The Kingdom of Burundi was founded during the middle of the seventeenth century by Ntare Rushatsi, who assumed the style of Mwami ca. 1650. The country became a German protectorate in 1884, becoming part of German East Africa in 1890. The Mwami was recognised as Sultan of greater Burundi in 1905. Conquered by Belgian troops in 1917, the two neighbouring kingdoms of Burundi and Rwanda became the League of Nations mandated territory of Ruanda-Urundi, under Belgian control in 1919. Local autonomy was introduced in 1960, followed by full independence on 1st July 1962. The king was overthrown in a military coup d'etat and the monarchy abolished in 1966. An attempt to re-establish the kingdom ended with the murder of King Ntare V, at the Royal Palace of Gitega in 1972.
The traditional king lists of Burundi date the origin of the dynasty from Ruhinda in 1530. However, more recent scholarship conducted at the Royal tombs during the 1960s have established that the dynasty dates only from about 1675-1680. The four cycles of Kings were discarded in favour of two cycles only, beginning with Ntare Rushatsi, now styled Ntare I. The traditional King list, together with the modern genealogy, are both given in these pages.
STYLES & TITLES:
The sovereign: The Mwami (King) of Burundi, with the style of His Majesty.
The consort of the sovereign: Mwamikazi (Queen), with the style of Her Majesty.
The sons of the sovereign: Umuganwa (Prince), with the style of His Royal Highness.
The daughters of the sovereign: Umuganwakazi (Princess), with the style of Her Royal Highness.
The grandsons of the sovereign, in the male line: Umuganwa (Prince), with the style of His Highness.
The grand-daughters of the sovereign, in the male line: Umuganwakazi (Princess), with the style of Her Highness.
Note: the reign names of the kings were cyclical, in the following order: Ntare (lion), Mwezi (moon), Mutaga and Mwambutsa. Male line descendants of these kings include there Royal ancestral name in their titles (Umuganwa ntare, Umuganwa mwezi, Umuganwa mutaga and Umuganwa mwambutsa for males and Umuganwakazi ntare, Umuganwakazi mwezi, Umuganwakazi mutaga and Umuganwakazi mwambutsa for females)
RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Male primogeniture amongst the descendants of Mwami Mwezi IV Kisabo Bikata-Bijogu, but limited to princes who have no living full brothers.
ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
Please see link below.
GLOSSARY: Buganwa: princes, plural of Muganwa. Ganwa: the princely class. Karyenda: the female Royal drum. Mazina: epic poems. Mugabekazi: Queen Mother. Mugabire: client, subject to the Shebuja. Muganuro: harvest celebration. Muganwa: prince, the title of the sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of a King, in the male line.
Muganwakazi: princes, the title of the daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters of a King, in the male line.
Mutwenzi: Queen Sister. Mwami: King.
Rushatsi: hairy lion. Rutaganzwa Rugamba: invincible warrior. Ruzinko: male Royal drum. Shebuja: patron of the Mugabire.
Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume II: Africa & The Middle East. Burke's Peerage Ltd., London 1980.
Esther Kamatari, Princesse des rugo, Mon histoire. Bayard, Paris, 2001
René Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi. Pall Mall Press Ltd., London, 1970.
Jean-Paul Harroy, Burundi 1955-1962: Souvenirs d'un combattant d'une guerre perdue. Hayez, Bruxelles, 1987.
Hans Meyer, Les Burundi, Une étude ethnologique en Afrique orientale. Société Française d'Histoire d'Outre-Mer, Paris, 1984. SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Dr Morris Bierbrier, FSA.
Rafael Eduardo Cruz.