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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pierre Nkurunziza
Total population
11.5 million
Regions with significant populations
Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (mainly refugees)

Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, French


Predominantly Catholicism
Sunni Islam, indigenous beliefs.

Related ethnic groups

Tutsi, Twa

The Hutu (IPA: Hūtū) are a Central African ethnic group, living mainly in Rwanda and Burundi.


Population statistics

Despite the 1972 Burundi Genocide where an estimated 100,000 Hutus were killed, the Hutu remain the largest of the three ethnic groups in Burundi and Rwanda; according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency, 84% of Rwandans[1] and 85% of Burundians[2] are Hutu, although other sources have found statistics that differ by several percent.[3] The division between the Hutu and the Tutsi (the larger of the other two groups) is based more upon social class than ethnicity, as there are no significant lingual, physical, or cultural differences between them. (The Twa pygmies, the smallest of Rwanda and Burundi's three groups, also share language and culture with the Hutu and Tutsi, but are much shorter and have agreed-upon genetic differences.)[4][5]

Competing theories about origins

The Hutu arrived in Africa's Great Lakes region from what is now Chad during the 11th century, displacing the Twa pygmies,[6] and dominated the area with a series of small kingdoms until the arrival of the Tutsi. Several theories exist to explain the Tutsi and their differences (if any) from the Hutu. One is that the Tutsi were a Hamitic language people who migrated south from what is now Ethiopia, conquering the Hutu kingdoms and establishing dominance over the Hutu and Twa between the 15th and 18th centuries.[6] However, an alternate theory, that the Hutu and Tutsi were originally one people, but were artificially divided by German and then Belgian colonists so the Tutsi minority could serve as local overseers for Berlin and Brussels, has received support among those supporting Rwandan national unity, but may be an attempt at historical revisionism.[7][8] Still others suggest that the two groups are related but not identical, and that the differences between the two were exacerbated by Europeans[9] or by a gradual, natural split as those who owned cattle became known as Tutsi and those who did not became Hutu.[5] Mahmood Mamdani states that the Belgian colonial power designated people as Tutsi or Hutu on the basis of cattle ownership, physical measurements and church records.[10]

Post-colonial history of the Hutu and Tutsi

Hutu militants
Rwandan Genocide (1994)
Rwandan Armed Forces
Refugee crisis
RDR (1995–1996)
1st and 2nd Congo War
ALiR (1996–2001)
FDLR (2000–present)

The Belgian-sponsored Tutsi monarchy survived until 1959, when Kigeli V was exiled from the colony (then called Ruanda-Urundi). In Burundi, Tutsis, who are the minority, maintained control of the government and military. In Rwanda, the political power was transferred from the minority Tutsi to the majority Hutu.[11]

In Burundi, a campaign of genocide was conducted against Hutu population in 1972,[12][13][14][15][16] and an estimated 100,000 Hutus died.[17][17] In 1993, Burundi's first democratically elected president and also a Hutu, Melchior Ndadaye, was assassinated by Tutsi officers, as was the person constitutionally entitled to succeed him.[18] This sparked a period of civil strife between Hutu political structures and the Tutsi military, in which an estimated 500,000 Burundians have died.[citation needed] There were indiscriminate mass killings first of Tutsis, then of Hutus; of these, the former have been described as genocide by the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi.[19]

While Tutsi remained in control of Burundi, the conflict resulted in genocide in Rwanda as well.[20] A Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, started a civil war against Rwanda's Hutu government in 1990. A peace agreement was signed, but violence erupted again, culminating in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, when Hutu extremists killed[21] an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis.[22] About 30% of the Twa population of Rwanda also died in the fighting.[23] At the same time, the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of the country and is still the ruling party as of 2008. Burundi is also currently governed by a former rebel group, the Hutu CNDD-FDD.

As of 2006, violence between the Hutu and Tutsi has subsided, but the situation in both Rwanda and Burundi is still tense, and tens of thousands of Rwandans are still living outside the country (see Great Lakes refugee crisis).[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b CIA World Factbook writers. "Rwanda: People". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  2. ^ CIA World Factbook writers. "Burundi: People". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  3. ^ "Kinyarwanda". Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica writers. "Twa". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  5. ^ a b "The Meaning of “Hutu,” “Tutsi,” and “Twa”". Human Rights Watch. 1999. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  6. ^ a b "Burundi". Lonely Planet Publications. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  7. ^ Joseph Mutaboba. "I am Rwandese (at bottom of page)". New Internationalist. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  8. ^ Saumitra Sen (2006-10-30). "Invasion Theories". Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  9. ^ Vernellia R., Randall (2006-02-16). "Sexual Violence and Genocide Against Tutsi Women". University of Dayton. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  10. ^ Mahmood Mamdani (2001) When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
  11. ^ Adekunle, Julius. 2007. Culture and Customs of Rwanda. P.17
  12. ^ Michael Bowen, Passing by;: The United States and genocide in Burundi, 1972, (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1973), 49 pp
  13. ^ René Lemarchand, Selective genocide in Burundi (Report - Minority Rights Group; no. 20, 1974), 36 pp.
  14. ^ Rene Lemarchand, Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide (New York: Woodrow Wilson Center and Cambridge University Press, 1996), 232 pp.
    • Edward L. Nyankanzi, Genocide: Rwanda and Burundi (Schenkman Books, 1998), 198 pp.
  15. ^ Christian P. Scherrer, Genocide and crisis in Central Africa: conflict roots, mass violence, and regional war; foreword by Robert Melson. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.
  16. ^ Weissman, Stephen R. "Preventing Genocide in Burundi Lessons from International Diplomacy", United States Institute of Peace
  17. ^ a b Rwanda 1994: Genocide + Politicide, Christian Davenport and Allan Stam
  18. ^ International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi: Final Report. Part III: Investigation of the Assassination. Conclusions [1]
  19. ^ International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi (2002)
  20. ^ "The Hutu Revolution". Human Rights Watch. 1999. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  21. ^ "Timeline of the genocide". PBS. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  22. ^ "How the genocide happened". BBC. 2004-04-01. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  23. ^ "Minorities Under Siege: Pygmies today in Africa". UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also hutu


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. An ethnic group in Rwanda and Burundi.
  2. A member of the group.

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