The Tutsi, or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group in Central Africa. Historically, they were often referred to as the Watutsi and the Wahuma. They are the second largest population division among the three largest groups in Rwanda and Burundi, the other two being the Hutu (largest) and the Twa (smallest). Small numbers of Hema, Kiga and Furiiru people also live in Rwanda. Conceptions of the supposed ethnic groups in Rwanda and Burundi have a long history. The definitions of "Hutu" and "Tutsi" people may have changed through time and location. Social structures were not stable throughout Rwanda, even during colonial times under the Belgian rule. The Tutsi aristocracy or elite was distinguished from Tutsi commoners, and wealthy Hutu were often indistinguishable from upper-class Tutsi. When the European colonists conducted censuses, they wanted to identify the people throughout Rwanda-Burundi according to a simple classification scheme.
Contributions by Gyrofrog, Mbabane, and 220.127.116.11.