History of the Kingdom of Burundi

The Kingdom of Burundi was founded during the middle of the seventeenth century by Ntare Rushatsi, who assumed the style of Mwami ca. 1650. The country became a German protectorate in 1884, becoming part of German East Africa in 1890. The Mwami was recognised as Sultan of greater Burundi in 1905. Conquered by Belgian troops in 1917, the two neighbouring kingdoms of Burundi and Rwanda became the League of Nations mandated territory of Ruanda-Urundi, under Belgian control in 1919. Local autonomy was introduced in 1960, followed by full independence on 1st July 1962. The king was overthrown in a military coup d’etat and the monarchy abolished in 1966. An attempt to re-establish the kingdom ended with the murder of King Ntare V, at the Royal Palace of Gitega in 1972.

The Kingdom of Burundi was characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. The king, known as the mwami headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) which owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, the royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire—a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Kings of Burundi

  • Ntare I Rushatsi Cambarantama: c.1530–c.1550
  • Mwezi I Baridamunka: c.1550–c.1580
  • Mutaga I Mutabazi: c.1580–c.1600
  • Mwambutsa I Nkomati: c.1600–c.1620
  • Ntare II Kibogora: c.1620–c.1650
  • Mwezi II Nyaburunga: c.1650–c.1680
  • Mutaga II Senyamwiza Mutamo: c.1680–c.1700
  • Mwambutsa II Nyarushamba: c.1700–c.1720
  • Ntare III Kivimira Semuganzashamba : c.1720–c.1750
  • Mwezi III Kavuyimbo (Ndagushimiye): c.1750–c.1780
  • Mutaga III Sebitungwa : c.1780–c.1800
  • Mwambutsa III Mbonyuburundi (Mbariza): c.1800–c.1830
  • Ntare IV Runzi (Rutaganzwa Rugamba): c.1830–c.1850
  • Mwezi IV Gisabo Bikata-Bijoga: c.1850–1908
  • Mutaga IV Mbikije: c.1908–1915
  • Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge Rubangishamiheto: 1915–1966
  • Ntare V Ndizeye: 1966–(1972)
  • Ntare III Rushatsi: c.1680–c.1709
  • Mwezi III Ndagushimiye: c.1709–c.1739
  • Mutaga III Senyamwiza Mutamo: c.1739–c.1767
  • Mwambutsa III Serushambo Butama: c.1767–c.1796 (also known as Mwambutsa III Mbariza)
  • Ntare IV Rutaganzwa Rugamba: c.1796–c.1850
  • Mwezi IV Gisabo: c.1850–21 August 1908
  • Mutaga IV Mbikije: 1908–30 November 1915
  • Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng: 16 December 1915–8 July 1966
  • Ntare V Ndizeye: 1 September–28 November 1966

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