Rwandan Civil War Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angie Nix

Technology Instructor for nine years and received Masters in Instructional Technology & Design from GA Southern University. Presently, seeking my Ed.S in Instr.Tech at GSU.

The Rwandan Civil War occurred in one of the smallest and poorest countries on the continent of Africa. This lesson will explain who was involved, why the war started, and discuss events that occurred during the war.

A Plane Crashes

Imagine driving down the road with your family and as you look out your window, a smoking plane falls from the sky! Boom! On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down and both presidents were killed. Why was this plane shot down? What happened after the crash? The events that led up to the plane crash and what happened next are still remembered by many.

Hutu and Tutsi

Long ago, European governments divided Africa.

Colonial Africa 1913

The small country of Rwanda was controlled by Germany in the 1800s, but lost control to Belgium in the 1950s. During this time, two main groups or tribes of people lived in Rwanda. The Hutu was the largest group which made up about 75% of the population. The Tutsi, the second largest group, made up about 24% of the population. The two ethnic groups had many differences and disagreements, which were often worsened because of European influence—it caused hatred to spread among the two tribes. Germany and Belgium controlled Rwanda by telling their kings what to do.

The kings were usually part of the Tutsi tribe, and often the Tutsi received better treatment than the Hutu. They even used their power to enslave Hutus. The Hutu were not happy that the Tutsi had favor with the king and in 1959, Belgium helped the Hutus overthrow the Tutsi king and many Tutsi fled the country. Conflict among the two tribes continued until 1973 when Juvenal Habyarimana became president. He had hope for peace and unity in Rwanda. However, the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi remained.

The Rwandan Civil War

When two groups of people living in the same country have a disagreement, sometimes they can talk and work out their differences. Every now and then, this doesn't happen and a civil war occurs. The Rwandan Civil War happened from 1990 to 1994. In 1990, the Tutsi people that had been exiled created the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Map of Rwanda
rwanda map

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