Rwanda is a little landlocked country in eastern Africa. Due to its geography, it is also called the "land of the thousand hills". Rwanda is popular for tourists who want to watch the very rare mountain gorillas in their natural environment, which is possible in some areas here.
Rwanda is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa and borders on Tanzania in the east, Burundi in the south, Uganda in the north and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west.
Karisimbi is a sleeping volcano and with its 4.507 m the highest point of the country at the same time. The country has a total area of 26.000 sq km.
In Rwanda, the population is divided int three different ethnos: the Hutu, the Tutsi and the Twa. The smallest ethnical group is the Twa who are at the same time the original inhabitants of Rwanda. They only form 1% of the total population and are treated as the fringe group of the society.
The Hutus immigrated into the country in the 14th Century from the northwest of Africa, settled down due to their agriculture and with now 90% form the biggest ethno of the country.
During the 15th and 16th Century, the Tutsi immigrated from the northeast of Africa and as traditional cattle-breeders also profited by the nourishing earth of Rwanda. About 9% of Rwanda's total population are Tutsi, they seem to look more European than the other ethnos.
Kigali with its about 1,2 million inhabitants is the capital of Rwanda and is located in the centre of the country at Kagera river. Kigali was founded in 1907 by the German Richard Kandt and belonged to German East Africa till 1916. Afterwards, the city was declared as a part of the Belgian League of Nations mandate. After the separation of the Rwanda-Urundi territory into Rwanda and Burundi, Kigali became the official capital of the country in 1962.
The economical base of the city is the trade with coffee, cattle and cassiterite as well as the processing industry.
With Kigali International Airport, the city offers an international airport that connects the country with European states via Addis Abeba and Nairobi.
Butare is a city in the south of Rwanda with about 70.000 inhabitants. It was founded in 1920 and today is the cultural centre of the country. The name comes from the Belgian queen Astrida. Butare was the capital of the former Rwanda-Urundi territory controlled by Belgium.
Butare is seat of the national university with about 8.000 students as well as the national museum of the country with several pre-colonial exhibits.
Gitarama is the second biggest city of the country and is located to the west of Kigali. In 1961, the surprising "coup d'état of Gitarama" was declared. During a conference of mayors and municipal representatives an interim parliament, - president and - constitution were determined. This meant the end of the monarchy and the Republic of Rwanda was proclaimed.
The older and younger history of Rwanda has significant influence on politics and the overcoming of society dispartments. The natives of the Twa were suppressed by cattle-breeders and farmer groups and little feudal lordships were developped. Rwanda was lead by a king from the 16th Century on who continuously widened his power and with this reached today's dimensions of the state territory.
In 1890, Rwanda was adjudged the German colonial government and therefore belonged to German East Africa. Besides the start of proselytisation, also bases like Kigali were founded. After the First World War, Belgium received the mandate for Rwanda. During the colonial era and the proselytisation the conflict between Tutsi, Hutu and Twa intensified.
On the way to independence, the friction between the favored Tutsi and the neglected Hutu grew. Shorty before independence, the Belgian government bounced the king and thus ended the monarchy.
Within the following years, the friction even became worse and were especially characterized by the military coup of the army chief Habyarimana who was favoured by the Hutu and the extremist FPR party (Front Patriotique Rwandais). The conflict reached its maximum on 6th April 1994 when the bloodshed began after the shot on the presidential aircraft by Habyarimana. During only a few weeks, up to 1 million people, mainly Tutsi, were killed. Only after the winning of the FPR in July 1994 the massacre ended.
Pasteur Bizimungu became new President and Paul Kagame his Vice President, being affirmed as President in 2000 and 2010. The government forbid the ethnic separation and even made Rwanda one of the best developped countries in Africa.
Due to the tribal genocide in 1994, the already week economy of the country even got worse and the population impoverished. Despite the nourishing earth, Rwanda belonged to the poorest African countries in 1994.
Only with lots of support, emergency assistance and committed development cooperation of the USA, EU and China, Rwanda has now faced a stable period of growth for several years.
Due to considerable progress in stabilisation and reactivation of the economy, the gross domestic product could consistently grow during the last years. However, poverty has also grown in that same period of time and food production only covers 80% of the needs, so that there regularly are regional and seasonal hunger crisis.
Mainly coffee and tea are grown for export, furthermore bananas, beans, corn, sorghum and sweet potatoes are cultivated.