Burundi -- History
5th TO 11th CENTURIES AD: Bahutu agriculturalists migrate into the region and dominate the indigenous tribal groups, including the Batwa.
14th TO 18th CENTURIES AD: Tutsi cattle-herders arrive. Among the first are the Banyaruguru from the North; later, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Bahima group comes from the East.
1858 Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke explore the Ruzizi river.
1885 King Leopold of Belgium establishes a claim to the Congo region; Rwanda and Burundi become part of German East Africa.
1892 Oscar Baumann explores northern and central Burundi.
1898-1903 German troops attack Mwezi Gisabo and force him to sign the Treaty of Kiganda on May 24, 1903, recognizing German authority.
1907 The first Protestant missions are founded.
1910 Borders between German East Africa, the Belgian Congo and British East Africa are established.
1919 Belgium is granted mandate over Ruanda-Urundi by the Allied Supreme Council.
1922 The League of Nations awards Belgium mandate over Ruanda-Urundi, which it accepts in 1924.
1928 - 29 Famines ravage Burundi.
1934 A major Bahutu revolt at Ndora is suppressed.
1946 The United Nations General assembly approves a proposition making Ruanda-Urundi a Belgian trust territory.
1955 The Progressive Democratic Movement, a political association, is denied legal status.
1959 A serious outbreak of violence between the Bahutu and the Batutsi occurs in Rwanda; thousands of Batutsi flee into Burundi, increasing ethnic tension there.
1960 In January the UPRONA (Unit et Progrès National party), established by Rwagasore, is officially registered. UPRONA holds its congress in March and by December demands independence. Burundi undergoes a political awakening during this time. More than 20 political parties are formed and a temporary commission replaces the High Council of the country.
1961 In January a Bahutu coup d'ètat is staged in Rwanda and a Republican government is established. In April the UN overturns the elections of 1960 and invalidates local government organizations established under the Belgians. During September, elections are held under UN supervision. UPRONA wins 58 out of 64 seats in the National Assembly, half of them going to Bahutu representatives. Rwagasore is elected Prime Minister. On October 13 Rwagasore is assassinated. A Batutsi, Ganwa Andr Muhirwa, is appointed Prime Minister, but proves a weak leader.
1962 On June 20 the UN General Assembly votes to allow Ruanda-Urundi to become two independent nations. Rwanda is to be a republic led by Bahutus, while Burundi is to retain a ceremonial head of state called the mwami, and is dominated by Batutsis. On July 1 independence is declared, with Mwami Mwambutsa as head of state and Muhirwa as Prime Minister. In November a retrial of the assassins of Rwagasore is conducted and five opponents of UPRONA are found guilty of the crime.
1963 The execution of Rwagasore's assassins is carried out on January 15. UPRONA is sharply divided into two ethnic factions, Batutsi and Bahutu.
1964 In March tracts of unknown origin are circulated in Ngozi that announce the Mwami's resolution to dismiss four members of the Cabinet, all of them Bahutu. On March 31 Mwami dismisses the four ministers and calls on Prime Minister Pierre Ngendandumwe to form a new government. This government fails and Ngendandumwe resigns. A new government is formed, led by Prime Minister Albin Nyamoya. On August 17 the foreign minister of Burundi wires the Secretaries General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the UN, informing them that the relationship between Rwanda and Burundi is "very tense." On September 8 the two governments exchange protests concerning alleged border violations. On November 13 Prime Minister Albin sends protests to Zaire's prime minister citing aggressive acts against his country.
1965 Mwami Mwambutsa calls upon Hutu Pierre Ngenendumwe to form a new government on January 7. Tutsi groups oppose this move. Ngendendumwe is assassinated on January 15. Tutsi activists are arrested, and another Hutu, Joseph Bamina, is appointed Prime Minister. In May the Hutu win a majority of seats in the National Assembly and select Gervais Nyangoma as their leader. The Mwami refuses however to accept him as Prime Minister and instead appoints a Tutsi, Leopold Biha. An attempted coup by the Hutu fails. Consequently, all Hutu leaders as well as Hutus newly elected to Parliament including Bamina and Nyangoma, are shot. Thousands of Hutu are killed in Muramvya province. Many Hutu intellectuals and students are arrested. In November Mwami Mwambutsa flees to Europe.
