Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


(German East Africa)


Capital : Kigali



The Bantu Hutu farmers arrived about 1000 years ago, displacing the Twa pygmies. The Tutsi arrived in the C15th and established a feudal system which dominated the Hutu.

The Europeans arrived in the C19th and the joint state of Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) was annexed to German East Africa in 1891. It was taken by Belgium in 1916 and Belgian rule continued with a League of Nations mandate after the war and as later as a UN trust territory.

Mwami (King) Mutara III, who died in 1959, was succeeded by Kigeri V who tried to eliminate Hutu leadership but they rebelled. Order was restored by Belgium and the Hutu party Parmehutu gained huge election majorities in 1960. The monarchy was abolished in 1961 and the country became the Republic of Ruanda. It became independent as Rwanda in 1962 with Gregoire Kayibunda as the first President. Hutu/Tutsi fighting continued until a peaceagreement in 1965. Kayibanda was re-elected in 1969 but civil warfare resumed and he was deposed by a bloodless coup in 1973. General Juvénal Habyarimana, the head of the National Guard, took over, suspending meetings of the legislature and forming a one party state under the MRND. A new constitution was aproved in 1978 but military government continued until civilian rule was adopted in 1980. The government promised constitutional reform in 1990 after an attack by the Rwandan Patriotic Army and an invasion by Tutsi refugees based in Uganda.

Serious Tutsi/Hutu fighting has continued despite an agreement by the Rwandan Patriotic Front to end it in 1992 although the Tutsi are a minority of only about 14% to the Hutu 85% with some Twa pygmies remaining . The languages are Kinyarwanda and French and religions are Catholicism and traditional beliefs.

Rwandan Names



Gahiji Habimama Habimana Hakizimana Kigeri Mutara


Erisa Gukunda Muteteli Nyakarima Uwimana Zahaboo


Boshoso Cyilima Gahima Gasana Habyarimana Kabaija
Karamera Kayibanda Kwachum Magambo Mogots Monyagishali
Mujawayo Mulifi Mutegwamaso Ntawulikura Toto Yuhi

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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