Timeline of Rwandan history

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This timeline of Rwandan history is a chronological list of major events related to the human inhabitants of Rwanda.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
17th century Tutsi king Ruganzu Ndori comes to prominence.

19th century[edit]

Explorer John Hanning Speke, the first European to visit the area
Year Date Event
1858 The area is visited by British explorer John Hanning Speke, the first European to do so.
1884 28 March The Society for German Colonization is formed by Karl Peters in order to acquire German colonial territories in overseas countries. Peters signs treaties with several native chieftains on the mainland opposite Zanzibar.
August Rwanda becomes a German protectorate.[1]
1885 2 April The German East Africa Company is formed by Karl Peters to govern German East Africa.
1890 Rwanda is incorporated into German East Africa.

20th century[edit]

Third president Juvénal Habyarimana
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame
Year Date Event
1901 23 February A boundary is agreed between German East Africa and Nyasaland.
1916 Rwanda is occupied by Belgian forces.
1922 20 July Ruanda-Urundi are joined as a League of Nations mandate, governed by Belgium.[1]
1933 All citizens in Ruanda-Urundi are issued with an identity card defining their ethnicity.
1943 Famine affects the region.
1945 Ruanda-Urundi becomes a United Nations Trust Territory.
1957 The Hutu Manifesto is published.
1959 24 July Mwami Mutara III dies.[2]
3 September The Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR) party is formed.[2]
1 November Politician Dominique Mbonyumutwa is beaten by members of UNAR, leading to a violent backlash that kills thousands of Tutsis.[3]
1960 An election is held.
1961 Rwandans vote to abolish the Tutsi monarchy.
28 January Dominique Mbonyumutwa becomes provisional President of Rwanda.
1962 1 July Belgium grants Rwanda independence.[1]
26 October Grégoire Kayibanda becomes the first elected President of Rwanda.
1963 Following a Tutsi guerilla attack from Burundi, an anti-Tutsi backlash kills thousands.
1973 5 July Grégoire Kayibanda is overthrown in a military coup d'état.[4] Juvénal Habyarimana becomes the third President of Rwanda.
1985 26 December American naturalist Dian Fossey is murdered in her Rwandan cabin.[5]
1990 1 October The Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) makes an attack from Uganda, starting the Rwandan Civil War.[6]
1993 4 August The Arusha Accords are signed between President Habyarimana and leaders of the RPF in Arusha, Tanzania, ending the Rwandan Civil War.[7]
1994 6 April President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira are assassinated as their aircraft is shot down approaching Kigali. This incident sparks the Rwandan Genocide.[1]
8 April Théodore Sindikubwabo becomes interim President of Rwanda.
3 July The RPF takes control of Kigali.[1]
19 July The RPF forms a provisional government[1] and Pasteur Bizimungu becomes President of Rwanda.
21 August The RPF controls the whole of Rwanda.[1]
8 November The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is established.[8]
2000 24 March Paul Kagame is selected as interim President of Rwanda.[9]
22 April Paul Kagame is sworn in as the fourth President of Rwanda.[10]

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2007 6 April Former president Pasteur Bizimungu is released from prison after three years of a fifteen-year sentence, pardoned by President Kagame.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Notholt, Stuart (2008). Fields of Fire: An Atlas of Ethnic Conflict. Troubador Publishing. p. 2.24. ISBN 1-906510-47-4. 
  2. ^ a b Osabu-Kle, Daniel Tetteh (2000). Compatible cultural democracy: the key to development in Africa. University of Toronto Press. p. 220. ISBN 1-55111-289-2. 
  3. ^ Cook, Susan E. (2006). Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda: New Perspectives. Transaction Publishers. p. 174. ISBN 1-4128-0515-5. 
  4. ^ Adelman, Howard; Astri Suhrke (2000). The path of a genocide: the Rwanda crisis from Uganda to Zaire. Transaction Publishers. p. 64. ISBN 0-7658-0768-8. 
  5. ^ Mongillo, John F.; Zierdt-Warshaw, Linda (2000). Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. University Rochester Press. p. 160. ISBN 1-57356-147-9. 
  6. ^ Heo, Uk (2007). "Rwanda (1990–1994)". Civil Wars of the World: Major Conflicts Since World War II, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 655. ISBN 1-85109-919-0. 
  7. ^ "Accord Ends 3-Year Civil War in Rwanda", The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 5 August 1993, retrieved 5 April 2010 
  8. ^ Boot, Machteld (2002). Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes. Intersentia nv. p. 226. ISBN 90-5095-216-X. 
  9. ^ Hranjski, Hrvoje (24 March 2000), "Rwanda: Kagame selected as interim president", The Independent, Independent News and Media Limited, retrieved 30 March 2010 
  10. ^ "Rwanda's Kagame sworn in", BBC News, BBC, 22 April 2000, retrieved 20 March 2010 
  11. ^ "Rwanda ex-leader freed from jail", BBC News, BBC, 6 April 2007, retrieved 20 March 2010