Rwanda: Struggle for Independence


        In the 1880s the first group of Germans arrived in Rwanda. Almost instantly Mwami of Rwanda agreed to give Germany rule over Rwanda without a fight. Although Germany took control of Rwanda there were no real direct influences on Rwanda from the Germans.(www.WorldGeography.com) After World War I Belgium was given control of Rwanda. The Belgians forced the Tutsi’s to be rid of the unequal social caste system. (www.WorldGeography.com)

          It wasn’t until the 1950s that the Hutus became increasingly vocal regarding their dislike towards the unequal political and social system in Rwanda. This led to the Hutus demanding a change in the Tutsi-dominated feudal structure. When King Muratara III died and King Kigeri V came to power in 1959 the Hutus rebelled. The Hutus eventually won the battle causing the Tutsis to flee along with King Kigeri. In 1960 Gregoire Kayibanda of the Hutu Emancipation Movement was elected prime minister. Two years later the government announced Rwanda as a republic, and July 1st, 1962 Belgium granted Rwanda independence. (Encyclopædia Britannica)

           Although the Hutus were independent from Belgium, little did they know the Tutsis would be back to rebel. The Tutsis rebellion was a failure, and only resulted in the massacre of thousands of Tutsis.(History World) In 1965 the Tutsis and the Hutus made a peace agreement. A new constitution was officially made in 1978 and announced the country as a single-party state.

             Since the long struggle for independence, currently the official languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French, and English. Relationships between Belgium and Rwanda today are still rocky. As recent as 2006 Hutu extremists opposed national unity with Belgium. Although Rwanda remains independent from Belgium, the people of Rwanda remember the past of their people together, and are hesitant to maintain friendships.















"Rwanda." Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. John Middleton. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. 215-221. 4 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. NEW TRIER HIGH SCHOOL - District 203. 6 May. 2009 

This website helped me find specific information about Rwanda during different time periods, and the struggles were at each time.

"Rwanda: Country Overview." Social Studies. 2009. ABC-CLIO. 6 May 2009 <http://www.worldgeography.abc-clio.com

This website helped me find information on Rwandas overall struggle for independence from early on to now.

"Rwanda." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 6 May 2009  <http://search.eb.com/eb/article-40755>.

This website helped me find specific details on Rwanda under German and Belgian control 

 History of Rwanda” HistoryWorld.” Gascoigne, Bamber.  From 2001, ongoing.http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad24

This website helped me find information on the first encounter of Europeans in Rwanda.

Last Updated: 5/22/09