, the Tutsi
elite tried to take advantage of the removal of the
opposition Hutu. This led to an uprising among the Hutu
people who were inspired by the Belgians. 20,000 Tutsis
were killed and 100,000 fled abroad. The Tutsi Empire
was broken and in a referendum two years later the
kingdom was abolished.
At the same time as the referendum, parliamentary
elections were held as a preparation for independence.
The election brought the Hutu people's liberation party
(Parmehutu) to power. Its leader Grégoire Kayibanda
became Rwanda's first president at independence on July
Former minister sentenced to genocide
Former Prime Minister Augustin Ngirabatware is sentenced by the Arusha court
to 35 years in prison for genocide, incitement to genocide and incitement to
rape as a crime against humanity. This is the last judgment delivered in the
court's first instance.
Ingabire is sentenced to prison
Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire is sentenced to eight years' imprisonment
for treason and for aggravating genocide in 1994. She is acquitted of charges of
terrorist crime. The trial has been ongoing since Ingabire returned from the
country escape two years earlier (see April 2010). She was
arrested after criticizing the Hutus who were killed during the 1994 genocide
not mentioned in the country's official memorial of the genocide victims.
Rwanda becomes a member of the UN Security Council
Rwanda is elected as a temporary member of the UN Security Council in 2013
and 2014. The place accrues to the country more or less automatically, since
Rwanda is the only candidate for East Africa's seat in the Council. The
membership is expected to allow Rwanda to block any sanctions against
representatives of the country.
New allegations of support for M23
New information leaked from a UN report claims that the M23 rebel movement in
Congo-Kinshasa is in practice directly under the command of the Rwandan Defense
Minister (see also June-July 2012). The UN report also
designates Uganda to support the rebels. Both countries refute the allegations.
Collection from private individuals begins
The government is starting to raise money from private individuals, including
Rwandans abroad, into a fund that will reduce dependence on foreign aid (see
Western countries are withdrawing aid
The US withdraws its military aid to Rwanda as punishment for its suspected
support for the M23 rebel group in Congo-Kinshasa. The annual sum has only
reached US $ 200,000, but the decision is of great symbolic significance, as the
United States has been Rwanda's most important Western partner. A few days
later, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany freeze budget support for a total of
over $ 56 million. The US government responsible for war crimes issues threatens
that the United States may pull the Rwandan leadership before the International
The gacaca courts are wound up
The Gacacao courts are wound up after handling nearly two million cases.
Rwanda is accused of supporting rebels
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses Rwanda of sending weapons and up to 300
soldiers to the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo-Kinshasa (see Congo-Kinshasa:
Current Politics / Calendar). The government, for its part, accuses HRW of
causing concern in the East by "spreading false rumors". The charges against
Rwanda reappear in a UN report in which Rwandan military commanders are accused
of being directly involved in the M23's establishment and subsequently assisting
the group with equipment, logistics and recruitment.
Four military commanders are placed under house arrest
Four of the country's highest-ranking soldiers are suspended and placed under
house arrest. They are reported to be the subject of an inquiry into
participation in the looting of natural resources in Congo-Kinshasa (compare
Foreign Policy and Defense).