A Central African Genocide
At 26,338 square kilometres (10,169 sq mi), Rwanda is the world's 149th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Haiti or the state of Maryland in the United States. The entire country is at a high altitude: the lowest point is the Rusizi River at 950 metres (3,117 ft) above sea level.
Rwanda is located in Central/Eastern Africa, and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and Burundi to the south. It lies a few degrees south of the equator and is landlocked. The capital, Kigali, is located near the centre of Rwanda.
A former German colony later entrusted to Belgium, first as a Mandate under the League of Nations, and then as a Trust Territory under the United Nations. Through much of the colonial era Rwanda stood a classic example of indirect rule. While the king, Mwami, and his chiefs served as the legitimate instruments of colonial domination, the Tutsi as a whole saw their privileges substantially enhanced. As the main recipients of a Western education, their status as an elite group seemed firmly established—until challenged by the rise of a Hutu revolutionary movement in the mid-1950s. The postwar years saw a major shift in Belgian policies, owing in part to the rising influence of Christian Democracy among the missionary community, and UN pressures for hastening the pace of democratization.