The Republic of Burundi is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is considered part of Central Africa. Burundi's capital is Bujumbura. The southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.
The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least 500 years. For more than 200 years, Burundi was an independent kingdom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany colonized the region. After the First World War and Germany's defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium. The Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Their intervention exacerbated social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, and contributed to political unrest in the region. Burundi gained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but a series of assassinations, coups, and a general climate of regional instability culminated in the establishment of a republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its population as one of the world's poorest.
In addition to poverty, Burundians often have to deal with corruption, weak infrastructure, poor access to health and education services, and hunger. Burundi is densely populated and has had substantial emigration as young people seek opportunities elsewhere.