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keskiviikko 18. marraskuuta 2015

Burundi, Cool Facts #79

<= 78. Gabon                                                                                                                  80. Vanuatu => 

1Kingdom of Burundi

The kingdom of Burundi lasted from 1680 until 1966. The kingdom was reigned by Tutsi kings as an independent state until 1885, when Burundi was attached to the German East Africa. Germany lost all its colonies during the World War I and Burundi was occupied by Belgium in 1916. Belgium ruled Burundi and Rwanda together as Ruanda-Urundi until 1962. 

The kingdom lasted the first four years of independence before the king was overthrown by the armed forces in 1966. Most members of the royal house live currently in exile in France. Both the Belgian and German colonial rulers relied on the Tutsi elite and land owners during the colonial times. 

Kingdom of Burundi 

1680-1885 independent state
1885-1916 part of German East Africa 
1916-1962 part of Ruanda-Urundi as a Belgian colony 
1962-1966 independent state

Coat of Arms of the Burundi Kingdom
Ntare V, last king of Burundi

2. Ruanda-Urundi 

Burundi and Rwanda were governed together as the Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi between the years 1916-1962. 

The Tutsi people were favored by the Belgian and before that the German colonial rulers, so after centuries of suppression the Hutu people started a rebellion in 1959 which led into the overthrowing of the Tutsi king in Rwanda. These actions led to the independence of the both countries in 1962. 

After the dissolution of the Ruanda-Urundi union Rwanda became a republic led by the Hutu and Burundi became a kingdom led by a Tutsi king.

Ruanda-Urundi map
Ruanda-Urundi people
3. Two genocides 

1972 First Genocide: Hutus were killed in masses by the Tutsi-dominated army 

The Hutu people consisted about 86% in the 60s and 70s, but they still had little power as the Tutsi elite ruled the country. After many other important events the Hutu insurgents started killing every Tutsi in sight after some demonstrations and that made the Tutsi-dominated army to start killing the Hutu people in masses. The Hutu started fleeing from Burundi to Zaire, Rwanda and Tanzania after the massacres started. 

1993 Second Genocide: Tutsis were killed by the Hutu majority 

In 1993 the Hutu people formed the government for the first time in history after Melchior Ndadaye won the presidential elections. Tensions escalated immediately and Tutsi and Hutu gangs fought against each other. The boiling point was in October, 1993 when Ndadaye was assassinated. The Hutu responded in killing many Tutsi which resulted in vengeances by the Tutsi against the Hutu rebels and also civilians. 

4. Deadly Plane Crash 

Two presidents died the 6th April in 1994 in a plane crash. These two men were Juvenal Habyarimana, the Rwandan president and Cyprien Ntyaryamira, the Burundian president. Both of the presidents were of Hutu origins. 

As the plane was landing to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, unidentified men shot the plane down and this event set off the Rwandan Genocide in which the Rwandan Hutu government massacred between 500,000-1 million Tutsi people. 

Ironic was that the two presidents were returning from peace negotiations in Tanzania, but instead of peace they got a genocide. The tensions between the Tutsi and Hutu people had already escalated into civil wars in both Rwanda and Burundi in the beginning of the 1990s. 

5. Political Stability 

Burundi has tried to bring political stability with a power distribution agreement. According to the agreement different population groups have a predetermined share of the parliament seats. The arrangement has calmed the political situation in Burundi.

Power distribution 

60% Hutu - (85% of the population are Hutu)
40% Tutsi - (15% of the population are Tutsi)
30% Women
3 seats for Twa Pygmis (under 1% of the population are Pygmi)

Burundian politician in an international meeting

1300s Tutsi nomads arrived from Ethiopia conquering the area and forcing the Hutu population as their land slaves 
1800s The feudal Tutsi kingdom was at the peak of its glory when the king Ntare II Rubaamba ruled the country 
1880s German migrants move to Burundi 
1890 Burundi is attached as a part of the German East Africa 
1916 Belgium became the new colonial master after Germany lost all of its colonies after the World War I 
1959 The Hutu people started a rebellion in Ruanda overthrowing the Tutsi king
1962 Ruanda and Burundi both become independent, Ruanda became a Hutu-led republic and Burundi a Tutsi-led kingdom 
1965 A Hutu prime minister is killed which causes rebellions but as a result of the rebellion the government and armed forces get rid of their Hutu members 
1966 The king is overthrown and the commander of the armed forces Michel Micombero declared himself the president
1972 Hutu massacre when the educated Hutu people in the administration and army are killed. Over 100,000 people killed and even more fled to neighboring countries
1976 Jean-Babtiste Bagaza overthrows Micombero from power, Bagaza tried to stabilize the tribe disputes by improving the position of the Hutus and conducting a land reform
1987 Pierre Buyoya overthrows Bagaza and the Hutus flee again from the country, mainly to Ruanda 
1993 First democratic presidential elections which Melchior Ndadaye won overwhelmingly. After half a year Ndadaye was murdered and a civil war started, the new president was also a Hutu, Cyprien Ntaryamira
1994 Ntyaramira and the president of Ruanda, Juvenal Habyarimana, die in a plane accident as their plane was shot down 
1996 Tutsi army seizes power and Pierre Buyoya becomes the president for the second time 
2003 Hutu rebels are integrated into the Tutsi army and Pierre Buyoya stepped aside as the Hutu Domitien Ndayizeye became the next president
2007 Burundi joins the East African Community


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