Burundi existed as an independent Kingdom for several centuries before becoming part of German East Africa in 1899. After WWI it became the Belgian-run territory of ‘Ruanda-Urundi’, with neighboring Rwanda, under a League of Nations mandate. Following independence in 01 July 1962, Burundi was run by a series of brutal regimes dominated by the minority Tutsi group. Massacres in 1972 killed an estimated 300,000 of which the majority were Hutu. In 1987 Major Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, took control in a bloodless coup and initiated a 5-year transition to democracy.