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tiistai 7. kesäkuuta 2016

Rwanda, Cool Facts #115

<= 114. Nigeria                                                                                                      116. South Africa => 

Rwanda used its former flag between 1961 and 2001. The previous flag was almost identical with the flags of Guinea and Mali, that's why an R-letter was added to distinguish it from the two in 1961. 

The flag was changed to the current flag in 2001, because it reminded about the brutal genocide of 1994. 

The R-letter was added in 1961 after the abolition of the monarchy. The flag design came from Belgium's flag because it had ruled Rwanda since 1916.

Meaning of the R-letter


Belgian flag
Kingdom of Rwanda 1959-1961
Republic of Rwanda 1961-2001
Republic of Rwanda 2001-present

- 2nd highest population density in Africa after Mauritius
- 2nd highest minimum elevation of 950 metres after Lesotho with 1400 meters
- Nickname "Pays des milles collines" which means "Land of a thousand hills" in French 
- Erosion is a severe problem in the hills, which are cultivated with primitive methods 
- Volcanic and fertile soil 
- Mild climate despite the location near the equator

3. Rwandan Colonial Times 

In 1884 Rwanda became part of the German East Africa after the Berlin Conference. The Germans lost their colonies during the World War I and Belgium occupied Rwanda in 1916.

Rwanda and Burundi were together the Belgian mandate area of Ruanda-Urundi from 1924 until 1945 when it became a United Nations trust territory under Belgian control. In 1962 Ruanda-Urundi became two separate independent countries, Rwanda and Burundi.

Both the Germans and Belgians had favoured the Tutsi during the colonial rule. The Tutsi constituted only 10% of the population but they owned the land, got education and were integrated into the colonial administration. The Hutus were subordinated to forced labour in the Tutsi plantations.

Map of Ruanda-Urundi

4. Tutsi and Hutu dispute

Scholars still dispute if the Hutu and Tutsi have separate origins or if it's only a social division of the society, which was made in ancient times. In precolonial times the kings, chiefs and ruling class were Tutsi and the Hutu were commonly agriculturalists. 

As the Tutsi minority was favored by the Germans and Belgians during the colonial times, tension started growing, escalating in 1959 when the Hutu rebelled. About 150,000 people, predominantly Tutsi, died and 250,000 fled to Burundi. 

Rwanda still had a Tutsi king who was displaced after a referendum in 1961 a year before the independence. The conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu led to violent clashes in 1963 and 1972-1973.

In 1990 the conflict escalated into a civil war as Tutsi refugees in Uganda attacked to Rwanda under the lead of Paul Kagame. Kagame's RPF occupied much of the northern parts of Rwanda, thousands of people died and over a million left their homes.

The peace treaty was signed in Arusha, Tanzania in 1993. In 1994 president Habyarimana was returning from the peace talks as his plane was shot and he was killed alongside with Burundi's president.

Armed forces started systematically to kill the Tutsi and moderate Hutus. In a couple of months an estimated 800,000 people were killed in the genocide. The Hutu government fled the country as the RPF won the war.

Million people fled to Goma, Zaire in only hundred hours. In 1996 million refugees returned back to their homeland. In 2000 RPF:s leader Paul Kagame became the president of Rwanda, the first Tutsi leader since the last Tutsi king in 1961.

5. Rwandan Society

- Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa 1% (2009, CIA World Factbook)
- Kinyarwanda the country's principal language
- Kinyarwanda, French and English all official languages
- 65 years life expectancy (2013 WHO) 
- Coffee and tea are the most important exports
- All kids in primary school age attend school
- Healthcare has improved
- World's first country where women got the majority in the parliament in 2008

Rwandan women

700 BC-1500 AD Bantu groups migrated to Rwanda clearing forest for agriculture
1700 Around eight kingdoms existed in the present-day Rwanda
1700s The kingdom of Rwanda reached its greatest extent under the reign of Kigeri Rwabugiri
1884 The Berlin Conference assigned the territory to Germany as part of German East Africa
1916 Belgium occupied Rwanda and Burundi
1924 Rwanda and Burundi became the mandate area of the League of Nations administered by Belgium
1959 Rwandan Revolution where Hutu activists started killing Tutsi
1961 The last Tutsi king Kigeri V was displaced after a referendum
1962 Rwanda was separated from Burundi and became independent
1963 and 1972-1973 Violent clashes between the Tutsi and Hutu
1973 Juvenal Habyarimana overthrew president Gregoire Kayibanda in a military coup
1990 The Tutsi rebel group RPF attacked from Uganda initiating the Rwandan Civil War
1994 Habyarimana died when his plane was shot down, which was the event that catalyzed the Rwandan Genocide. Within about 100 days between 500.000 to one million Tutsi were killed by the orders of the interim government
1996 Million refugees returned to their homeland
2000 RPF:s leader Paul Kagame became the president being the first Tutsi leader of the country since the last monarch of Rwanda
2002 The flag of Rwanda was changed
2008 Rwanda became world's first country where women got the majority in the parliament

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