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State

Capital

Burundi

Bujumbura

Currency unit

Burundi franc

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German empire

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History

Interlacustrine states

see Rwanda

In Burundi there was a king, the Mwami, who was a Tutsi, one of the tall aristocrats. Some of the customs and ceremonies appeared to be derived from Ethiopia and even ultimately from ancient Egypt (as with all the local kingdoms).

In 1885 the Berlin Conference awarded Burundi to the Germans (without asking the local people). A number of massacres by Germans occurred.

The Belgians took over in 1916 after the Germans in Tanganyika had been defeated. It was awarded to them as a League of Nations Mandate.

During the Belgian period it was mainly the Tutsi who got educated and filled the administrative positions. Thus what was a fluid situation of classes became frozen by the colonial power.

The kingdom became independent in 1962 at the same time as the Belgian Congo (later Zaire). In 1965 there was a revolution in which the Hutu tried to drive away the Tutsi but failed. Many Hutu were killed. The kingdom was replaced but by a Tutsi republic. Another Hutu rising occurred in 1969. There was then a civil war in 1970-71 which is estimated to have left 250,000 dead. Following an invasion by exiled Hutus in 1972 the Tutsi ruling group systematically murdered all the educated Hutus. This paralleled a similar revolution in Rwanda in 1959 where the Tutsi were chased away and massacred and the Hutu gained power.

The Tutsi in Burundi set up a one-party state and continuing repression. The two states were thus opposed to each other on class grounds. However, a military coup in 1987 brought to power a Tutsi Major Buyuya, who eventually brought in a democratic constitution.

Elections in 1993 seemed to have brought the period of repression to an end. A Hutu President was installed but assassinated by a group of Tutsi officers in a revolt in October 1993. Massacres of Tutsis followed and the mainly Tutsi army attacked Hutus. Chaos broke out, adding to the number of countries with no effective government. Ethnic cleansing is going on.

By early 1996 civil war seemed to be growing with a danger of general massacre.

Languages

Kirundi

French

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Politics

Elections in June 1993 resulted in the defeat of the incumbent, Buyoya, and a Hutu victory by the Front for Democracy, after many years of suppression by the Tutsi (aristocracy). The new leader Ndadaye called for reconciliation but he was killed during a Tutsi army revolt. The slaughter continued as the majority Hutu then massacred many Tutsi, while the Tutsi army also massacred Hutus. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been killed.

Members of the murdered president's government claim to continue the government but from the safety of foreign embassies. There is a small OAU force but it is powerless to prevent the massacres.

In July 1996 the growing civil war resulted in the Hutu president fleeing to the US embassy and a military takeover by General Buyoya, the Tutsi leader who had allowed the 1993 elections which initiated the civil war.

In 1997 the unrest continued with massacres by both Tutsis and Hutus and raids from across the border in Congo (former Zaire).

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Economics

see Rwanda

 History

 Politics

 Economics

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 Climate

Green/Ecology

A very overcrowded country, but facing the catastrophe of AIDS infection.

How far are the massacres a result of population growth? (see Rwanda).

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

The ruling Tutsi people have treated the Hutus with terror, imprisonment without trial and assassination. This is more like apartheid than genocide. But the Hutus may try to do what has happened in Rwanda.

Climate effects

Last revised 17/07/08


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