Portal:Burundi

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Burundi (Rwanda-Rundi pronunciation: [buˈɾundi]), officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its size is just under 28,000 km² with an estimated population of almost 8,700,000. Its capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

The Twa, Tutsi, and Hutu peoples have occupied Burundi since the country's formation five centuries ago. Burundi was ruled as a kingdom by the Tutsi for over two hundred years. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

Political unrest occurred throughout the region because of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, provoking civil war in Burundi throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic. Sixty-two percent of Burundians are Roman Catholic, eight to ten percent are Muslims and the rest follow indigenous beliefs and other Christian denominations.

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world. Burundi has a low gross domestic product largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Burundi is densely populated, with substantial emigration. Cobalt and copper are among Burundi's natural resources. Some of Burundi's main exports include coffee and sugar.

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Lake tanganyika.jpg

Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake (3° 20' to 8° 48' South and from 29° 5' to 31° 15' East). It is estimated to be the second or third largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia. The lake is divided between four countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. (Read more...)

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View of bujumbura.JPG
Credit: Hubert Schonberg

A view of Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi.

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edit Cyprien Ntaryamira (6 March 1955 - 6 April 1994), was President of Burundi from 5 February 1994 until his death when his plane was shot down on 6 April 1994.

Ntaryamira was born in the Mageyo zone's commune of Mubimbi, Bujumbura Rural Province, in what was then the Belgian-dominated United Nations Trust Territory of Burundi. He entered school in Bujumbura, but after an abortive Hutu rebellion in 1972, he and thousands of other ethnic Hutus fled the country.

Ntaryamira eventually received a degree in agriculture from the National University of Rwanda in Butare in 1982. During this time, he became politically active in socialist movements. He returned to his native country in 1983 to work as an agricultural official. He was a political prisoner of the regime of Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza briefly in 1985.

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