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Conflict in Rwanda, 1960-1964

The Tutsis originally came to Rwanda from the Horn of Africa, where they soon subjigated the native Hutus and established a Tutsi monarchy and nobility, while relegating the Hutus to near feudal serfdom. However, these strict ethnic and class boundries began to blur over time. Rwanda later became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. The Belgians began a series of democratic reforms in the late 1950s, but these were opposed by Tutsi traditionalists who saw them as a threat to Tutsi rule. This angered Rwanda's Hutu population, who first in 1957 issued a manifesto calling for increased rights for the Hutus, and then in 1959 (with Belgian military support) began a revolt against the Tutsis, seeking to overthrow the Tutsi monarchy. It was prompted by a dispute over the succession to the Tusti-controled throne, which the Hutus claimed was illegitimate. The revolt caused more than 160,000 Tutsis to flee to neighboring countries. In 1961 a republic was proclaimed and the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming majority in a UN-supervised referendum later that year. Independence was granted on July 1, 1962.

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