AskDefine | Define hutu

Dictionary Definition

Hutu n : a member of a Bantu people living in Rwanda and Burundi

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  • Hyphenation: hu·tu


  1. Hutu

Extensive Definition

The Hutu are a Central African ethnic group, living mainly in Rwanda and Burundi.

Population statistics

The Hutu are the largest of the three ethnic groups in Burundi and Rwanda; according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency, 84% of Rwandans and 85% of Burundians are Hutu, although other sources have found statistics that differ by several percent. The division between the Hutu and the Tutsi (the larger of the other two groups) is based more upon social class than ethnicity, as there are no significant lingual, physical, or cultural differences between them. (The Twa pygmies, the smallest of Rwanda and Burundi's three groups, also share language and culture with the Hutu and Tutsi, but are much shorter and have agreed-upon genetic differences.)

Competing theories about origins

The Hutu arrived in Africa's Great Lakes region from what is now Chad during the 11th century, displacing the Twa pygmies, and dominated the area with a series of small kingdoms until the arrival of the Tutsi. Several theories exist to explain the Tutsi and their differences (if any) from the Hutu. One is that the Tutsi were a Hamitic people who migrated south from what is now Ethiopia, conquering the Hutu kingdoms and establishing dominance over the Hutu and Twa between the 15th and 18th centuries. Still others suggest that the two groups are related but not identical, and that the differences between the two were exacerbated by Europeans or by a gradual, natural split as those who owned cattle became known as Tutsi and those who did not became Hutu.

Post-colonial history of the Hutu and Tutsi

The Belgian-sponsored Tutsi monarchy survived until 1959, when Kigeli V was exiled from the colony (then called Ruanda-Urundi.) In Burundi, Tutsis, who are the minority, maintained control of the government and military. In Rwanda, the political power was transferred from the minority Tutsi to the majority Hutu.
In Burundi, a campaign of genocide was conducted against Hutu population in 1972, and an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 Hutus died. In 1993, Burundi's first democratically elected president and also a Hutu, Melchior Ndadaye, was assassinated by Tutsi militia. This sparked a genocide by Hutu leaders of as many as 400,000 Tutsis.
The conflict resulted in genocide in Rwanda as well. Tutsis, however, remained in control of Burundi. During the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, extremists killed an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mainly Tutsis as well as moderate Hutus. About 30% of the Twa population of Rwanda also died in the fighting.
As of 2006, violence between the Hutu and Tutsi has subsided, but the situation in both Rwanda and Burundi is still tense, and tens of thousands of Rwandans are still living outside the country (see Great Lakes refugee crisis).
hutu in Bulgarian: Хуту
hutu in Catalan: Hutu
hutu in Danish: Hutu
hutu in German: Hutu
hutu in Modern Greek (1453-): Χούτου
hutu in Spanish: Hutu
hutu in Esperanto: Hutuoj
hutu in Basque: Hutu
hutu in French: Hutu
hutu in Galician: Hutu
hutu in Croatian: Hutu
hutu in Indonesian: Hutu
hutu in Italian: Hutu
hutu in Hebrew: הוטו
hutu in Kinyarwanda: Abahutu
hutu in Dutch: Hutu
hutu in Japanese: フツ
hutu in Norwegian: Hutu
hutu in Polish: Hutu
hutu in Portuguese: Hútus
hutu in Russian: Хуту
hutu in Serbian: Хуту
hutu in Serbo-Croatian: Hutu
hutu in Finnish: Hutut
hutu in Swedish: Hutuer
hutu in Turkish: Hutu
hutu in Chinese: 胡图族
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