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Tutsi (tōtˈsē, tōˈ–) [key] or Watutsi wä–, cattle-raising people of central Africa, particularly in Burundi and Rwanda; they are also known as Watusi or Batusi. The original Tutsi homeland was probably in Ethiopia, and c.400 years ago they migrated south to around Lake Kivu. Here they established the native kingdoms of Rwanda and Burundi, ruled by a mwami (king). An aristocratic people, the Tutsi long held the peasant Bahutu, or Hutu, in feudal subjugation. In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, despite much integration of Tutsi and Hutu culture, many members of both tribes died in bloody fighting in Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo. The Tutsi are spectacularly tall, often 7 ft (2.1 m) in height.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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