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With 26,338 square kilometers, Rwanda is a small, landlocked, and very densely populated country in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The average population density rate reached 407 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2011, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. This entry traces the development of Rwanda from precolonialism to the present day, with an emphasis on the genocide and Congo Wars of the 1990s.

From Precolonialism to Independence

Precolonial Rwanda possessed a strong political structure based on clans and subclans, forming a monarchy in the 18th century. In precolonial times, the ethnic groups Tutsi and Hutu could both belong to the same clan and could share a common ancestor, even though a distinction existed between herdsmen and peasants. This characteristic was not rigid and was more like ...

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