Ruanda-Urundi

Last updated
Ruanda-Urundi

1922–1962
Coat of arms of Ruanda-Urundi.svg
Coat of arms
LocationRuandaUrundi.png
Ruanda-Urundi (dark green) depicted within the Belgian colonial empire (light green), c.1935.
Status Mandate of  Belgium
Capital Usumbura
Common languages French (official)
Also: Kinyarwanda, Kirundi and Swahili
Religion
Catholicism
Also: Protestantism, Islam and others
History 
 Belgian invasion
April 1916
 Mandate created
20 July 1922
 Administrative merger with Belgian Congo
1 March 1926
 Mandate becomes Trust Territory
13 December 1946
 Rwanda gains autonomy
18 October 1960
 Burundi gains autonomy
21 December 1961
 Independence
1 July 1962
Currency Belgian Congo franc (1916–60)
Ruanda-Urundi franc (1960–62)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Reichskolonialflagge.svg German East Africa
Kingdom of Burundi Flag of Burundi (1962-1966).svg
Republic of Rwanda Flag of Rwanda (1962-2001).svg
Today part ofFlag of Burundi.svg  Burundi
Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda

Ruanda-Urundi [lower-alpha 1] (French pronunciation:  [ʁɥɑ̃da.yʁœ̃di] ) was a territory in the African Great Lakes region, once part of German East Africa, which was ruled by Belgium between 1922 and 1962. Occupied by the Belgians during the East African Campaign during World War I, the territory was under Belgian military occupation from 1916 to 1922 and later became a Belgian-controlled Class B Mandate under the League of Nations from 1922 to 1945. After the disestablishment of the League and World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a Trust Territory of the United Nations, still under Belgian control. In 1962, the mandate became independent as the two separate countries of Rwanda and Burundi.

African Great Lakes series of lakes in the Rift Valley

The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the third-largest fresh water lake in the world by area, Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth, and Lake Malawi, the world's eight-largest fresh water lake by area. Collectively, they contain 31,000 km3 of water, which is more than either Lake Baikal or the North American Great Lakes. This total constitutes about 25% of the planet's unfrozen surface fresh water.

German East Africa former German colony in the African Great Lakes region

German East Africa (GEA) was a German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, and the mainland part of Tanzania. GEA's area was 994,996 square kilometres (384,170 sq mi), which was nearly three times the area of present-day Germany, and double the area of metropolitan Germany then.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Contents

History

The Kingdoms of Ruanda and Burundi were two independent kingdoms in the Great Lakes region before the Scramble for Africa. In 1894, they were annexed by the German Empire and eventually became two districts of German East Africa. The two monarchies were retained as part of the German policy of indirect rule, with the Ruandan king (mwami) Yuhi V Musinga using German support to consolidate his control over subordinate chiefs in exchange for labour and resources. [1]

Kingdom of Rwanda former kingdom in East Africa from the 15th century and up to 1962

The Kingdom of Rwanda was a pre-colonial kingdom in East Africa beginning in c. 1081, which survived with some of its autonomy intact under German and Belgian colonial rule until its monarchy was abolished in the Rwandan Revolution. After a 1961 referendum, Rwanda became a republic and received its independence in 1962.

Kingdom of Burundi former kingdom in Central/Eastern Africa up to 1966

The Kingdom of Burundi or Kingdom of Urundi was a polity ruled by a traditional monarch in modern-day Republic of Burundi in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. The kingdom, majority ethnic Hutu, was ruled by a monarch from the Tutsi ethnic group with the title of mwami. Created in the 17th century, the kingdom was preserved under European colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th century and was an independent state between 1962 and 1966.

Scramble for Africa invasion and occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers

The Scramble for Africa was the occupation, division, and colonisation of African territory by European powers during the period of the New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa or the Conquest of Africa by some. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under formal European control; by 1914 it had increased to almost 90 percent of the continent, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia remaining independent. With the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936, only Liberia remained independent. There were multiple motivations for European colonizers, including the quest for national prestige, tensions between pairs of European powers, religious missionary zeal and internal African native politics.

