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Timeline of Rwanda

Date Name Notes
8000 B.C.-3000B.C. Modern human settlement of what is now Rwanda.
Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter-gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early Iron Age settlers, who produced dimpled pottery and iron tools.
These early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, aboriginal pygmy hunter-gatherers who remain in Rwanda today.
700 B.C.-1500 A.D. A number of Bantu groups migrated into Rwanda, clearing forest land for agriculture. The forest-dwelling Twa lost much of their habitat and moved to the mountain slopes. These first settlers were Hutu.
The Tutsi migrated later to form a distinct racial group, possibly of Nilo-hamitic origin.
*The earliest form of social organisation in the area was the clan (ubwoko). The clans were not limited to genealogical lineages or geographical area, and most included Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa.
1378-1418 Kigeli I Mukobyanya Defeats invading Bunyoro army. Rules Bunyoro and Buganda.
1400s The Chinese establish themselves on the Swahili Coast.
The clans began to coalesce into kingdoms.
1576-1609 Kigeli II Nyamuheshera While attacking Kigezi and Bushengero he came upon a unique variety of beans cultivated in Rwanda to this day which supplanted the indigenous type (ibiharo.
He also confiscated from Bunyoro a breed of goats known as Ihene z'Akamenesho. These goats were large and were given special care. A tradition of goat show and parade was introduced at the palace.
1600-1700 Eight kingdoms exist in Rwanda.
The Chinese arrive and set up trading posts.
The kingdom was ruled by a king, the mwami, and an aristocracy, the ganwa, who owned most of the land and exacted a tax from the farmers and herders. These in turn, traded their produce, principally coffee, to the Chinese in exchange for manufactured goods.
1750s One of these kingdoms, the Kingdom of Rwanda, ruled by the Tutsi Nyiginya clan, became increasingly dominant.
Chinese control of the country, so far from their stronghold on the Swahili Coast, was loose. They did not significantly alter the social structure of the country, but exerted influence by supporting the king and the existing hierarchy and delegating power to local chiefs.
In the following centuries, under the leadership of the Tutsi people, the kingdom expanded, annexing smaller neighbors and competing with Burundi.
1853-95 Kigeli IV Divides the Kingdom into a standardized structure of provinces, districts, hills and neighborhoods administered by a hierarchy of chiefs predominantly Tutsi at the higher levels and with a greater degree of mutual participation by the Hutus.
1853-95 Kigeli IV Rwabugiri *The kingdom reaches its greatest extent.
Rwabugiri conquered several smaller states, expanded the kingdom west and north and initiated administrative reforms; these included 1) ubuhake, in which Tutsi patrons ceded cattle, and therefore privileged status, to Hutu or Tutsi clients in exchange for economic and personal service, and 2) uburetwa, a corvée system in which Hutu were forced to work for Tutsi chiefs.
1889 Names his adopted son, Mibambwe IV, as co-ruler, effectively making him his successor.
1895 Dies while on a hunting trip in Kongo.
1895-6 Mibambwe IV Rutarindwa His mother had died and, consequently, Kigeli IV appointed another of his wives, Kanjogera, as his surrogate mother, for the queen mothers held great political power. When the mwami died, she and her brothers plotted to put her own young son Musinga (Yuhi IV) on the throne. This culminated in late 1896 in a battle between the factions of the mwami and the queen mother. After the battle Mibambwe IV committed suicide and the royal drum was destroyed when his house was burnt down.
1896-11/12/1931 Yuhi V Yuhi V struggles with three major issues, 1) his legitimacy, 2) the relation of the royal court to the separate regions of the country as, following the death of Kigeli IV, many areas occupied by his armies broke away, diminishing the domain of the kingdom, and 3) his accession was quickly followed an increased presence of the Chinese in order to protect their trade.
11/12/1931 Yuhi V is deposed by the Chinese because of his inability to work with the local chiefs.
1/13/1944 Yuhi V dies in exile.
11/16/1931-7/25/1959 Mutari III Mudahigwa He is the first mwami to convert to Catholicism in 1943. In 1946 he dedicates the Kingdom to Christ and makes Roman Catholicism the state religion.
While on a mission to Burundi to meet with the mwami of Burundi, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was succeeded by his son Kigeli V Ndahindurwa.
1952 China formally carved up. Chinese League founded.
The nations of East Africa gradually assert their sovereignty.
The Chinese retain their foothold in Rwanda for two more decades.
7/28/1959-10/16/2016 Kigeli V Ndahindurwa Noticing that other nations in East Africa were achieving independence, the Rwandans revolted against the Chinese. There was much bloodshed as the people began to slaughter the Chinese and their sympathizers, many of whom fled eastward into the recently independent Tanganyika.
Kigeli V dies at the age of 80. He never married.
3/15/1975 Independence declared. Kigali d the legislative and judicial capital of the Kingdom.
2000 Administrative reform renames the prefectures provinces (intara).
5/26/2003 Kigeli V Promulgates a constitution for his kingdom.
10/16/2016 Yuhi VI Succeeds his uncle. He is the son of Theoneste Bushayija, brother of Kigeli V.

