Rwanda History

Today, 4 July is a holiday to commemorate the end of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. Every April, Rwanda commemorates its dead and remembers the victims of the genocide in Rwanda's capital Kigali on 4 July 1994 and every year thereafter.

The 1959 Hutu revolution, supported by the Belgians, forced 300,000 Tutsis to flee Rwanda, further reducing their numbers in the country. In 1963, an invasion by the exiled Tutis of Rwanda from Burundi triggered the worst outbreak of violence ever, which caused an estimated 14,500 deaths and more than 1.5 million deaths in Rwanda. The Hutus of Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, many of whom participated in this genocide or feared retribution by the Tatsi, fled to neighboring Burunti, Tanzania and Uganda or Zaire. On 4 July 1964, Huti government troops killed an estimated 14,000 people in Kigali and other parts of Rwanda; in 1963, a totsi guerrilla invasion from Rwanda to Burungi was launched; and in 1965, in response to this invasion, TUTI rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the genocide with the help of the United Nations and international aid.

The Tutsis who remained in Rwanda were excluded from political power when the state became more closely linked to the Hutu power. As Hutus gained more influence, they began to drive the Tatsi out of Rwanda and significantly reduce the Tutis population in the country.

During the colonial period in Rwanda, the ruling Belgians favoured the Tutsi minority and gave them a number of advantages over the Hutus, who were the majority. Although northern Rwanda was not conquered by the Tutis until well into the 20th century, northern Rwandans saw it as less burdened by Tatsi intermarriage. There were riots and killings of TUTis in the mountains and in the countryside, and these atrocities also spread from Rwanda to Burundi, which was also already under the control of the Hutu government and its allies such as the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

In 1998, when it became clear that the new government in the Democratic Republic of Congo would not bring Hutu militias back to Rwanda, Rwanda began to support the forces that opposed Kabila. When the RPF learned that genocide had begun, it renewed its alliance with the Rwandan Patriotic Front and its allies in Burundi.

The war, the deadliest since World War II, was partly triggered by two million Hutus fleeing Rwanda and attacking Tutsis. The genocide began in 1994 when the plane of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down and many moderate Hutu politicians, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyi, were massacred. Rwanda became a killing ground, where tens of thousands of people were massacred, including many children, women and the elderly. Violence between Hutus and Tatsis flared up again in 1996, culminating in the genocide in 1997, in which 800,000 Tutis and moderate Hutus were murdered, while the international community looked the other way.

It was inevitable that the massacres in Burundi would cause pent-up demand - and resentment in neighboring Rwanda. Tensions exploded in the wake of the 1959 Rwandan revolution, when Hutu forces attacked and massacred Tutsis fleeing to safety in Rwanda, and tensions between Hutus and Tatsis exploded again in the 1990s.

The new Congolese President, who was replaced by a second invasion, launched an invasion that involved many African nations for many years to come, including Rwanda.

After independence, the Hutus, who made up about 84 percent of the population in Rwanda and Burundi, conquered the new states and brutally suppressed the Tutsis. Colonial power Belgium believed that Tatsi Hutu and Twa were superior and put them at the head of Rwanda. When the Rwandans in exile formed a group called the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and launched an offensive against Rwanda, a civil war began. After Rwanda abandoned its claim to Uganda, it (and all of Burunti) was annexed to the German Reich in World War II.

After the Second World War, Rwanda was placed under Belgian trust, in accordance with the mandate of the League of Nations. Under Belgian rule, it came under the control of the United Nations, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It is probable that after the fall of Mwamis, the Hutus killed more than twenty thousand Tutsis and forced more than two hundred thousand to flee to neighbouring Uganda, Zaire and Burundi, and that Burunti became independent while M wami was still in power. The war that broke out in Congo in 1996 killed thousands more Hutu and drove most of them back to Rwanda.

Hutu nationalism remains an important ideology in Rwanda, and the whole tribal question has been reopened since the invasion of Rwanda. In Rwanda, the idea that the Tutsi were a race in their own right, having arrived only recently and established their supremacy over the Hutu and their conquest, was accepted by a large part of the population. Ultimately, Hutu leaders used the notion that they were not genuine Rwandans to inspire their soldiers and militias to slaughter the Tatsi population in the name of an exclusivist national ideology challenged by moderate Houtis.

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