History, Foreign Rule
John Hanning Speke, trust territory, German East Africa, Roman Catholic clergy, League of Nations
In 1858 John Hanning Speke was the first European to visit the area. German explorers arrived in the 1880s, and Roman Catholic clergy established missions in the area. Later in the decade Rwanda (then called Ruanda) and Burundi (then called Urundi) were incorporated into German East Africa. The indigenous rulers maintained good relations with the Germans, and later, with the Belgians, who occupied the country during World War I (1914-1918). After the war the area was mandated to Belgium by the League of Nations and became known as the Territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II (1939-1945) it became a United Nations (UN) trust territory. The Belgians continued previous policies of supporting education by missionaries and of ruling through the Tutsi chiefs. However, they also forced the Tutsi to phase out the ubuhake system by 1958.
As political consciousness increased among Africans after World War II, the Hutu grew more vocal in protesting the political and social inequalities in Rwanda. In 1959 the antagonism between Tutsi and Hutu erupted into violence; the next year the Tutsi king fled the country, and an exodus of some 200,000 Tutsi followed. A republic was established in January 1961. In elections held the following September, the Hutu-dominated Parmehutu Party won a large majority of the seats in the National Assembly, and a 4-1 majority voted against the return of the king.
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