1 July 1962, Rwanda gains independence

Mozambique map

Rwanda, in central east Africa, was ruled by Tutsi kings before colonialism. In 1899 the country became a German colony during the ‘scramble for Africa’. After the First World War Rwanda became territory of the League of Nations, mandated to Belgian administration. In 1935 Belgium interfered most cynically with the country by introducing ethnic classification laws that years later were to spawn some of the worst racist genocide of the century. An ostensibly economic classifying of people according to what they possessed (those with more than 10 cows were grouped as Batutsi and those with less were deemed members of the Bahutu tribe) was inaccurate, insensitive and institutionalized stigmatism. In 1946 Rwanda was incorporated into Burundi, only to split again in 1959. Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium in 1962, with Gregoire Kayibande becoming the first president. The country has been plagued by civil war since independence.

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