Burundi History

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History[edit | edit source]

Burundi is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is also considered part of Central Africa.

Burundi was an independent kingdom, until the beginning of the 20th century, when Germany colonised the region. After the First World War and Germany's defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium. Both Germans and Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi and have never been under common rule until the time of European colonisation. Burundi gained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but a series of assassinations, coups and a general climate of regional instability culminated in the establishment of a republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its population as one of the world's poorest.

Burundi remains an overwhelmingly rural society, with just 13% of the population living in urban areas in 2013. Roughly 85% of the population are of Hutu ethnic origin, 15% are Tutsi, and fewer than 1% are indigenous Twa. The official languages of Burundi are Kirundi, French and English, Kirundi being recognised officially as the sole national language. Settlement by rural populations has led to deforestation, soil erosion and habitat loss. Deforestation of the entire country is almost completely due to overpopulation. In addition to poverty. Burundi is densely populated and has had substantial emigration as young people seek opportunities elsewhere.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1884 - Abushiri revolts were as a result of heightened tensions and border disputes between the German East Africa Company, the British Empire and the Sultanate of Zanzibar
1891 - The German East Africa Company transferred its rights to the German Empire establishing the German colony of German East Africa, which included Burundi
1916 - The British Empire and Belgium launched a coordinated attack on the German colony. Because of the numerical superiority of the Belgian army the German army was forced to retreat and Burundi and Rwanda were occupied
1924 - Ruanda-Urundi, which consisted of modern-day Rwanda and Burundi, became a Belgium 1959 - 1961 As a result of the Rwandan Revolution, many Rwandan Tutsi refugees arrived in Burundi
1962 - Burundi gained its independence from Belgium and legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi
1962 - 1993 An estimated total of 250,000 people died in Burundi from the various conflicts