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Republic of Rwanda

Repubulika y'u Rwanda
République du Rwanda
Flag of Rwanda: Blue, yellow and green stripes with a yellow sun in top right corner
Map showing part of Africa, with Rwanda coloured in red
and largest city
Official languages
Ethnic groups
  • Hutu 84%
  • Tutsi 15%
  • Twa 1%
Demonym(s) Rwandan, Rwandese
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Presidential republic
• President
Paul Kagame
Anastase Murekezi
• from Belgium
1 July 1962
• Total
26,338 km2 (10,169 sq mi) (94th)
• Water (%)
• 2012 estimate
11,689,696[1] (73rd)
• 2002 census
• Density
419.8/km2 (1,087.3/sq mi) (29th)

Rwanda is a country in Africa. It is near Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Uganda, and Tanzania. The official language is Kinyarwanda. The country has three ethnic groups (though there is debate about whether or not these groups really are tribes): Bahutu, Batutsi and Batwa. It is now known mostly because it is the place where the most efficient genocide in history happened.[source?]


During the Scramble for Africa, Belgium conquered Rwanda. The Belgians then began to divide Rwandans into groups: Bahutu, and Batutsi. The Belgians picked people that they thought looked more European to be abatutsi. The rest became abahutu. The Belgians told Rwandans that Batutsi were superior to Bahutu. They allowed Batutsi to rule over Bahutu.


There are five provinces in Rwanda. These are Northern Province, Southern Province, Eastern Province, Western Province, and the Municipality of Kigali in the centre.


This is a list of cities in Rwanda


On July 1, 1962, Rwanda became independent and Bahutu were given power. Thus, anti-Tutsi purges occurred frequently. Many abatutsi fled to Uganda, where they formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF, which tried to invade Rwanda in 1990.


On the night of April 6, 1994, dictator Juvénal Habyarimana's plane was shot down, but it is still not clear who did it. Within half an hour, roadblocks manned by the Interahamwe militia were seen all over the capital, Kigali. The Rwandan Genocide had begun. It would last for about 100 days, and it would leave over one million, (1,000,000), Tutsi and moderate Hutu dead. The main weapon used was the machete, or umupanga. Other countries paid little attention to the killing. On July 2, 1994, the RPF captured Kigali. The other countries let the Rwandans sort out their own problems because they didn't care.


Photograph of confluence of the Kagera and the Ruvubu, with the Rwanda-Tanzania border post in foreground, taken from a nearby hilltop
The Kagera and Ruvubu rivers, part of the upper Nile

At 26,338 square kilometres (10,169 sq mi), Rwanda is the world's 149th-largest country. The entire country is at a high altitude. The lowest point is the Rusizi River at 950 metres (3,117 ft) above sea level. Rwanda is in Central/Eastern Africa. It is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south. It is a few degrees south of the equator and is landlocked. The capital, Kigali, is near the centre of Rwanda.

The country's longest river is the Nyabarongo. The Nyabarongo-Kagera eventually drains into Lake Victoria. Rwanda has many lakes, the largest being Lake Kivu. It is one of the twenty deepest lakes in the world. Other sizeable lakes include Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi, Rweru, and Ihema. Ihema is the largest of a string of lakes in the eastern plains of Akagera National Park.

Photograph of a lake with one of the Virunga mountains behind, partially in cloud
Lake and volcano in the Virunga Mountains

There are many mountains in central and western Rwanda. The highest peaks are found in the Virunga volcano chain in the northwest. This includes Mount Karisimbi, Rwanda's highest point, at 4,507 metres (14,787 ft). The centre of the country is mostly rolling hills. The eastern border area has savanna, plains and swamps.

Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate. It has lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries. This is because of its high elevation. Kigali, in the centre of the country, has a typical daily temperature range between 12 °C (54 °F) and 27 °C (81 °F). There is little change through the year. There are two rainy seasons in the year. The first runs from February to June and the second from September to December. These are separated by two dry seasons. The major one is from June to September, during which there is often no rain at all. There is a shorter and less severe one from December to February.


Photograph depicting four Topis on a hillside in Akagera, with another hill and a lake visible in the background
Topis in Akagera National Park

In prehistoric times montane forest occupied covered one third of the land of present-day Rwanda. Naturally occurring vegetation is now mostly in the three National Parks, with terraced agriculture in the rest of the country. Nyungwe, the largest remaining forest, has 200 species of tree as well as orchids and begonias. Vegetation in the Volcanoes National Park is mostly bamboo and moorland, with small areas of forest. Akagera has a savanna ecosystem. Here there are mostly acacia. There are several rare or endangered plant species in Akagera, including Markhamia lutea and Eulophia guineensis.

The greatest diversity of large mammals is found in the three National Parks. Akagera has typical savanna animals such as giraffes and elephants, while Volcanoes is home to about one third of the worldwide mountain gorilla population. Nyungwe Forest has thirteen primate species including chimpanzees and Ruwenzori colobus arboreal monkeys. The Ruwenzori colobus move in groups of up to 400, the largest troop size of any primate in Africa.

There are 670 bird species in Rwanda. There is a difference between the east and the west. Nyungwe Forest, in the west, has 280 recorded species. Species include the Ruwenzori Turaco and Handsome Francolin. Eastern Rwanda, by contrast, has savanna birds such as the Black-headed Gonolek and those who live near swamps and lakes, including storks and cranes.

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