Rwanda Facts

Rwanda Facts and History


Rwanda – The African Switzerland

With an area of over 26,000 km², Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa. However, this is not the reason why it is often referred to as “African Switzerland”. To Switzerland make it – how could it be otherwise – the mountains. Rwanda is crossed by a high mountain range. The highest mountain in Rwanda, the Karisimbi, is at 4,507 m almost as high as the highest mountain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc. The altitude means that Rwanda, despite its location in Central Africa, is a fertile and extremely green country. Not only the flora, but also the fauna of Rwanda is rich and diverse. The last mountain gorillas live in the Park des Volcans, in the remote mountain regions. Many tourists therefore insist on visiting this part of Africa, despite the country’s bloody past.

The clashes between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups have been part of Rwanda’s history since the 14th century. The atrocities of recent times, however, the genocide of around 800,000 Tutsis by members of the Hutus between April 7 and July 18, 1994, as well as the resulting civil wars in the neighboring states, which claimed around 5 million deaths, put everything that happened before the shadow. Even though Rwanda’s President Kagame, who comes from the Tutsi minority, was democratically confirmed in office by the Hutus in 2003, the country is still marked by the murders between the two ethnic groups.

Rwanda will not soon forget the domestic mass murder. Countless orphaned street children testify to this. It will still be many years before Rwanda will be as beautiful and tranquil as Switzerland – and not just in terms of landscape. It should be noted that Rwanda is considered the cleanest country in Africa, and the country has been free of plastic bags since 2008.

Name of the country Republic of Rwanda
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location Central Africa
National anthem Rwanda nziza gihugu cyacu
Population approx. 13 million residents (Credit: Countryaah: Rwanda Population)
  • Hutu (84%)
  • Tutsi (15%)
  • Twa (1%)
Religions Catholics 44%, Protestants 38%, Adventists 12% and 6% Muslims
Languages French, Kinyarwanda, English and Swahili
Capital Kigali
Surface 26,338 km²
Highest mountain Karisimbi with a height of 4,507 m
Longest river Kagera with a length of 850 km
Largest lake Kiwu Lake with an area of 2,650 km²
International license plate RWA
National currency Rwanda Franc
Time difference to CET + 1 h
International phone code 00250
Voltage frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .rw

Rwanda History

Rwanda by the 17th century

The earliest residents of Rwanda were probably the Twa, a pygmy people, about whose history little is known.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, today’s Rwanda is inhabited by the Hutu, a farming people and the Tutsis. Since the 14th or 15th century, the Hutu were subjugated by the Tutsi (formerly Watussi warriors), a people related to the Hutu language, but with a nomadic way of life.

20th century until today

From 1890 until the end of the First World War, Rwanda belonged to German East Africa through the Helgoland-Sansibar Treaty. However, the area was hardly colonized. In 1916 the Belgians took Rwanda without encountering any resistance and were given it as a League of Nations mandate after the First World War.

In 1946, Rwanda became a UN trust territory.

In 1959, a Hutu peasant revolt against Tutsi rule with many deaths led to a mass exodus of around 150,000 Tutsi to the neighboring countries of Burundi and Uganda.

In 1960 a Hutu party won the first election and appointed the president.

In 1961 the Hutu deposed the Tutsi king, who fled to Burundi with 60,000 Tutsis.

In 1962, Rwanda became an independent republic.

In 1963 tens of thousands of Tutsi who had fled tried to regain power but were crushed. Countless Tutsis were killed in a horrific civil war, and massacres of the Tutsi who remained in the country were also carried out in the following years. In 1990 a Tutsi rebel army began to challenge the Hutu government with the aim of returning the Tutsi refugees to Rwanda.

In 1994, Rwandan President Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash under unclear circumstances. This became the occasion for the genocide of the Tutsi, in which radical Hutu militias murdered around 800,000 Tutsi and even moderate Hutu from April 7th to July 18th, 1994.

Large parts of the population were subsequently forced to flee to neighboring countries, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From there, the Hutu militias organized attacks on the Tutsi, now ruling Rwanda, and their related peoples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Banyamulenge). This also triggered a civil war there, in which almost all neighboring countries became involved. Rwandan militias, as well as armed forces and militias from various other countries, committed a mass murder here, undisturbed by the global public, which, according to estimates, claimed a total of around 5 million deaths. In addition to the occurrence of raw materials such as gold and diamonds, the background is coltan, which is indispensable for the construction of cellular phones, which is produced in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the protection of militias,

Finally, the UN organized the return of the refugees to Rwanda.

Since 2000, a member of the Tutsi minority has ruled Rwanda again, who was also confirmed in office by the Hutu in 2003. The country is controlled by the Tutsi under the leadership of the FPR, which began the fight for supremacy from Uganda in 1990. From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this government is being fought by Hutu guerrillas who are trying to take power.

April 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the murder in the country worldwide.

Rwanda Facts