1966 In March Mwami delegates power to his son by a second wife, Charles Ndizeye. On July 8th Charles deposes his father suspending the constitution and appointing Colonel Michel Micombero, a Tutsi Hima, as Prime Minister.
1968-69 When more Hutu officers are executed, ethnic tensions rise.
In 1969 chief Hutu government members, army officers and other prominent Hutus are arrested. The radio announces that a Hutu plot against the government has failed; in December the Hutu conspirators are tried. Twenty-five are sentenced to death, and others given long prison terms. Twenty-three are executed, possibly many others killed without trial. 1970 - 71 Micombero, a Tutsi Hima, tries to oust the Tutsi Banyaruguru from power. A number of Banyaruguru ministers and officers are tried on charges of conspiracy in 1971 and later sentenced to imprisonment or death. The death sentences are commuted and the prison sentences reduced due to the threat of civil war between the Tutsi factions.
1972 In March the former Mwami Ntare is kidnapped by Idi Amin while on a visit to Uganda. He is flown to Burundi, where he is accused of attempting invasion with the assistance of white mercenaries. He is consequently imprisoned at Gitega. A Hutu revolt breaks out in Bujumbura and in the south on April 29, in which the Hutus kill up to 2,000 Tutsi. Major Shibura executes Mwami Ntare at Gitega. Civil war subsequently rages through the country. The Hutu kill a further 10,000 Tutsi, including the president's brother-in-law. In retaliation, the Tutsi, led by army leaders, kill at least 100,000 Hutu. Many educated and prominent Hutus, together with students and secondary school children, are executed.
1973-74 Micombero regains control, and over 100,000 Hutu flee the country. Some refugees return after Amnesty International offers protection in 1974.
1976 Micombero is overthrown on November 1 and forced into exile by army officers who have formed a Supreme Revolutionary Council. His cousin, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, is elected President, and subsequently calls for a crackdown on dishonest government officials. More Hutu refugees return home.
1978 A cholera epidemic breaks out in May.
1979 The first national congress of UPRONA is held. A new charter is adopted and a Central Committee created with Bagaza as president.
1981 The new constitution, written by UPRONA, is accepted by referendum. UPRONA becomes the sole official party, and its president the sole candidate for the president. Bagaza becomes president.
1982 Begaza, running unopposed, is re-elected.
1985 Several Catholic priests are arrested; and the Archbishop of Gitega is placed under virtual house arrest for several months. Between 1979 and 1985 about 280 missionaries are obliged to leave the country. Khadafi of Libya visits the country and builds an Islamic cultural center.
1987 On September 3 President Bagaza is ousted while on a visit to Canada by an army coup led by Major Pierre Buyoya. Buyoya suspends the 1981 Constitution, dismisses the National Assembly, and forms the "Military Committee for National Salvation," which in turn elects him president. UPRONA is forbidden to hold meetings, but in 1988 becomes active once again with Buyoya as its leader. Bagaza is refused permission to land at Bujumbura in November by President Buyoya, on grounds that he was responsible for ruining the former government by corruption, nepotism and an overcentralized, inefficient bureaucracy that failed to support local development initiatives.
1988 At Ntega several hundred Tutsi are killed in a Hutu uprising in August. In reprisals conducted by the military against the Hutu in Ngozi and Kirundo provinces, more than 20,000 may have died and many more fled to Rwanda.
1989 In April Libyans are expelled for activities against the state. A report on the massacres of 1988 is published by the Commission of National Unity.
