Burundi is a landlocked nation in East Africa’s African Great Lakes area. It is bordered to the north by Rwanda, to the east and south by Tanzania, and to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bujumbura is the capital of Burundi.
Burundi has been inhabited by the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi peoples for at least 500 years. Burundi was an autonomous monarchy for more than 200 years, until Germany invaded the territory at the beginning of the twentieth century. Following Germany’s loss in World War I, it surrendered the region to Belgium. Both Germans and Belgians governed Burundi and Rwanda as part of the Ruanda-Urundi European colony. Contrary to popular belief, Burundi and Rwanda were never united under a single government prior to European invasion.
The European involvement worsened social divisions between Tutsi and Hutu and contributed to regional political instability. Burundi obtained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but a series of assassinations, coups, and a general environment of regional insecurity resulted in the formation of a republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing, followed by two civil wars and genocides in the 1970s and 1990s, left the nation underdeveloped and its inhabitants among the poorest in the world.
Large-scale political turmoil erupted in 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term, a coup attempt failed, and the country’s legislative and presidential elections were widely condemned by members of the international community.
Burundians frequently face corruption, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to health and education services, and hunger, in addition to poverty. Burundi is densely populated, and there has been significant emigration as young people seek better prospects overseas. According to the World Happiness Report 2016 Update, Burundi is the world’s unhappiest country.