History of Rwanda

Thanks to the mountainous surface, the tropical climate is milder, in the higher areas it can even snow heavily. Rwanda is considered to be the place with the highest incidence of lightning due to the monsoon seasons lasting from January to May and from September to December ? 82 flashes per square kilometer. An average of 830 mm of precipitation falls here annually, but the eastern savannas are drier than the western and northwestern mountain ranges.

Opened in 2004, Nyungwe National Park in southwestern Rwanda intersects several biogeographical areas, the diversity of which provides favorable conditions for the life of many animal and plant species. A quarter of all African primate species live here.

The beginnings of settlement

The territory of today’s Rwanda was already inhabited 35,000 years ago by the pygmy Twa tribe. It was a small group of hunters and gatherers, which was later displaced by the agricultural tribe of the Hutus. They started clearing forests to make room for future settlements. The third tribe that settled in the territory of Rwanda was mainly the nomadic Tutsi.

At the beginning of the 15th century, the first small, organized states were created here. The most powerful of these was the state of Gisaka in southeastern Rwanda, which maintained its independence and freedom until the middle of the 19th century.

Kingdom of Banyarwanda

According to Weddinginfashion.com, the Kingdom of Banyarwanda, also known as the Kingdom of Rwanda, was founded by the pastoral Tutsi tribe in the 15th century on the territory of present-day Rwanda. With the arrival of 1890, gradual subjugation to European colonialists began.

Although about 80% of the population of the Kingdom of Rwanda were Hutu, only a small number of this tribe were members of the nobility. The rest lived a poor peasant life. The kingdom was ruled by the Tutsis and the monarchs were called “Mwamis”.

While the Tutsis possessed weapons and military power, the Hutus used black magic and supernatural powers. Because of concerns about their abilities, the royal council (abiiru) was composed entirely of Hutus and played a significant role in the affairs of the state. From the middle of the 18th century, however, it gradually lost its importance. The kings, who concentrated all power on themselves, distributed the land among individuals and did not take into account the hereditary right of the chiefs of the Hutu tribe. Based on the king’s choice, the land was mainly owned by the Tutsi. Between 1860–1895 there was a redistribution of land, which resulted in a protection system for Tutsi chiefs that allowed the introduction of serfdom. Thus the feudal system penetrated the country. At the same time, Rwanda begins to subjugate the surrounding tribes. The designation Hutu is no longer used only for the original inhabitants, but also for the inhabitants of the newly acquired territories. The word Hutu acquires associations with conquest, enslavement and oppression, regardless of ethnicity. However, the idea spread that Hutu and Tutsi differed by socio-economic status, not ethnicity. This in practice meant that Hutus could shed their tribal affiliation by accumulating enough wealth and moving up the social ladder.


For Europe, the Kingdom of Banyarwanda ceased to exist legally with the signing of the Anglo-German Treaty of 1890. The signing of the treaty justified the claims of the German Empire to the territories that it would incorporate into the colony of East Africa (Deutsch-Ostafrika). European officials in Rwanda set up an administration which, despite all efforts, failed to be fully integrated into the apparatus of the East African colony.

The Treaty of Versailles confirmed the transfer of German territories in Africa to the Belgians and the British. From the Kingdom of Banyarwanda and Burundi, the state of Ruanda-Urundi is created with the help of the United Nations. The Belgians left the country with existing government structures to serve as instruments of control over the native population. However, the monarch gradually lost most of the real power, which was taken over by the Belgian colonizers. After World War II, Ruanda-Urundi gained independence and in 1962 the country disintegrated. The independent states of Rwanda and Burundi were created.

History of Rwanda

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