Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small country in the great lakes region of eastern Africa with Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the south and east and the Dem. Rep. of the Congo and Tanganyika to the west.
In ancient times, about 70,000 BC, pygmoid hunter known as Twa first, now 1% in population, settled in this region. Later on 5,000 yrs, ago , the Hutu (approximately 85%) , a bantu speaking people, came to the region from the mountainous area for cultivation. Following the Hutu the Tutsi (about 14%) tribe gradually settled in the region in the fifteenth century. They introduced agricultural techniques and a feudal system . Burundi's kingdom expanded at the begining of seventeenth century. King Mwezi IV reigned from 1852 to 1908.
Although the European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 they could get the adminstrative charges of Burundi. During this time the King was associated with the Germans to fight against his opponents . The kingdom of Burundi became a Colony of German East Africa since 1899. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. After world War I Belgian won a League of Nations mandate in 1923 and subsequentlyBurundi with Rwanda was transferred to the status of Belgians territory. From that time Belgians administered the area . After world war II Rwanda and Burundi, known as Ruanda and Urundi, became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian.The Belgian authority approved two emerging political parties, i) The Union for National Progress, a multi ethnic Party led by Tutsi Prince LouisRwagasore and ii) a christian Democratic party, supported by Belgium.
After the formation of poltical parties people became eager about their Independence. But instability among the different ethnic groups, Hutui and Tutsi, started. In 1959, a dispute over land possession sparked a revolt between Hutu andTutsi.
The scholars pointed out that Hutu and Tutsi spoke the same language, had a history of intermarriage and shared many cultural characteristics. Traditionally , the differences between the two groups were occupationalrather than ethnic. Agricultural people were considered Hutu while the cattle owning elite were were identified as Tutsi. In theory, Tutsi were tall and thin where asHutu wereshort and square, but in fact it was often impossible to tell one from the other. The 1933 requirement by the Belgians that everyone would carry an identity card indicating tribal ethnicity as Tulsi or Hutu increased the distiction between the two tribes.Moreover the landowning Tutsi aristocracy had dominated Burundi.