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20th Century

1900 Umwami Musinga receives the first group of European Catholic missionaries, known as the "White Fathers" or "Peres Blancs".

1917 After the defeat of the Germans in World War I, Belgium establishes a political system of indirect administration with the Umwami, effectively working under the Belgians.

1923 Belgium is officially granted the League of Nations mandate to administer both Rwanda and Burundi under the name of Rwanda-Urundi. Later, in 1925, Rwanda-Urundi becomes an integral part of the Belgian Colony Government under the name Rwanda-Urundi and Belgian Congo.

1931 Belgium forces Umwami Musinga to abdicate his throne and is exiled to Kamembe (current province of Cyangugu), near the Rwanda-DRC border. His son, Umwami Rudahigwa Mutara II, succeeds him.

1935 The Belgian Colonial Administration issues, for the first time, identification that clearly categorised people as "Hutu", "Tutsi" and "Twa" on the basis of the number of heads of cattle they owned. Those with ten or more cows were categorised as "Tutsi", while those with less were categorised as "Hutu".

1943 Umwami Rudahigwa becomes the first Rwandan Monarch to be christened. In the same year, Belgium initiates a series of administrative reforms that eliminated local chieftains who were mostly Bahutu and replaces them with chiefs directly appointed by the King who were Batutsi.

1946 Rwanda becomes a United Nations Trustee Territory.

1952 Umwami Rudahigwa agrees with the requirement by the United Nations to increase the number of Bahutu representatives at all levels of the Rwanda administration.

1954 Umwami Rudahigwa abolishes "Ubuhake" a clientele system of servitude that was common in feudal Rwanda.

1955 Belgium appoints J.P. Harroy as the Governor of Rwanda-Urundi.

1954 Umwami Rudahigwa demands total independence and an end to Belgian colonial rule. In the same year, the Vatican appoints Mgr. Perraudin, a swiss national, as the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Rwanda.

1957 Under the ideological patronage of J.P. Harroy and Mgr. Perraudin, a catechist named Gregoire Kayibanda publishes the "Hutu Manifesto" demanding the political authority be granted to Bahutu. The Catholic Church encourages Gregoire Kayibanda and his associates to form political parties, namely; APROSOMA (L'Association pour la Promotion Sociale des Masses) and RADER (Le Rassemblement Democratique Rwandais), to champion "Bahutu interests".

1959 At a time of strained relations between the monarch and the Belgian authorities, Umwami Rudahigwa dies mysteriously in Bujumbura, Burundi. Most Rwandese people believe there was Belgian involvement in his death.

Umwami Rudahigwa is succeeded by his half brother who becomes Umwami Kigeli V Ndahindurwa.

UNAR (Union Nationale Rwandaise) political party is formed by the proponents of immediate independence under the Rwandan monarchy. PARMEHUTU (Le Parti du Mouvement de l'emancipation Hutu) is established under the guidance of the Catholic Church and advocates a delay in granting independence. PARMEHUTU was also openly sectarian.

A Belgian Colonel, G. Logiest and Belgian Commandos, organise some Bahutu to kill thousands of Batutsi and send hundreds of thousands of others into exile, mainly in the DRC, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. Umwami Kigeli V is forced into exile.

1960 The Belgian Colonial Administration hastily manipulates communal elections, which were "overwhelmingly won" by PARMEHUTU under Gregoire Kayibanda, who becomes Prime Minister.

1961 The Belgian Colonial Administration organises a referendum on the monarchy under the auspices of the United Nations. Belgium declares the end of the monarchy and Gregoire Kayibanda becomes the President and Prime Minister of the new Republic. Massacres and exodus of Batutsi from Rwanda continues.

1962 Belgium officially grants independence to Rwanda and Gregoire Kayibanda becomes the President of the First Republic.

1963 Some Batutsi exiles - "inyenzi" - launch unsuccessful attacks against the Kigali regime. More massacres of Batutsi take place in Rwanda.

1965 Gregoire Kayibanda is re-elected President and Juvenal Habyarimana is appointed Minister of Defence.

1969 PARMEHUTU is renamed MDR (Mouvement Democratique Republicaine), "wins" elections and Gregoire Kayibanda is re-elected President.

1973 Extensive massacres take place forcing thousands of Rwandans into exile. Major General Juvenal Habyarimana topples Gregoire Kayibanda in a military coup d'etat. Killings and political assassinations take place after the coup.

1975 Major General Juvenal Habyarimana establishes MRND (Mouvement Revolutionaire et National pour le Developpment). As in the First Republic, political parties are banned in the Second Republic. Widespread massacres take place.

1978 Major General Juvenal Habyarimana introduces a "new constitution" entrenching MRND as the sole political party.

1979 RANU (Rwandese Alliance for National unity) is established by a group of Rwandese exiles in Kenya. The objective of RANU was to find a solution for the problem of Rwandese refugees and to struggle against dictatorship in Rwanda.

1982/83 Several thousands of Rwandese refugees and Ugandans of Rwandese origin are expelled from Uganda to Rwanda by the dictatorial regime of Milton Obote. The Kigali regime refuses entry to some, detains others in camps within Rwanda, while others are killed.

1987 RANU becomes Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF).

1990 On October 1st, RPF begins armed struggle against dictatorship and exclusion in Rwanda.

1991 The N'sele Ceasefire Agreement is signed between RPF and the Government of Rwanda.

1993 From 1990 to 1993 widespread massacres of Batutsi take place notably in Kibirira, Bigogwe, Bugesera and Kibuye. In December, RPF sends a contingent of 600 troops to Kigali after signing the Arusha Agreement.

1994 April - President Habyarimana dies in a plane crash. The Genocide, which had been planned for months, begins. Over half a million people are massacred in the first month of the Genocide. RPF launches the campaign to stop the genocide and liberate Rwanda.

July - The genocidal regime collapses and RPF liberates Kigali. RPF establishes the Government of National Unity together with seven other political parties. Pasteur Bizimungu becomes President and Paul Kagame becomes Vice-President and Minister for Defence.

1996/1997 The Government of Rwanda passes the law for the trial and punishment of those responsible for genocide in Rwanda.

Rwanda sends troops to the DRC to liberate and repatriate Rwandese refugees held hostage by ex-FAR and Interahamwe genocidal militia. The Government of Rwanda repatriates over 2 million Rwandese refugees from the DRC and Tanzania.

1999 Local elections take place at cellule and secteur levels. The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, to end the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is signed.