Belgian military occupation, 1916–22

A Belgian Congo stamp overprinted for the Belgian Occupied East African Territories in 1916 Eastafrikaoccupation1916.jpg
A Belgian Congo stamp overprinted for the Belgian Occupied East African Territories in 1916

World War I broke out in 1914. German colonies were originally meant to preserve their neutrality as mandated in the Berlin Convention, but fighting soon broke out on the frontier between German East Africa and the Belgian Congo around Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika. [1] As part of the Allied East African Campaign, Ruanda and Urundi were invaded by a Belgian force in 1916. [1] The German forces in the region were small and hugely outnumbered. Ruanda was occupied over April–May and Urundi in June 1916. By September, a large portion of German East Africa was under Belgian occupation reaching as far south as Kigoma and Karema in modern-day Tanzania and as far eastwards as Tabora. [1] In Ruanda and Urundi, the Belgians were welcomed by many Africans who were opposed to the autocratic behaviour of the kings. [1] The territory captured was administered by a Belgian military occupation authority ("Belgian Occupied East African Territories") pending an ultimate decision about its political future. An administration, headed by a Royal Commissioner, was established in February 1917 at the same time as Belgian forces were ordered to withdraw from the Tabora region by the British.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Berlin Conference international conference that regulated European colonisation and trade in Africa

The Berlin Conference of 1884–85, also known as the Congo Conference or West Africa Conference, regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power. The conference was organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany; its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa, although some scholars of history warn against an overemphasis of its role in the colonial partitioning of Africa, drawing attention to bilateral agreements concluded before and after the conference. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, which eliminated or overrode most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.

Belgian Congo former Belgian colony corresponding to modern Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Belgian Congo was a Belgian colony in Central Africa from 1908 until independence in 1960. The former colony adopted its present-day name, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in 1964.

League of Nations mandate, 1922–46

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Wisdom at Butare (formally Astrida) in Ruanda. Catholicism expanded rapidly under the Belgian mandate. The christian church in Huye.jpg
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Wisdom at Butare (formally Astrida) in Ruanda. Catholicism expanded rapidly under the Belgian mandate.

The Treaty of Versailles divided the German colonial empire among the Allied nations. German East Africa was also partitioned, with Tanganyika allocated to the British and a small area allocated to Portugal. Belgium was allocated Ruanda-Urundi which represented only a fraction of the territories occupied by the Belgian forces in East Africa, even though it had originally been hoped that Belgian claims in the region could be traded for Portuguese territory in Angola to expand the Congo's access to the sea. The League of Nations officially awarded Ruanda-Urundi to Belgium as a B-Class Mandate on 20 July 1922. The mandatory regime was also controversial in Belgium and it was not approved by Belgium's parliament until 1924. [2] Unlike colonies which belonged to its colonial power, a mandate was theoretically subject to international oversight through the League's Permanent Mandates Commission (PMC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

German colonial empire

The German colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, dependencies and territories of Imperial Germany. The chancellor of this time period was Otto von Bismarck. Short-lived attempts of colonization by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but crucial colonial efforts only began in 1884 with the Scramble for Africa. Claiming much of the left-over colonies that were yet unclaimed in the Scramble of Africa, Germany managed to build the third largest colonial empire after the British and the French, at the time. Germany lost control when World War I began in 1914 and its colonies were seized by its enemies in the first weeks of the war. However some military units held out for a while longer: German South West Africa surrendered in 1915, Kamerun in 1916 and German East Africa only in 1918 at the end of the war. Germany's colonial empire was officially confiscated with the Treaty of Versailles after Germany's defeat in the war and the various units became League of Nations mandates under the supervision of one of the victorious powers.

Kionga Triangle

The Kionga Triangle was a small area of land on the south-east coast of Africa. It lay between the colonies of German East Africa, the major part of present-day Tanzania, and Portuguese Mozambique, the present-day country of Mozambique. The area covered just 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi), and the settlement of Kionga — now spelled Quionga — had a population of 4,000 people in 1910. The triangle was a German possession from 1894 to 1916, after which it became a possession of Portugal.

