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Monarchy and Colonialism
Before becoming a German colony, nine kingdoms existed in present-day Rwanda. The Kingdom of Rwanda was the most powerful in the area and reached its greatest extent under the reign of Kigeli Rwabugiri. However, a rift was created between Hutu and Tutsi populations, which still is in effect to this day. In 1884, the Berlin Conference assigned the territory to Germany as a part of German East Africa. The Germans did not change the social structure much, with the local hierarchy still having decent power over the territory. During World War I, Belgian forces took control over Rwanda and neighbor Burundi, starting up a period of more direct rule. The Belgians reformed the colony much, beginning large-scale projects in education, health, public work, and more. The Belgians, like the Germans, classed the Tutsi people as racially superior. They also stopped wealthy Hutu from turning to Tutsi, creating more division between the races. After World War II, Rwanda became a UN Trust Territory with a mandate for independence. In 1961, the Belgians held a referendum in which the majority voted to abolish the monarchy.
After initial independence, Rwanda faced tough times. The Hutus and Tutsis, divided mostly due to foreign colonization, began regularly attacking each other. Cycles of violence were always in effect; with exiled Tutsis going back to the nation and attacking Hutus and later their retaliation with a large-scale slaughtering of the Tutsis. In 1973, a coup d'état occurred with Juvénal Habyarimana taking power in the nation. In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi rebel group, invaded northern Rwanda; initiating their civil war. The war ended with ceasefire via the Arusha Accords in 1993, though the war started up again shortly afterwards when Habyarimana's plane was shot down near the Kigali Airport, killing him. The Rwandan Genocide began a few hours later.
The First Congo War began in 1996 due to concern that Hutu militias which were carrying out border raids in Zaire were planning on invading Rwanda. With support from Uganda and Angola, Tutsi fighters were sent down the Congo River, encountering only light resistance from ill-trained forces of Mobutu's falling nation. The bulk o the Tutsi fighters were veterans from numerous other conflicts in the region. Their leader, Laurent-Désiré Kabila was also a Marxist and an admirer of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong. His army began a slow movement westward into Zaire in early 1996, solidifying control of border towns and mines in the area. Kabila's army was claimed to have killed as many as 60,000 civilians. Kabila's campaigns were very successful, and shortly afterwards he conquered Zaire, becoming president of the nation and renaming it the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Second Congo War
Rwanda also had a major role in the Second Congo War. Most African nations at the time despised the DRC. In 1998, tensions reached a new level when president Kabila dismissed a Rwandan chief of staff and instead replaced him with a native Congolese. The move made tensions between the DRC and Rwanda even more tense, but Kabila softened the blow by making the chief of staff a military advisor. Rebel forces spilled into the nation, though, starting the war. Kabila's government was threatened within a matter of weeks of the start of the war, however numerous other African states quickly intervened for the DRC The Rwandan government claimed a substantial part of the eastern Congo was "historically Rwandan". They also claimed Kabila was organizing a genocide against their Kivu brethren; shortly afterwards Rwandan troops and Kivu rebels launched an offensive in the eastern DRC. The PRT also set their eyes on the DRC as well, planning on making it into a province of theirs. They also requested an alliance with Rwanda and the Kivu militants, hoping to gain control over the whole of the DRC. The nation, which had already been seen as a massive threat due to them always having a supreme edge over the rest of Africa in terms of economy and military. In early 1999, Congolese troops set foot in the western DRC. The war in the DRC ended in late 1999, with the PRT annexing the whole of the nation except for Kivu and Ituri.
Modern-day Rwanda is one of the stereotypical African nations; poor people and much political unrest. Tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis still remain high, and political infighting is very common. Rwanda has become much more powerful and economically stable with Congolese support, however the nation still hasn't gone entirely out of instability. The nation has a rapidly growing economy with support from other African powers, though.
The government is more democratic than most other African nations, with fair elections being normal. However, the nation is only a semi-presidential republic; corruption still remains high in Rwanda. Tutsis and Hutus even disagree with the politics, with some political parties existing specifically because of their want to give their specific ethnicity more rights than the others. Overall, times have been very tough.