1962 Burundi Gains Independence



Burundi was a part of Belgian Mandated Territory. It petitioned the U.N. for full independence which was granted in 1962. Burundi remained under the domination of the Tutsi tribe.

Burundi's journey to independence was deeply entwined with its colonial past and the ethnic divisions that have since shaped its political landscape. Initially under German colonial rule, Burundi became part of the Belgian-mandated territories of Ruanda-Urundi following the defeat of Germany in World War I. The Belgian administration relied heavily on a system of indirect rule, exacerbating pre-existing ethnic tensions between the Tutsi and Hutu communities.

As decolonization gained momentum across Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, Burundi began its own struggle for independence. In a historic move, the territory petitioned the United Nations for full sovereignty, a request that was granted on July 1, 1962. Upon independence, Ruanda-Urundi was divided into two separate states: Rwanda and Burundi.

However, independence did not resolve the deep-rooted issues of ethnic tension and inequality in Burundi. The political sphere continued to be dominated by the minority Tutsi community, who held most of the military and administrative positions. This perpetuated a system of ethnic hierarchy, disenfranchising the majority Hutu population and laying the groundwork for future conflict.

The Tutsi hegemony in political and military institutions was a source of ongoing tension and led to sporadic ethnic violence, including attempted coups and uprisings. Tragically, the volatile mix of ethnic tension and political instability culminated in genocidal violence in the 1990s, part of a wider regional crisis that also engulfed neighboring Rwanda.

Since its independence in 1962, Burundi has struggled with issues of governance, ethnic parity, and social cohesion. Attempts at power-sharing agreements and democratic reforms have been made, albeit with varying degrees of success. Regional and international organizations have also intervened in an effort to bring stability to this troubled nation.