After a period of inertia, the Belgian administration became actively involved in Ruanda-Urundi between 1926 and 1931 under the governorship of Charles Voisin. The reforms produced a dense road-network and improved agriculture, with the emergence of cash crop farming in cotton and coffee. [3] However, four major famines did ravage parts of the mandate after crop failures in 1916–1918, 1924–26, 1928–30 and 1943–44. The Belgians were far more involved in the territory than the Germans, especially in Ruanda. Despite the mandate rules that the Belgians had to develop the territories and prepare them for independence, the economic policy practised in the Belgian Congo was exported eastwards: the Belgians demanded that the territories earn profits for the motherland and that any development must come out of funds gathered in the territory. These funds mostly came from the extensive cultivation of coffee in the region's rich volcanic soils.[ citation needed ]

Cash crop an agricultural crop which is grown to sell for profit

A cash crop or profit crop is an agricultural crop which is grown to sell for profit. It is typically purchased by parties separate from a farm. The term is used to differentiate marketed crops from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family. In earlier times cash crops were usually only a small part of a farm's total yield, while today, especially in developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for revenue. In the least developed countries, cash crops are usually crops which attract demand in more developed nations, and hence have some export value.

Cotton plant fiber from the genus Gossypium

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.

Coffee Brewed beverage

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and then brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee.

Ruandan migrant workers at the Kisanga mine in Katanga (Belgian Congo) Kisanga-mijn Ruandese arbeiders einde-jaren 1920.JPG
Ruandan migrant workers at the Kisanga mine in Katanga (Belgian Congo)

To implement their vision, the Belgians used the existing indigenous power structure. This consisted of a largely Tutsi ruling class controlling a mostly Hutu population, through the system of chiefs and sub-chiefs under the overall rule of the two Mwami. The Belgian administrators believed that the Tutsi were superior and deserved power. While before colonization the Hutu had played some role in governance, the Belgians simplified matters by further stratifying the society on ethnic lines. Hutu anger at the Tutsi domination was largely focused on the Tutsi elite rather than the distant colonial power. [4] Musinga was deposed by the administration as mwami of Ruanda in November 1931 after being accused on disloyalty. [5] He was replaced by his son Mutara III Rudahigwa.

Tutsi ethnic group inhabiting the African Great Lakes region

The Tutsi, or Abatutsi, are a social class or ethnic group of the African Great Lakes region. Historically, they were often referred to as the Watutsi, Watusi, Wahuma, Wahima or the Wahinda. The Tutsi form a subgroup of the Banyarwanda and the Barundi peoples, who reside primarily in Rwanda and Burundi, but with significant populations also found in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. They speak Rwanda-Rundi, a group of Bantu languages.

The Hutu, also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu ethnic or social group native to the African Great Lakes region of Africa, primarily area now under Burundi and Rwanda. They mainly live in Rwanda, Burundi, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they form one of the principal population divisions alongside the Tutsi and the Twa.

Mutara III Rudahigwa was King (mwami) of Rwanda between 1931 and 1959. He was the first Rwandan king to be baptised, and Roman Catholicism took hold in Rwanda during his reign. His Christian names were Charles Léon Pierre, and he is sometimes referred to as Charles Mutara III Rudahigwa.

Although promising the League it would promote education, Belgium left the task to subsidised Catholic missions and mostly unsubsidised Protestant missions. Catholicism expanded rapidly through the African population in consequence. As late as 1961, shortly before independence arrived, fewer than 100 Africans had been educated beyond secondary level. The policy was one of low-cost paternalism, as explained by Belgium's special representative to the Trusteeship Council: "The real work is to change the African in his essence, to transform his soul, [and] to do that one must love him and enjoy having daily contact with him. He must be cured of his thoughtlessness, he must accustom himself to living in society, he must overcome his inertia." [6]

United Nations trust territory, 1946–62

The League of Nations was formally dissolved in April 1946, following its failure to prevent the Second World War. It was succeeded, for practical purposes, by the new United Nations (UN). In December 1946, the new body voted to end the mandate over Ruanda-Urundi and replace it with the new status of "Trust Territory". To provide oversight, the PMC was replaced by the United Nations Trusteeship Council. The transition was accompanied by a promise that the Belgians would prepare the territory for independence, but the Belgians felt the area would take many decades to be ready for self-rule and wanted the process to take enough time before happening.

