Repubulika y'u Rwanda
Republique Rwandaise
Republic of Rwanda
Flag of Rwanda Coat of Arms of Rwanda
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: Liberty, Cooperation, Progress
Anthem: Rwanda nziza
Location of Rwanda
Capital Kigali
Template:Coor dm
Largest city Kigali
Official languages French, Kinyarwanda, English, Swahili
Government republic; pres. multy-p. syst.
Paul Kagame
Bernard Makuza
 - Date
From Belgium
July 1, 1962
 • Total
 • Water (%)
26,338 km² (144th)
 • 2004 est.
 • ? census
 • Density
7,954,013 (91st)
281/km² (33)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2003 estimate
10,462 (123)
1,268 (144)
Currency Rwandan franc (RWF)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
not observed (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .rw
Calling code +250

Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. It is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. Its fertile and hilly terrain, which give it the title "Land of a Thousand Hills", supports one of the densest populations in Africa. It is best known to the outside world for the 1994 Rwandan genocide that resulted in the deaths of up to one million people.



Main article: History of Rwanda

Prior to European colonization, Rwanda was the site of one of the region's most complex monarchical systems. The earliest known inhabitants of the region now known as Rwanda were the Pygmy and Twa. Later, groups known as Hutus and Tutsis also settled in the same region.

In 1895 Rwanda, like Burundi, became a German province. The Germans, however, were at first completely dependent on the existing government. The German authority kept the indigenous administration system by applying the same type of indirect rule established by the British Empire in the Ugandan kingdoms. After Germany's loss in World War I, the protectorate was taken over by Belgium with a League of Nations mandate. Belgian rule in the region was far more direct and harsh than that of the Germans. Belgian colonizers, backed by Christian churches, mainly Catholics, used the Tutsi upper class over lower classes of Tutsis and Hutus, creating a wider social gap between social entities than had existed before. Belgian forced labor policies and stringent taxes were mainly enforced by the Tutsi upper class, who the Belgians used as buffers against people's anger, thus further polarising the Hutu and the Tutsi. Many young peasants, in order to escape tax harassment and hunger, migrated to neighboring countries. They moved mainly to Congo but also to Ugandan plantations, looking for work.

After World War II Rwanda became a UN trust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Through a series of processes, including several reforms, the assassination of King Mutara III Charles in 1959 and the fleeing of the last Nyiginya clan monarch, King Kigeri V, to Uganda, the Hutu gradually gained more and more power until, upon Rwanda's independence in 1962, the Hutu held virtually all power.

In 1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) launched military attacks against the Hutu government of Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The military government of Juvénal Habyarimana responded with pogroms against Tutsis, whom it claimed were trying to re-enslave the Hutus. Fighting continued until 1992, when the government and the RPF signed a cease-fire agreement known as the Arusha accords in Arusha, Tanzania.

In 1994, President Habyarimana was assassinated [1] ( when his Falcon 50 trijet was shot down while landing in Kigali. It is remains unclear who was responsible for the assassination – most credible sources point to the presidential guard, spurred by Hutu nationalists fearful of losing power, although others believe that Tutsi rebels were responsible. Over the next three months, the military and militia groups killed approximately 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates in the Rwandan Genocide. The RPF launched attacks, and occupied the northern, the east and the southern parts of the country by June. On the 4th of July, the war ended as the RPF entered the capital Kigali while French peacekeeper troops were occupying the south-west part of the country under Op鲡tion Turquoise.

Over 2 million Hutus fled the country after the war, fearing Tutsi retribution. Most have since returned, although some militias remain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and have become involved in that country's civil war.


Main article: Politics of Rwanda

After its military victory in July 1994, the Rwandese Patriotic Front organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Juv鮡l Habyarimana in 1992. Called the Broad Based Government of National Unity, its fundamental law is based on a combination of the constitution, the 1993 Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. Habyarimana's National Movement for Democracy and Development was outlawed.

Political organizing was banned until 2003. The first post-war presidential and legislative elections were held in August and September 2003, respectively.


Missing image
Map of Rwanda

Main article: Prefectures of Rwanda

Rwanda is divided into 12 provinces:


Main article: Geography of Rwanda

This small country is located near the center of Africa, a few degrees south of the Equator. It is separated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley to the west; it is bounded on the north by Uganda, to the east by Tanzania, and to the south by Burundi. The capital, Kigali, is located in the centre of the country.

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, and constitute part of the Great Rift Valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region. Therefore the country is also fondly known as "Land of a Thousand Hills" (Pays des mille collines).


Missing image
A Rwandan market

Main article: Economy of Rwanda

Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa; is landlocked; and has few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary exports are coffee and tea.


Main article: Demographics of Rwanda

The population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who represent the main part of the population, are mostly cultivators raising goats or sheep, while a few are ceramists like the Twa. The Tutsis are a pastoral people dedicated to cattle and sheep raising. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattleholding. The Twa are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. However, the whole population shares a genuine common Bantu culture. Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers.


Main article: Culture of Rwanda

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