Rwanda, formally the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked nation in Central Africa's Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes area and Southeast Africa meet. Rwanda is surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is located a few degrees south of the Equator. Its terrain is characterized by mountains in the west and savanna in the southeast, with several lakes scattered across the nation, earning it the nickname "land of a thousand hills." Each year, the climate ranges from moderate to subtropical, with two wet seasons and two dry seasons. Rwanda is the most densely inhabited nation in Africa, with a population of over 12.6 million people living on 26,338 km2 (10,169 sq mi) of land; it is the fifth most densely populated country in the world among countries greater than 10,000 km2. Kigali, the capital and biggest city, with a population of one million people.
The population is youthful and primarily rural; Rwanda has one of the world's youngest populations, with an average age of 19 years. Rwandans are all members of the Banyarwanda cultural and language group. Within this group, however, there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy group who are frequently considered Rwanda's first settlers. Scholars argue on the origins and distinctions between the Hutu and Tutsi; some say the divisions stem from prior social classes within a same population, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the nation independently and from various areas. The majority religion in the nation is Christianity; the primary language is Kinyarwanda, which is spoken by the majority of Rwandans, with English and French acting as supplementary official languages. Rwanda is a sovereign state with a presidential form of government. President Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has been in office since 2000. Rwanda now has low levels of corruption in comparison to neighboring nations, yet human rights organizations claim persecution of opposition parties, intimidation, and limits on freedom of expression. Since precolonial times, the nation has been ruled by a rigid administrative hierarchy; there are five provinces delimited by boundaries created in 2006. Rwanda is one of just three nations in the world with a female parliamentary majority, the other two being Bolivia and Cuba.
Hunter-gatherers populated the area in the Stone and Iron Ages, followed by Bantu peoples later. The populace was organized first into clans, later into kingdoms. From the mid-eighteenth century, the Kingdom of Rwanda ruled, with Tutsi rulers defeating others militarily, consolidating control, and eventually instituting anti-Hutu policies. Rwanda was colonized by Germany in 1884 as part of German East Africa, and was later attacked by Belgium during World War I. Both European countries controlled via their monarchs and maintained a pro-Tutsi attitude. In 1959, the Hutu people rebelled. They slaughtered many Tutsis before establishing an autonomous, Hutu-dominated country commanded by President Grégoire Kayibanda in 1962. A military coup in 1973 deposed Kayibanda and installed Juvénal Habyarimana, who maintained the pro-Hutu policies. In 1990, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front declared civil war. In April 1994, Habyarimana was murdered. Social tensions emerged during the Rwandan genocide, in which Hutu extremists slaughtered an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Tutsi and Hutu in a hundred days. In July 1994, the RPF won a military victory that put an end to the genocide.
Rwanda's burgeoning economy suffered greatly in the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, but has since recovered. The economy is mostly dependent on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the most important export revenue crops. Tourism is a rapidly expanding industry that is presently the country's top foreign currency earner. Rwanda has been recognized as a developing digital powerhouse for Africa in the twenty-first century, with a surge in start-up firms. Rwanda is one of just two nations where mountain gorillas may be visited securely, and gorilla tracking licenses are expensive. Rwandan culture is rich in music and dance, notably the highly choreographed intore dance. Throughout the nation, traditional arts and crafts are created, including imigongo, a distinctive cow dung art.
Since 1994, Rwanda has been governed by a unitary presidential government with a bicameral parliament presided over by the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The African Union, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, COMESA, OIF, and the East African Community are all members of the nation.