The Republic of Rwanda is a unitary republic of Central and Eastern Africa. It borders Uganda to the north; Tanzania to the east; Burundi to the south; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Rwanda is landlocked but is noted for its lakes.
Trips to Rwanda:
The country is close to the equator but has a temperate climate due its high elevation, with the highest point being Mount Karisimbi. The terrain consists of mountains and gently rolling hills, with plains and swamps in the east. Abundant wildlife, including rare mountain gorillas, has led to a fast-growing tourism sector. Unlike many African countries, Rwanda is home to only one significant ethnic and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda. English and French are the official languages.
The Kingdom of Rwanda, initially a loose confederation, grew in importance from the 15th century to become the dominant civilization in the region, occupying an area beyond the present borders. The territory was assigned to Germany by the 1884 Berlin Conference, as part of Ruanda-Urundi, with the first Western explorers reaching the country in 1894. After World War I, the territory was allocated to Belgium as a League of Nations mandate. The German and Belgium regimes heavily favored the country’s Tutsis over the majority Hutus that led to tension between the two groups. Belgium switched allegiance to the Hutus following a revolution in 1959 and the country became independent in 1962. The Tutsi-led RPF invaded in 1990, sparking a three-year Civil War. In 1994, the president was assassinated, sparking the Rwandan Genocide. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days, in well-planned attacks ordered by the interim government. The RPF quickly restarted their offensive, and eventually took control of the country. A period of reconciliation and justice began with the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the reintroduction of a traditional village court system. Since the Genocide, Rwanda has enjoyed political stability and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, tourism, and mining industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Rwandans live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Rwanda is relatively corruption free and is an ideal model for other East African nations.