Timeline: Burundi

BBC News Online, Wednesday 9 May 2001, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK

A chronology of key events

1300s—Hutu people settle in the region, imposing their language and culture on the original inhabitants, the Twa.

1400s—Tutsi settlers establish themselves as feudal rulers.

1858—British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke visit Burundi.

1890—The Tutsi kingdom of Urundi and neighbouring Ruanda (Rwanda) incorporated into German East Africa.

1916—Belgians occupy the area.

1923—Belgium granted League of Nations mandate to administer Ruanda-Urundi.

1959—Influx of Tutsi refugees from Rwanda following ethnic violence there.


1962—Urundi is separated from Ruanda-Urundi, becomes Burundi and is given independence as a monarchy under King Mwambutsa IV.

1963—Thousands of Hutus flee to Rwanda following ethnic violence.

1965—King Mwambutsa refuses to appoint a Hutu prime minister even though Hutus win a majority in parliamentary elections; attempted coup by Hutu police led by Michel Micombero brutally suppressed.

1966 July—Mwambutsa deposed by his son, Ntare V.

1966 November—Micombero stages a second coup, this time successfully, and declares himself president.

Overthrow of monarchy

1972—Some 150,000 Hutus are massacred after Ntare V is killed, supposedly by Hutus.

1976—Micombero is deposed in a military coup and is replaced by Jean-Baptiste Bagaza as president.

1981—A new constitution makes Burundi a one-party state.

1987—President Bagaza is deposed in a coup led by Pierre Buyoya.

1988—Thousands of Hutus are massacred by Tutsis and thousands more flee to Rwanda.

Dashed hopes

1992—A new constitution providing for a multiparty system is adopted in a referendum.

1993 June—Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, beats Pierre Buyoya in the country's first ever presidential election to become Burundi's first Hutu president.

1993 October—Ndadaye is assassinated by pro-Bagaza paratroopers, provoking more massacres.

1994—Parliament appoints Cyprien Ntaryamira—a Hutu—as president; Ntaryamira is killed in a plane crash together with his Rwandan counterpart; more ethnic violence and refugees fleeing to Rwanda; parliament speaker Sylvestre Ntibantunganya appointed president.

1995—Massacre of Hutu refugees leads to renewed ethnic violence in the capital, Bujumbura.

1996—Pierre Buyoya stages a second coup, deposing Ntibantunganya and suspending the constitution.

1998—Buyoya and parliament agree on a transitional constitution under which Buyoya is formally sworn in as president.

1999—Talks between warring factions held under the auspices of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.

2000—The Burundian Government and three Tutsi groups sign a cease-fire accord, but two main Hutu groups refuse to join in.

2001 January—President Buyoya agrees to open direct ceasefire talks with the leader of the country's main ethnic Hutu rebel, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy, in an attempt to end seven years of civil war.

2001 10 March—Burundian army says it has regained control of the whole of the capital, Bujumbura, after two weeks of heavy fighting between its troops and Hutu rebels.

2001 20 March—Six political parties representing Burundi's Tutsi minority accuse President Buyoya of planning to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to delay the peace process.

2001 April—Coup attempt fails; minority Tutsi party Inkinzo withdraws its support for the government, which it said had outlived its mandate and should have made way for a transitional administration as agreed in Arusha, Tanzania, in August 2000.