The Tutsi are a people who live in Rwanda,🇷🇼 Burundi ,🇧🇮 and the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo .🇨🇩 They have much in common with the other groups of this region, the Twa and the Hutu. Their cultures are similar, and they all speak the same language.
In the past, the Tutsi were cattle herders. They were a minority of the population. However, most of the upper-class rulers were Tutsi. A system of cattle trading helped keep peace among the different groups. The wealthier people (often Tutsi) lent cattle to the poorer ones (often Hutu). In return they gained their labor, loyalty, and political support.
Social relations in Rwanda and Burundi were changed by European rule. The Germans held power from the 1890s until World War I (1914–18). Then the Belgians ruled until 1962. For most of this period, the Europeans treated the Tutsi better than the Hutu. In the 1950s, however, the Belgians urged the Hutu to challenge Tutsi power. In 1959 Hutu leaders overthrew the Tutsi monarchy in Rwanda. Many Tutsi fled to nearby countries. In Burundi, the change to independence was more peaceful. The mwami (the Tutsi king) helped the Tutsi and Hutu sides reach an agreement. However, the peace did not last. The Hutu tried to gain power by force, and they were defeated.
When the colonial period ended, opposite sides controlled Rwanda and Burundi. The Hutu held power in Rwanda until 1994. The Tutsi still rule Burundi. Hutu power in Rwanda ended in 1994 when Tutsi rebels overthrew the government. However, this Tutsi victory occurred at a great cost in human lives. As many as one million people were killed.
Rwanda and Burundi are mountainous countries in east-central Africa. Their combined total area is about 20,900 square miles (54,100 square kilometers). This is about the combined size of the states of Maryland and New Jersey.
Tutsi woman in the photo