1990 On May 16 President Buyoya presents a Charter of National Unity. On August 13 however a Hutu guerrilla group attacks an army barracks at Madamba in the south, but is repelled. The pope visits the country in September. In December an UPRONA congress accepts the Charter of National Unity. A central committee is directed to lead the country to democracy. President Buyoya, elected president of this committee, is confirmed as President of the country.
1991 The Charter of National Unity is supported by 89.2% of the electorate in a national referendum. The document, written under the auspices of the ruling UPRONA party, had been severely criticized by some opposition groups. In April there is Hutu unrest in the northwest and riots in Bujumbura on June 27 and August 12. Amnesty International protests the arrest of presumed members of PALIPHUTU (Parti pour la Libèration du Peuple Hutu), which had been founded in 1980s. On August 27 at least 60,000 refugees returned from Tanzania. Attacks by Paliphutu rebels in the northwest provinces of Cibitoke and Kayanza take place on November 23. The government reports that over 270 people have been killed in fighting in Bujumbura. President Buyoya's cautious democratization process is stalled due to tensions between Tutsi and Hutu extremists. Human rights groups estimate that 3,000 Hutu have been killed in army reprisals and that 50,000 Hutu refugees have fled into Rwanda and Zaire. Amnesty International voices concern over the torture and extra-judicial execution of Hutus by the army and the disappearance of many others.
1992 An coup attempt led by soldiers supporting former President Bagaza fails. On March 9 a new constitution allowing multiparty politics is approved by referendum and adopted on March 13. Parties based on ethnic or regional groups are prohibited. In April two ministers who had opposed the inclusion of Hutu in the government are arrested. After a re-shuffling of the cabinet, 60% of representatives are Hutu.
1993 On June 1 the nation's first free presidential election takes place, resulting in the election of Melchior Ndaday, who wins 64.7% of the vote, against 32.5% for Buyoya. Four weeks later, the first free legislative elections are held. On July 10, Ndaday takes power in Burundi, the first democratically elected president, the first Hutu, and the first civilian to hold office. On October 21, Ndaday is assassinated in an attempted coup. On October 22, violent conflicts between Hutu and Tutsi break out in many provinces in Burundi and in Bujumbura. Thousands of Hutu and between 100,000 and 200,000 Tutsi--25% to 30% of the entire Tutsi population in the country--are reported killed.
1994 In January Cyprien Ntaryamira is appointed head of state by the National Assembly. His appointment is challenged in the Constitutional Court by the opposition. On February 3 government and opposition parties meet in the capital and agree that Ntaryamira should take the oath of office on February 5. In February 4 the Coalition for Peace and Justice in Burundi (CPJB) is formed by a group of Burundians gathered in New York. On April 6 President Cyprien Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana are killed is a plane crash near the airport in Kigali, Rwanda. On September 10 a coalition government, made up of representatives of the country's 13 political parties, is formed. An agreement reached with UN help stipulates that the prime minister of Burundi must be a member of UPRONA. In December 1 Jean Minani, a Hutu formerly exiled in Rwanda, is elected speaker of the National Assembly. On December 23 UPRONA announces that it will withdraw from the coalition government unless Minani steps down as speaker of the National Assembly.
1995 On February 8 the capital, Bujumbura, is virtually shut down for six days by a general strike called by UPRONA aimed at forcing the Prime Minister Anatole Kanyenkiko to resign. When Kanyenkiko resigns on February 16, shooting and grenade blasts erupt in the capital. On February 22 President Ntibantunganya appoints a new prime minister, Antoine Nduwayo. On March 14, Ntibantunganya asks the international community to help his country prevent genocide. On March 28 Amnesty International announces that Burundi is "poised on the brink of another cycle of horrific slaughter." In March 31 President Ntibantunganya and Prime Minister Nduwayo sign an agreement to pursue stability, protect lives, and encourage the return of about two million refugees living in camps in neighboring countries. In May 22 unidentified extremists successfully close down Bujumbura for three days with gunfire, grenade blasts, and barricades.
A brief history of conflict in central Africa.
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