Surface area: 26.338 km²
Number of inhabitants: 12.21 million (2017)
Language: Rwandan, French
Religion: Catholic, Protestant
Currency: Rwandan Franc
Goverment from: Presidential Republic
Rwanda has a score of 0.498 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers pertaining to life expectancy, education and income per capita. This number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Rwanda is divided into three populations, the Hutus, the Tutsi the Twas. This division of the population has caused much unrest and wars in the past.
History and Politics
The history of Rwanda is mostly about violence and division. It began in the 15th century when the Hutus, a farmers’ tribe, got into conflict with the Tutsi, a tribe of warriors and nomads from East Africa who settled in East Rwanda. Until the 19th century, the Hutus and Tutsi lived harmoniously with one another, but then Rwanda became a German colony in 1903. The Germans made a distinction between the different races and considered the Tutsi superior. This racial discrimination was continued by the Belgians who conquered the country in 1916 and primarily facilitated the Tutsi with lands. When King Kigeri V’s reign began, a violent uprising broke out and evolved into the Hutu Revolution in 1959. Kigeri was dismissed and all the lands came into management of the Hutus. In 1962, Rwanda obtained full independence from Belgium. After that a period of instability in politics, economics and ethnic conflicts broke out. As of 1978, a relatively stable couple of years were ahead under the reign of Hutu President Habyarimana. In the late eighties, an economic crisis broke out and many Tutsis began to resist because they felt taken advantage of. In 1994, the tensions resulted in a bloody conflict. On April 6 of that year, President Habyarimana lost his life after his plane was shot. It was the start of a civil war that would cost nearly a million Tutsi and moderate Hutus their lives. Since 2000, the political situation has been stable, but the 1994 genocide is still engraved in many-a-mind. Currently, Paul Kagame is the president of Rwanda. He represents the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front). Kagame is the successor of Pasteur Bizimungu, who he forced to step down through a coup.
Music and dance play a major role in the culture of Rwanda. Various instruments are used, such as drums, the ikembe and umuduri. The most important traditional dance is the Intore. This dance is a combination of ballet and the dance of heroes and drums. The men dance the heroes dance, the women dance more of a ballet style dance. The two most famous traditional dances are Ikinimba and Amaraba. The Ikinimba tells the story of Rwandan heroes and kings. The Amaraba is a very graceful dance that is usually performed by women.Every last Saturday of the month in Rwanda is Grandaumu. On this day most businesses and shops in Rwanda are closed. The population then has the ability to work on voluntary community projects such as the disposal of waste or assistance in the renovation and construction of buildings. April 7th is Rwanda Genocide Memorial Day. On this day, the country commemorates the victims that lost their lives during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.