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When World War I ended, "the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. The portion of the German territory, never a part of the Kingodm of Rwanda, was stripped from the colony and attached to Tanganyika, which had been mandated the British." So, not only were the people ripped from each other, they were put with tribes they had never had to live with before.
Like the Germans before them, "the Belgian government continued to rely on the Tutsi power structure for administering the country. It also consistently favoured the Tutsis where education was concerned, leading to a situation where many Tutsis were literate, while the majority of Hutus were not. Belgians educated the Tutsis in Catholic schools, which widened the ethnic rift between Hutu and Tutsi.
Belgian rule in the region was far more direct and harsh than the German. The Belgians [were determined for] the colony turn a profit, and this meant forcing the population [to] grow large quantities of coffee. Each peasant was required to devote a certain percentage of their fields to coffee". This new rule was strongly "enforced by the Belgians and their local, mainly Tutsi, allies." Every morning, to get work started, everyone received eight lashes. "This forced labour approach to colonization was condemned by many internationally, and was extremely unpopular in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands of [oppressed] Rwandans immigrated to the British protectorate of Uganda, which was much wealthier and did not have the same [harsh forced-labour] policies.
Some scholars argue that the Belgians did much to create the enmity between Hutu and Tutsi through their policies of indirect rule. As mentioned above, Hutus and Tutsis lived together as neighbors before the colonial period. However, Belgian rule solidified the racial divide [that was already firmly planted in the Rwandan mindset]. The Belgians [also] gave political power to the Tutsis. Due to the eugenics movement in Europe and the United States, the colonial government became concerned with the differences between Hutu and Tutsi. Scientists arrived to measure skull - and thus, they believed brain - size. Tutsi's skulls were bigger, they were taller, and their skin was lighter. As a result of this, Europeans came to believe that Tutsis had caucasian ancestry, and were thus 'superior' to Hutus. Each citizen was issued a racial identification card, which defined one as legally Hutu or Tutsi. The Belgians gave the majority of political control to the Tutsis. [As a result of all of this,] Tutsis began to believe the myth of their superior racial status, and exploited their power over the Hutu majority. Current academic thought is that the European emphasis on racial division led to many of the difficulties between Hutu and Tutsi in the latter part of the 20th century", such as the Rwandan genocide. (History of Rwanda)


Belgian Colonization

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"The Belgian Roman Catholic Church[, like the rest of the Belgians,] favored the Tutsis". They admired "Tutsi leadership [skills], assuming that they could be well [qualified] to serve the Church's own purposes. The church evangelized [as well], beginning with the Tutsis, leading more Tutsis to share in the benefits that came with associating with the colonizers' Roman Catholic culture.
"King Yuhi Musinga was exiled by the Belgians after he refused to be baptised. He was succeeded by his son Mutara Rudahigwa who had received a seminary education." Mutara "sought to bring about  political changes by allowing Hutus greater acess ot positions of authority." This may well have been one of the significant factors that led up to the Rwandan genocide, where the Hutus sought revenge for their past oppression by the Tutsis. (History of Rwanda)



After World War II ended, the Ruanda-Urundi region "became a UN trust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority." Belgians made reforms in the 1950s that "encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions". However, they "were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw them [as] a threat to Tutsi rule."
The 1950s was a period of major change for Rwandans. The Belgians began to grow "uncomfortable observing the sad plight of the Hutus". They redistributed cattle and outlawed several laws that worsened the lives of the Hutus. "Even though the majority of pasture lands remained under the control of the Tutsi, a situation arose where the Hutus began to feel yet a deeper sense of liberation from Tutsi rule; the Tutsis no longer seemed to be in control of cattle, the long-standing measure of a person's wealth and soical position.
"In addition, the Hutus began to develop a group consciousness as the Belgians instituted ethnic identity cards. Yet a further step was Belgium's system of electoral representation for Rwandans. At first, the Tutsis retained total control, and then Belgium decided to make the electoral process function by means of secret ballots. Therefore, Hutus made enormous gains within the country. The Catholic Church, too, began to make a change. Suddenly they too were opposed to Tutsi mistreatment of Hutus, and began promoting Hutu equality. Tutsis were about to be removed from their traditional role as masters in Rwanda." (History of Rwanda)

Its Colonial Past and Independent Present