History of Rwanda

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History of Rwanda

Post  kosovohp on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:11 am

Humans moved into what is now Rwanda following the last ice age, either in the Neolithic period around ten thousand years ago, or in the long humid period which followed up to around 3000 BC.[4][5] Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early Iron Age settlers, who produced dimpled pottery and iron tools.[4][6][7] These early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, a group of aboriginal Pygmy hunter-gatherers who remain a minority in Rwanda today.[4] Between 700 BC and 1500 AD a series of migrations took place[clarification needed], altering the demographics of Rwanda.[8] This led to the division of society into three groups: the Hutus, Tutsis and the original Twas.[9] Historians have several theories regarding the origins of these groups; one theory, promoted by the German colonial authorities, is that the Tutsis were a distinct racial group, possibly of Cushitic origin and arriving after the Hutus.[10] Others, including that of the current government, contend that the distinction was purely social.[11][12]

According to oral history, the Kingdom of Rwanda was founded in the 14th or 15th centuries on the shores of Lake Muhazi.[13] At that time it was a small state in a loose confederation with the larger and more powerful neighbours of Bugesera and Gisaka.[14] By playing these neighbours against each other, the early kingdom flourished, expanding westwards towards Lake Kivu.[15] In the late 16th or early 17th centuries, the Kingdom of Rwanda was invaded by the Banyoro and the kings were forced to flee westward.[16][14] The formation in the 17th century of a new Rwandan dynasty by King (Mwami) Ruganzu Ndori, followed by the retaking of the Muhazi area and the conquest of Bugesera, marked the beginning of the Rwandan kingdom's dominance in the region.[17] At its peak, the Kingdom of Rwanda extended into what is now the DRC and Uganda, reaching as far as the shores of Lake Edward.[16]

The Berlin Conference of 1884 assigned the territory to Germany as part of Ruanda-Urundi, marking the beginning of the colonial era. It was then united with the German territory of Tanganyika to form German East Africa.[18] Gustav Adolf von Götzen became the first European to significantly explore the country in 1894, crossing from the south-east to Lake Kivu and meeting the King.[19] Germany then appointed a Resident for Rwanda and German missionaries and military personnel began to arrive in the country.[20] The Germans did not significantly alter the societal structure of the country, but exerted influence by supporting the King and the existing hierarchy and placing advisers at the courts of local chiefs.[21] They also observed and perpetuated the ethnic divisions of the country, favouring the Tutsi as the ruling class and aiding the monarchy in putting down rebellions of Hutus who did not submit to Tutsi control.[21] In 1916, during World War I (WWI), Belgian forces defeated the Germans and took control of Ruanda-Urundi

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