The precursor to the modern nations of Burundi and Rwanda was Ruanda-Urundi. This was the territory ruled over by the Germans and then assumed by the Belgians as spoils of war after World War I. These territories would see more than a million genocide deaths in the second half of the 20th century, but to understand the seeds that blossomed at the end of history in Burundi and Rwanda, we have to go back in time a little.
In this podcast episode, we look at the divisions the Belgians built and enhances among the Hutu and Tutsi in these future nations. We look at the Hamitic Hypothesis, an erroneous and racist belief that Europeans held to for centuries that suggested God made the darker races to be enslaved to the lighter races.
We also briefly touch on the several genocides between the Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi and Rwanda that preceded the infamous genocide of 1994. As with most stories from history, there is far more going on in Rwanda and Burundi than most of us have been led to believe. The story of Ruanda-Urundi in this podcast episode hopes to unravel some of those mysteries.
The links below represent some of our sources in this podcast episode and recommended readings for additional learning about Ruwanda-Urundi.
- Belgium’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide
- 1959 Genocide in Rwanda
- Genocides and Mass Murder Since 1900
- Rwanda and Burundi 1973
- Burundi and Rwanda, a Rivalry that Lies at the Heart of the Great Lakes Crisis
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Find the other episodes of our History of Africa podcast series here.