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Rwanda’s population has traditionally been composed of Hutu,Tusi and Twa peoples.

however, civil stife at independence and genocidal civil warin 1994 have altered these

percentages. the 1991 offical cenus estimated the country’s population at 7,164,995.

Talking into consideration Rwanda’s growth rate, the population in 1996 should have been between 7.8 and 8 million people, but it is estimated that less than 5.5 to 6 million people were living in Rwanda in late 1995.

Rwanda’s people speak a common language, Kinyarwanda, and share many cultural

traditions. More than half of the population is estimated to be Roman Catholic and another 5 to 10% Protestant Crisitan. Probaly 30% or more hold traditional beliefs. There is a small Muslium minority.

Traditionally, Rwanda has been Africa’s least urban country ,although migration to the

capital, Kigali,and provincial towns such as Ruhengeri,Butare,and Gisenyi incerased thoughout the 1980s and the early1990s. Prior to 1994 it eas also the most densly populated rural county in the world, with more than 2,110 persons per sq./km.

Education is free and officially compulsory for childern between ages 7 to 15, but

Rwanda’s school system was virtually destroyed during the civil war . Most hospitals, including the university of Rwanda, remained closed in 1995. Most hospitals were ethier closed or without adequate supplies or medical personnel.


Hutu agriculturalists migrated into what is now Rwanda during the 7th to 10th centuries

AD, followed by pastoral Tutsi between the 14th nd 16th centuries. A feudal monarchy

developed that remained in existence for centuries before Rwanda was absorbed into German east Africa in 1899. Belgium occupied the area in 1916 and controlled what are now Rwanda and Burundi until Rwanda gained its independence.

Before European occupation, the kingdom of Rwanda was a somewhat flexible hierarchy

with a tutsi king and elitre dominating the majority Hutu farmers and small Tutsi underclass, although social mobility and intermarriage blurred the distintions between the groups. the Twa were at the very bottom of the social order. Both the Germans and the Belgians retained the monarchy administer the colony. This arrangement gave th Tusi access to power and economic resouces and intensified ethnic and class divisions. In the 1940’s, however, many Tusti were driven from Rwanda by the Belgians for advocating independence. The moderate Tusi King Kigari V, who had ruled for nearly three decades, died in 1959, and more ethnocentric Tutsi seized power. This contributed to a series of rebellions by Hutu demanding equal rights in which tens of thousands of Tutsi perished.

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