A Brief History of Genocide in Rwanda

Rwanda, an East African country of 8,500,000 people, is on a land mass the size of Maryland. It gained notoriety in 1994 as the site of one of the worst genocides the world has known. In a carefully orchestrated plan developed by the previous government, nearly 1,000,000 men, women, and children were killed from March to July of that year, including many of the country's teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, and other professionals.

In July 1994, the government was taken over by the army of Rwandan Patriotic Front "RPF", which consisted manly of Rwandans who were exiled to neighboring countries in earlier persecutions. Attempting to re-unite the country, the RPF has welcomed back approximately 3 million refugees, including its former enemies who were scattered in the conflict of 1994. Now Rwanda faces the difficult task of rebuilding the country and re-uniting its people.

For more information on the genocide in Rwanda, please read PBS' Frontline: 100 Days of Slaughter; A Chronology of U.S./U.N. Actions, as well as the United Nations Rwandan Genocide Report.

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Country and Regions
(population in thousands)

Population 1991


Population 2003


Area Size

26,338 km2

Administrative Division Pop. 1991 Pop. 2003 Area Size


766.8 725.7 1,849 km2


- 779.6 1,730 km2


515.1 617.7 2,330 km2


464.6 528.2 2,188 km2


734.7 903.2 2,145 km2


851.5 970.8 2,188 km2


- 700.5 1,336 km2


470.7 474.0 3,133 km2


888.9 888.9 1,762 km2


766.1 999.6 4,312 km2


- 448.1 298.2 km2

Ville De Kigali

237.8 298.2 112 km2