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Burundi: The History of Conflict

  • Word Count: 672
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Burundi has some of the greatest climate that Africa has to offer and is fairly densely

populated as a result. The highly desirable land in this country is one of the primary

elements of long term conflicts for the ethnic tribes who occupy it. (“The World and Its

Peoples“, 424) For a long time in its history Burundi was occupied in harmony by the

Batwa Pygmies in the forest regions and the Bahutu (Hutu) tribes living in the savannah

regions. During the 15th century the Watusi (Tutsi) arrived in Burundi. They came from

Ethiopia in search of more fertile land and soon conquered over the Hutu (“The World

and Its Peoples“, 424).

The minority culture of the Tutsi people succeeded in acquiring power over the

earlier ethnic groups in Burundi thanks to there sharp political sense (Landon). Thy

brought a new structure of religion and even technological advancements in healing and

preservation of goods (Landon). In addition, the Tutsi people were tall in stature, and had

much lighter skin than the Hutu people. In migrating they also introduced cattle grazing.

The Hutu then, and now, were farmers whose crude methods of cultivation impoverished

the region (Clarke). The Hutu then invited the value of new life that the cow would hold.

Tutsis were the only people in the land who could own cattle because their superiority

allowed them to graze the sacred animal. The Hutu absorbed many Tutsi customs even

though they made up around 20% of the population (Clarke).

At first, the established supremacy of the Tutsi tribes was a beneficial relationship.

The Hutu raised crops for the Tutsi in return for their protection and served underneath

them in a balanced harmony for centuries. Even in the colonial era, when Belgium ruled

the area, after taking it from Germany in 1916, the two groups lived as one, speaking the

same language , intermarrying, and obeying a near...

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