The Rwandan Genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. During the approximate 100 day period from April 7, 1994 to mid-July, an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, and integrating into rather than conquering the existing society. Under this theory, the Hutu and Tutsi distinction arose later and was not a racial one, but principally a class or caste distinction in which the Tutsi herded cattle while the Hutu farmed the land. The Hutu, Tutsi and Twa of Rwanda share a common language and are collectively known as the Banyarwanda. The population coalesced, first into clans, and then, by 1700, into around eight kingdoms. One of the kingdoms, the Kingdom of Rwanda, ruled by the Tutsi Nyiginya clan, became increasingly dominant from the mid-eighteenth century and expanded through a process of conquest and assimilation, achieving its greatest extent under the reign of King Kigeli Rwabugiri from 1853–95. Rwabugiri expanded the kingdom west and north and initiated administrative reforms; these included ubuhake, in which Tutsi patrons ceded cattle, and therefore privileged status, to Hutu or Tutsi clients in exchange for economic and personal service, and uburetwa, a corvée system in which Hutu were forced to work for Tutsi chiefs. Rwabugiri's changes deepened the socio-economic and power divisions between the Hutu and Tutsi populations. Colonial era
The Berlin Conference of 1884 assigned the territory to Germany and began a policy of ruling through the Rwandan monarchy; this system had the added benefit of enabling colonization with small European troop numbers. European colonists, convinced the Tutsi had migrated to Rwanda from Ethiopia, believed the Tutsi were more Caucasian than the Hutu and were therefore racially superior and better suited to carry out colonial administrative tasks. King Yuhi V Musinga welcomed the Germans, who he used to strengthen his rule. Belgian forces took control of Rwanda and Burundi during World War I, and the country was formally passed to Belgian control by a League of Nations mandate in 1919. The Belgians initially continued the German style of governing through the monarchy, but from 1926 began a policy of more direct colonial rule. They simplified the chieftaincy system, reducing its numbers and concentrating it in the hands of Tutsi, extended the scale and scope of uburetwa, and oversaw a land reform process by the Tutsi chiefs, in which grazing areas traditionally under the control of Hutu collectives were seized and privatised, with minimal compensation. In the 1930s, the Belgians introduced large-scale projects in education, health, public works, and agricultural supervision. The country was thus modernised but Tutsi supremacy remained, leaving the Hutu disenfranchised and subject to large scale forced labour. In 1935, Belgium introduced identity cards labelling each individual as either Tutsi, Hutu, Twa or Naturalised. While it had previously been possible for particularly wealthy Hutu to become honorary Tutsi, the identity cards prevented any further movement between the classes. The Catholic Church became increasingly important in Rwanda, as the Belgian government relied on the clergy's local knowledge; many Rwandans became Catholics as a means of social advancement. In the interwar period, the Catholic Church favored Tutsi enrollment in their mission schools, which taught French and other key skills required for civil service and leadership positions. Revolution and Hutu-Tutsi relations after independence
After World War II, a Hutu emancipation movement began to grow in Rwanda, fuelled by increasing resentment of the inter-war social reforms, and also an increasing sympathy for the Hutu within the Catholic Church. Catholic missionaries increasingly viewed themselves as responsible for empowering the underprivileged Hutu rather than the Tutsi elite, leading rapidly to the formation of a sizeable Hutu...
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