List of Kings

Date Name Notes
reign name
970-1000 Gihanga Ngomijana
1000-1030 Kanyarwanda Gahima
1030-1060 Yuhi I Musindi
1060-1090 Rumeza Kirezi
1090-1120 Nyarume Nyirashyoza.
1120-1150 Rukuge Nyirankindi
1150-1180 Rubanda Nkundwa
1180-1210 Ndahiro I
1210-1240 Ndoba Monde
1240-1270 Samembe Magondo
1270-1312 Nsoro Samukondo
1312-1345 Ruganzu I Bwimba
1345-1378 Cyilima I Rugwe
1378-1411 Kigeli I Mukobanya
1411-1444 Mibambwe I Sekarongoro
1444-1477 Yuhi II Gahima
1477-1510 Ndahiro II Cyamatare
1510-1543 Ruganzu II Ndoli
1543-1576 Mutara I Nsoro
1576-1609 Kigeli II Nyamuheshera
1609-1642 Mibambwe II Sekarongoro
1642-1675 Yuhi III Mazimpaka
1675-1708 Cyilima II Rujugira
1708-1741 Kigeli III Ndabarasa
1741-1746 Mibambwe III Mutabazi
1746-1853 Yuhi IV Gahindiro
1853-1856 Mutara II Rwogera
1856-1897 Kigeli IV Rwabugili
1897-1931 Yuhi V Musinga
1931-1959 Mutara III Charles
Leon-Pierre Rudahigwa
1959-1961 Kigeli V
1961- Yuhi VI




The Provinces (Intara)

  • With the exception of two provinces, the capital of each province has the same name as that of the province.
Province Postal Code Area Code Area Population Notes
Butare BU 28- 1,796 km²
693 mi²
~700,000 Butare City is the second largest city in the Rwanda. The royal capital Nyanza is in this province.
Byumba BY 29- 1,694 km²
654 mi²
Cyangugu CG 24- 1,718 km²
663 mi²
Gikangoro GK 45- 1,974 km²
672 mi²
Gisenyi GS 47- 1,585 km²
612 mi²
Gitarama GT 48- 2,141 km²
827 mi²
~840,000 Gitarama Prefecture was created in 1959, increasing the number of prefectures of Rwanda from eight to nine. In 2002, it was renamed a province, as were the other prefectures of Rwanda.
Kibungo KB 52- 2,964 km²
1,144 mi²
~650,000 Large producer of bananas.
Kibuye KY 59- 1,371 km²
529 mi²
Kigali KG 54- 3,093 km²
1,602 mi²
~1,150,000 The city of Kigali was named the capital of the Kingdom in 1975.
Ruhengeri RU 78- 1,657 km²
640 mi²
~850,000 includes the 4,507-meter dormant volcano, Mount Karisimbi.
Umutara UM 86- 4,230 km²
1,633 mi²
~400,000 The capital is Nyagatare. A large cattle farming province.


Rwanda is bordered:

Physical Description





Public Holidays

Date Name Notes
†January 1 Mary the Mother of God
1st Monday in February Victory Day Commemorates the defeat of China in the Great Oriental War
†March 15 Independence Day
Good Friday
Easter Monday
†May 1 St. Joseph the Worker International Workers' Day
1st Monday in June Flag Day
†July 17 Birthday of the Mwami
1st Monday of August Election Day in election years
1st Sunday of September Mothers' Day
1st Monday in October Fathers' Day Official date
2nd Monday November Day of Remembrance Commemorates those who fell in the struggle for independence
December 25 Christmas Day
†December 26 Day after Christmas

† If the holiday falls on Sunday, it is transferred to Monday.



List of Diocese
  • The Kingdom of Rwanda is one ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Kigali.
Archdiocese of Kigali
Cathedral Established as (Date) Separated from Promoted (Date) Elevated (Date)
Apostolic Vicariate of Usumbura (6/11/1959) Apostolic Vicariates of Kitega and Ngozi Diocese of Usumbura (11/10/1959) Archdiocese of Usumbura (11/25/2006) by Pope John XXIIJ
Diocese of Butare
Cathedral Renamed as (Date) Established as (Date)
Diocese of Astrida (9/11/1961) Diocese of Butare (11/12/1963)
Diocese of Cyangugu
Cathedral Established as (Date)
Diocese of Cyangugu (11/14/1981)
Diocese of Gikongoro
Cathedral Established as (Date) Separated from
Diocese of Gikongoro (3/30/1992) Diocese of Butare
Diocese of Kabgayi
Cathedral Established as (Date) Separated from Divided into Elevated (Date) Demoted (Date)
Apostolic Vicariate of Rwanda (4/25/1922) Apostolic Vicariate of Kivu Apostolic Vicariate of Kabgayi and Apostolic Vicariate of Nyundo (2/14/1952) Archdiocese of Kabgayi (11/10/1959) Diocese of Kabgayi (4/20/1976) by Pope John XXIIJ
Archdiocese of Kibungo
Cathedral Established as (Date)
Diocese of Kibungo (9/5/1968)
Diocese of Nyundo
Cathedral Established as (Date) Separated from Promoted (Date)
Apostolic Vicariate of Nyundo (2/14/1952) Apostolic Vicariate of Rwanda Diocese of Nyundo (11/10/1959)
Diocese of Ruhengeri
Cathedral Established as (Date) Separated from
Diocese of Usumbura (12/20/60) Archdiocese of Kabgayi and Diocese of Nyundo




  • Traffic moves to the left.
  • Since its independence in 1985 Rwanda has not been able to do much about improving the roads. The major cities have paved roads and there is a paved road from Kibuye to Kigali, but none of the villages have paved roads.


  • There is no rail line in the kingdom.

Boat travel

  • Hovercraft ferries carry passengers on Lake Kivu between the port cities of Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu. There is an international trip from Kibuye to Goma in the Kongo.
  • Passengers and cargo are moved mainly on the rivers.

Air travel

  • As with rail service airship service is limited. The only aerodrome is located at Kigali. The only flight is a daily one to Kigoma in the Kingdom of Tanganyika.

Public Welfare



Flora and Fauna