Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rwanda, Belgian Colony (AD 1914-1962)

Belgian Colony (1914-1962):

The Belgium colonial empire consisted of three colonies possessed by Belgium between 1901-1962. This empire was unlike those of the major European imperial powers since roughly 98 % of it was just one colony (about 76 times larger than Belgium)-the belgian congo was a private property of the then King Leopold II of Belgium. There was a tendency within Belgium to refer to its overseas possessions as the colony rather than its empire- unlike Britain, France, Germany or Austria . Belgium never had a monarch styled "Emperor." The three colonies are i) DRC, ii) Rwanda, and iii) Burundi. Before that after signing treaties with chiefs in the Tanganyika region in 1884-85, Germany claimed Tanganyika, Rwanda and Burundi as its own territory.
Count Von Gotzen, a Germany met the Tutsi Mwami (king) for the first time in 1894. However, with only 2500 soldiers in East Africa, Germany did little to change its spocietal structures in much of the region , especially in Rwanda. After the death of Mwami in 1895, a period of unrest followed.Germans and missionariesthen began to enter the countryfrom Tanganyika in 1897-98.
In the nineteenth century , the small states, formed by the XHutus and the Tutsis, became more centralised, and the history far more precise.Expasion continued ,reaching the shores of lake Kivu.The expansions were less with military aid than the migrating population spreading Rwandan agricultural techniques , social organisations, and the extension of a Mwami's political control. Under the monarchy the ecnomic imbalance between the Hutus and the Tutsis crystallised,a complex political imbalance emergedas the Tutsis formed into a hierarchy dominated by a Mwami or King. Dring Mwami's rule Tutsis went ahead of Hutus in all respects includingnmilitary and service sectors. This was utised by the Belgian authorities during their rule in Rwanda.

The Belgian attitude was , as in other countries having overseas colony, to rule the country by "divide and policy rule. " Moreover, they favoured one ethnic group against the other just to up their dominance over the country. It was seen that in earlier times the racial based "massacres"had never been occurred between Hutu and Tutsi. The predictable occasion