Rwanda

Rwanda is a country in central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population, are farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis are a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. 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.

Republika y'u Rwanda
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Xxxxx
Official languages French, Kinyarwanda
Capital Kigali
President Paul Kagame
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 144th
26,338 km²
5.3%
Population
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 91st
7,312,756
281/km²
Independence
 - Declared
From Belgium
July 1, 1960
Currency Rwandan franc
Time zone UTC +2
National anthem Rwanda rwacu
Internet TLD .RW
Calling Code250

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Prefectures
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links
10 Further reading

History

Main article: History of Rwanda

In 1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The military government of Juvenal Habyarimana responded with genocidal pogroms against Tutsis, who it claimed were trying to re-enslave the Hutus.

Fighting continued until 1992, when the government and the RPF signed a cease-fire agreement in Arusha, Tanzania.

On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana was shot down in Kigali. Over the next two months, the military and militia groups killed over 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates. The RPF launched another invasion, and captured the northern part of the country by July. French peacekeepers secured the southern part, and the war ended on July 16.

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.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Rwanda

After its military victory in July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1992. Called the Broad Based Government of National Unity, its fundamental law is based on a combination of the constitution, the 1994 Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. Habyarimana's National Movement for Democracy and Development was outlawed. Political organizing is banned until 2003.

Prefectures

Main article: Prefectures of Rwanda

Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures:

  • Butare
  • Byumba
  • Cyangugu
  • Gikongoro
  • Gisenyi
  • Gitarama
  • Kibungo
  • Kibuye

Geography

Main article: Geography of Rwanda

This small country is located near the centre 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 west 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.

Economy

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.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Rwanda

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.

Culture

'\'Main article: Culture of Rwanda''

Holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
July 1Independence Day
July 4Liberation Day

  • Music of Rwanda

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Further reading

  • Dallaire, Roméo A., Shake Hands With the Devil : The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Toronto: Random House Canada, 2003, hardcover, 562 pages, ISBN 0679311718
  • Jean-Pierre Chretien, Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History, Zone Books, 2003, hardcover, 504 pages, ISBN 189095134X
  • Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda ISBN 0312243359

Countries of the world  |  Africa

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