• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The Twa—hunter-gatherer pygmies—were the first people to inhabit Rwanda. They were followed by the Hutu, who arrived at some point between AD 500 and 1100. The final group to migrate to Rwanda was the Tutsi around 1400. Their ownership of cattle and combat skills gave them social, economic and political control of the country. A feudalistic system developed: the Tutsi lent cows to the Hutu in return for labour and military service. At the apex was the Tutsi king, the mwami (pl., abami), who was believed to be of divine origin. The abami consolidated their power by reducing the power of neighbouring chiefs. Kigeri IV (reigned 1853–95) established the borders of Rwanda in the 19th century.

Republika y’u Rwanda


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Further Reading

  1. Braeckman, C., Rwanda: Histoire d’un Génocide. Paris, 1994Google Scholar
  2. Dorsey, L., Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Metuchen (NJ), 1995Google Scholar
  3. Fegley, Randall, Rwanda. [Bibliography] ABC-Clio, Oxford and Santa Barbara (CA), 1993Google Scholar
  4. Gourevitch, P., We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. Picador, London, 1998Google Scholar
  5. Prunier, G., The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. Farnborough, 1995Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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