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


The Twa—hunter-gatherer pygmies—were the frst people to inhabit Rwanda. Tey now comprise 1% of the population. The Hutu were the next group to settle in Rwanda. They arrived at some point between AD 500 and 1100. They were small-scale agriculturalists, led by a king who ruled over clan groups. The fnal group to migrate to Rwanda was the Tutsi around 1400. Their ownership of cattle and their combat skills gained for them the economic and political control of the country. A feudalistic system developed where 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 centralizing the monarchy and reducing the power of neighbouring chiefs. Mwami Kigeri IV (reigned 1853–95) established the borders of Rwanda in the 19th century.


Prime Minister Democratic Republic Credit Union Death Squad Ankole Cattle 
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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 Tat 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 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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