Rwandan History

Historical Events


DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

1876-09-14 Henry Morton Stanley's expedition leaves Rwanda

Journalist and Explorer Henry Morton Stanley
Journalist and Explorer
Henry Morton Stanley
  • 1961-01-28 Republic of Rwanda proclaimed
  • 1961-08-23 Belgium sends troops to Rwanda-Urundi
  • 1962-01-01 Rwanda granted internal self-government by Belgium
  • 1962-06-30 Rwanda and Burundi become independent
  • 1962-07-01 Burundi & Rwanda gain independence from Belgium (National Days)
  • 1962-09-18 Rwanda, Burundi, Jamaica & Trinidad admitted (105th-108th) to UN

BattleCoup d'état

1973-07-05 General Juvénal Habyarimana becomes president of Rwanda in a military coup d'état

Dictator and President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana
Dictator and President of Rwanda
Juvénal Habyarimana
  • 1978-12-17 Referendum approves new constitution of Rwanda
  • 1990-10-01 10,000 Uganda RPF rebels move into Rwanda
  • 1991-01-23 Bagogwe Massacre of Tutsi in and around Ruhengeri, Northern Rwanda

Murder of InterestRwandan Genocide

1994-04-06 Plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down by surface-to-air missiles, abruptly ending peace negotiations and sparking the Rwandan Genocide. Those responsible have never been identified.

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Skulls of genocide victims at the Nyamata Memorial Site in Rwanda
Skulls of genocide victims at the Nyamata Memorial Site in Rwanda
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  • 1994-04-13 Presidential guard at Kigali, Rwanda, chops 1,200 church members to death
  • 1994-04-22 7,000 Tutsi slaughtered by Hutus in the stadium at Kibuye, Rwanda
  • 1994-06-23 Opération Turquoise: 2,500 French troops head into Rwanda to protect civilians under the mandate of the United Nations
  • 1994-07-15 Hundreds of thousands of Hutus flee to Zaire in the Congo near the end of the Rwandan Genocide
  • 1994-08-21 The last French troops pull out of Rwanda, ending their highly controversial mission there
  • 1996-12-10 Rwandan Genocide: Maurice Baril military advisor to the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations recommends the UN multi-national forces in Zaire stand down
  • 1997-01-18 In north west Rwanda, Hutu militia members kill 3 Spanish aid workers, 3 soldiers and seriously wound one other.
  • 1998-09-02 The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda finds Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide
  • 2000-06-05 Armed conflict between Rwanda and Uganda erupts in Kinsangani, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 2004-09-18 29th Toronto International Film Festival: "Hotel Rwanda" directed by Terry George wins the People's Choice Award
  • 2013-09-16 Paul Kagame wins the Rwandan presidency in a landslide
  • 2017-08-04 Rwandan President Paul Kagame wins a third term with 98.63% of the vote
  • 2018-02-28 700 illegal churches closed in Rwanda for being too noisy and lacking building permits
  • 2018-03-10 16 people die after being struck by lightning at a church in Nyaruguru District, Rwanda
  • 2018-03-21 African trade deal agreed by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda
  • 2018-05-07 More mudslides in Rwanda kill 18 people bringing the year's death toll to 200

Famous Birthdays

  • 1888-07-19 Eugène Jungers, Belgian Governor of Rwanda Urundi, born in Messancy, Belgium (d. 1958)
  • 1910-09-18 Hendrik Cornelis, Belgian colonial civil servant and Governor-General of the Belgian Congo, born in Oudenaarde, Belgium (d. 1999)
  • 1912-05-15 Alexis Kagame, Rwanda, priest/writer
  • 1936-06-29 Kigeli V, last King of Rwanda (1959-61), born in Kamembe, Rwanda (d. 2016)
  • 1937-03-08 Juvénal Hayarimana, president of Rwanda (1973-94)

Person of interestJuvénal Habyarimana

1937-03-08 Juvénal Habyarimana, Rwandan General, Dictator and President of Rwanda (1973-94) who was assassinated at the start of the Rwandan genocide, born in Ruanda-Urundi, Belgian Colonial Empire (d. 1994)

Dictator and President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana
Dictator and President of Rwanda
Juvénal Habyarimana
  • 1949-08-22 Alfred Musema, Rwandan genocidaire, born in Byumba, Rwanda
  • 1952-03-12 Eliézer Niyitegeka, Rwandan journalist, politician and genocidaire
  • 1953-05-23 Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Prime Minister of Rwanda (1993-94) and one of the 1st female political figures in Africa, born in Nyaruhengeri, Rwanda (d. 1994)
  • 1954-06-15 Paul Rusesabagina, Rwandan hotel manager
  • 1955-03-06 Cyprien Ntaryamira, 5th President of Burundi (1994) who was assassinated at the start of the Rwandan genocide, born in Mubimbi, Bujumbura Rural Province, Burundi (d. 1994)
  • 1957-10-23 Paul Kagame, Rwandan leader, head of Rwandan Patriotic Front, President of Rwanda (2000-), born in Tambwe, Ruanda-Urundi
  • 1958-11-28 Georges Rutaganda, Rwandan war criminal
  • 1977-03-24 Corneille [Cornelius Nyungura], Rawandan-Canadian R&B, pop, and soul singer, born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Famous Deaths

  • 1958-09-17 Eugène Jungers, Belgian Governor of Rwanda Urundi, dies at 70
  • 1985-12-26 Dian Fossey, American zoologist (Gorillas in the Mist), murdered in Rwanda at 53
  • 1994-04-06 Cyprien Ntaryamira, 5th President of Burundi (1994), assassinated by missile strike on the plane he was travelling on over Kigali, Rwanda at 39

MurderJuvénal Habyarimana

1994-04-06 Juvénal Habyarimana, Rwandan General, Dictator and President of Rwanda (1973-94), assassinated by missile strike on his plane over Kigali, Rwanda at 57

Dictator and President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana
Dictator and President of Rwanda
Juvénal Habyarimana
  • 1994-04-07 Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Prime Minister of Rwanda (1993-94) and one of the 1st female political figures in Africa, assassinated by the presidential guard in the opening stages of the Rwandan Genocide at 40
  • 1994-06-07 Vincent Nsengijumva, Rwandan archbishop of Kigali, murdered
  • 2016-10-16 Kigeli V, last King of Rwanda (1959-61), dies at 80