Independence came largely as a result of actions elsewhere. African anti-colonial nationalism emerged in the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s and the Belgians became convinced they could no longer control the territory. Unrest also broke out in Ruanda where the monarchy was deposed in the Rwandan Revolution (1959–1961). The Belgian Congo was granted independence in 1960, beginning a period of instability in the region known as the Congo Crisis. After two more years of hurried preparations, Ruanda-Urundi became independent on 1 July 1962, broken up along traditional lines as the independent Republic of Rwanda and Kingdom of Burundi. It took two more years before the government of the two became wholly separate.

Colonial governors

A 1928 photograph from northern Urundi Ruana-Urundi. Landscape with a group of native people from the northern part of Urundi, 1928. (9422840698).jpg
A 1928 photograph from northern Urundi

Ruanda-Urundi was initially administered by a Royal Commissioner (commissaire royal) until the administrative union with the Belgian Congo in 1926. After this, the mandate was administered by a Governor (gouverneur) located at Usumbura (modern-day Bujumbura) who also held the title of Vice-Governor-General (Vice-gouverneur général) of the Belgian Congo. Beneath the governor, two residents (résidents) were responsible for the administration of Ruanda and Urundi.

Royal Commissioners (1916–26)
Governors (1926–62)

For a list of residents, see: List of colonial residents of Rwanda and List of colonial residents of Burundi.

Kings (abami) of Ruanda
Kings (abami) of Urundi


See also

Related Research Articles

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Central Bank of the Congo

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Postage stamps and postal history of Rwanda

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Léon-Paul Classe Catholic bishop

Léon-Paul Classe was a Catholic priest who was Vicar Apostolic of the Apostolic Vicariate of Ruanda, in what is now Rwanda, from 1922 until his death in 1945. During his time as a missionary priest and then bishop a great many Rwandans were converted to Christianity. Classe was influential in persuading the Belgian colonial administration to favor the Tutsis as a ruling caste in the country over the Hutu majority.

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Postage stamps and postal history of Ruanda-Urundi

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1965 Burundian coup détat attempt

On 18–19 October 1965, a group of ethnic Hutu officers from the Burundian military attempted to overthrow Burundi's government in a coup d'état. The rebels were angry about the apparent favouring of ethnic Tutsi minority by Burundi's monarchy after a period of escalating ethnic tension following national independence from Belgium in 1962. Although the Prime Minister was shot and wounded, the coup failed and soon provoked a backlash against Hutu in which thousands of people, including the participants in the coup, were killed. The coup also facilitated a militant Tutsi backlash against the moderate Tutsi monarchy resulting in two further coups which culminated in the abolition of Burundi's historic monarchy in November 1966 and the rise of Michel Micombero as dictator.

References

  1. The name is sometimes seen rendered into Dutch phonetically as Roeanda-Oeroendi.

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 1914–1918 Online Encyclopedia 2016.
  2. William Roger Louis, Ruanda-Urundi 1884-1919 (Oxford U.P., 1963).
  3. Pedersen 2015, p. 256.
  4. Peter Langford, "The Rwandan Path to Genocide: The Genesis of the Capacity of the Rwandan Post-colonial State to Organise and Unleash a project of Extermination". Civil Wars Vol. 7 n.3
  5. Pedersen 2015, p. 253–5.
  6. Mary T. Duarte, "Education in Ruanda-Urundi, 1946-61, " Historian (1995) 57#2 pp 275-84

Further reading

Coordinates: 2°42′S29°54′E / 2.7°S 29.9°E / -2.7; 29.9