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Rwanda Genocide Timeline

A Timeline of the 1994 Genocide in the African Country of Rwanda

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In 1994, the Rwanda Genocide resulted in the deaths of 800,000 Tutsi and Hutu sympathizers. Learn more about the genocide by browsing this Rwanda Genocide timeline, which shows the history of Rwanda from its first European colonization to the end of the genocide.

Rwanda Genocide Timeline

1894 Germany colonizes Rwanda.

1918 The Belgians assume control of Rwanda.

1933 The Belgians organize a census and mandate that everyone be issued an identity card classifying them as either Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa.

December 9, 1948 The United Nations passes a resolution which both defines genocide and declares it a crime under international law.

1959 A Hutu rebellion begins against the Tutsis and Belgians.

January 1961 The Tutsi monarchy is abolished.

July 1, 1962 Rwanda gains its independence.

1973 Juvénal Habyarimana takes control of Rwanda in a bloodless coup.

1988 The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) is created in Uganda.

1989 World coffee prices plummet. This significantly affects Rwanda's economy because coffee was one of its major cash crops.

1990 The RPF invade Rwanda, starting a civil war.

1991 A new constitution allows for multiple political parties.

July 8, 1993 RTLM (Radio Télévison des Milles Collines) begins broadcasting and spreading hate.

August 3, 1993 The Arusha Accords are agreed upon, opening government positions to both Hutu and Tutsi.

April 6, 1994 Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana is killed when his plane is shot out of the sky.

April 7, 1994 Hutu extremists begin killing their political opponents.

April 9, 1994 Massacre at Gikondo - hundreds of Tutsis are killed in the Pallottine Missionary Catholic Church. Since the killers were clearly targeting only Tutsi, the Gikondo massacre was the first clear sign that a genocide was occurring.

April 15-16, 1994 Massacre at the Nyarubuye Roman Catholic Church - thousands of Tutsi are killed, first by grenades and guns and then by machetes and clubs.

April 18, 1994 The Kibuye Massacres. An estimated 12,000 Tutsis are killed after sheltering at the Gatwaro stadium in Gitesi. Another 50,000 are killed in the hills of Bisesero. More are killed in the town's hospital and church.

April 28-29 Approximately 250,000 people, mostly Tutsi, flee to neighboring Tanzania.

May 23, 1994 The RPF takes control of the presidential palace.

July 5, 1994 The French establish a safe zone in the southwest corner of Rwanda.

July 13, 1994 Approximately one million people, mostly Hutu, begin fleeing to Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

mid-July 1994 The Rwanda Genocide ends when the RPF gains control of the country.

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