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Rwandan Social Revolution

Also called: Wind of Destruction, Muyaga

Years: 1959-1962
Battle deaths: 0
Onesided violence: 10,000 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Burundi, Rwanda

Published: 2018-07-21 17:17:59 | Updated: 2018-07-22 16:33:38

The Rwandan Revolution, also known as the Social Revolution or Wind of Destruction (Kinyarwanda: muyaga) was a period of violence along ethnic and social lines from 1959 to 1961 in the then Belgian-administered United Nations trust territory Ruanda-Urundi in present-day Rwanda and Burundi. The revolution led to a transition from Tutsi monarchy to an independent Hutu-dominated republic.

The kingdoms of Ruanda and Urundi had even before the colonial era built its society on a social hierarchical division of the population in Hutus (agriculturalists) and Tutsis (pastoralists) where the latter was considered the elite of society. The German and Belgian colonisers after WWI favourised the Tutsis and employed the tools of the racist ideologies of the times, which further segregated the societies and ended the opportunities for social mobility.

The Belgians were mandated by UN to lead Ruanda-Urundi to independence but dragged their feet. In the meantime a Hutu counter-elite developed. The promise of independece and emancipation among the Hutus led to widespread resentment and a socially explosive environment. In this process the colonizers and the Catholic Church started to turn away from their support of the Tutsi elite.

The revolution began in November 1959, with a series of riots and arson attacks on Tutsi homes following the attack of the only Hutu sub-chief Dominique Mbonyumutwa by Tutsi extremists. Violence quickly spread throughout the country. The king and Tutsi politicians attempted a counterattack to seize power and ostracise the Hutu and the Belgians but were thwarted by Belgian colonel Guy Logiest, who was brought in by the colonial governor. Logiest reestablished law and order, beginning a programme to promote and protect the Hutu elite.[1]

The Belgians then replaced many Tutsi chiefs and sub-chiefs with Hutu, consigning King Kigeli V to figurehead status; Kigeli later fled the country. Despite continued anti-Tutsi violence, Belgium organised local elections in mid-1960. Hutu parties gained control of nearly all communes, effectively ending the revolution. Logiest and Hutu leader Grégoire Kayibanda declared Rwanda an autonomous republic in 1961, and the country became independent in 1962. The revolution caused at least 336,000 Tutsi to flee to neighbouring countries, where they lived as refugees.[2]


Wikipedia Ruanda-Urundi, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2018-07-22 
Wikipedia History_of_Rwanda, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2018-07-21 
Wikipedia Rwandan_Revolution, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2018-07-21


[1]    Wikipedia Rwandan_Revolution, retrieved 2018-07-21
[2]    Wikipedia Rwandan_Revolution,2018-07-21


[2] Correlates of War, non-state, has post without fatality data. Data based on estimates from Matthew White, http://necrometrics.com/20c1m.htm#Rwanda
Low: 5,000 High: 20,000

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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