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Rwanda, History

absolute monarchs, fiefdom, Congo Basin, Hutu, economic dependency

The first known inhabitants of Rwanda were the Twa. The Hutu, probably from the Congo Basin, were well established by the 15th century, when the Tutsi came down from the north and conquered the area. The Tutsi kings, or mwamis, became the absolute monarchs of the region. Their rule was enforced by chiefs and subchiefs, who each ruled an umusozi, a fiefdom that consisted of a single hill. Political and economic relations were based on an unequal feudal relationship, known as the ubuhake system, in which the Hutu became a caste of serfs forced into subjugation and economic dependency by the Tutsi. This caste system was rigidly upheld, and intermarriage was almost nonexistent. A similar feudal system was dominant in Burundi.

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Article key phrases:

absolute monarchs, fiefdom, Congo Basin, Hutu, economic dependency, caste system, subjugation, intermarriage, Burundi, rule, century, region, area

 
 

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