Ethnic Conflicts Around the
AP Human Geography
Ethiopia/Eritrea –
The Horn of Africa
• Both were Italian colonies (Eritrea – 1890,
Ethiopia – 1930s)
• Post WWII – Ethiopia given independence
and control of Eritrea
– Bans local language
– Dissolves Eritrean
– Eritrea fights for
independence 1961-1991
Eritrea as a State
• 1991 – Eritrea defeats Ethiopian army
• 1993 – Eritrean independence
• 1998 – border dispute between the 2
countries; violence restarts
• 2000 – Ethiopia wins disputed area
Eritrea and Ethiopia Today
• Ethiopia – 3 major ethnic
– Amharic/Coptic Christians
in the north
– Muslims in the south
(Oromo, 40% pop.)
– Eastern Orthodox in the far
north (Tigres)
• Eritrea – 9 ethnic groups
(split between Muslim
and Christian) remain
largely united b/c of
common fight against
The North/South Geography
of Sudan
• North Sudan
Ties to Egypt
• South Sudan
Christians and animists
Ties to Chad, Uganda,
– Tropical, lush rainforests
Facts & History of Sudan
• Large, poor, 40m people
• Independence in 1956
from Britain
• Civil Wars
– 1956-1972
• N & S at war over control
of central gov’t
– 1984-2005
• Central gov’t (Arab Muslim
dominated) trying to assert
power over South (black
Christians and animists)
• Imposition of Shari’a law
• Discovery of oil
• 2 mill+ people died, 5% of
pop., 1mill+ refugees
• Accord in 2005 called for
autonomy in the south and
power sharing in nat’l gov.
Sudan Today and Darfur
• Today, Sudan’s gov’t is
the NIF – Nat’l Islamic
– Capital: Khartoum
• Darfur
– Region in western Sudan
– Early 2003
• Opposition groups in
Darfur rose up against NIF
– Gov’t crushed the rebellion.
• Sudan’s gov’t
supporting an Arab
militia known as the
– Looting and burning
– Bombings of villages
– Rapes, murders
The People of Darfur
• 400,000 dead
• 2 million displaced
• Another 1.5 million in
need of humanitarian
– Very difficult for this to
happen, though, b/c
the area is hard to
reach and dangerous
Who’s helping?
United Nations
– July 2004: demanded that
Sudanese gov’t disarm
Janjaweed and prosecute
– Powell, Bush: genocide is
African Union
– Troops in place, but not
enough to protect civilians
– Calls for UN peacekeepers
– Sudan says this would be
– Peace Treaty written in May
2006 but only 2 groups have
signed it (including gov’t
• 9m people, 6 major
• Seem unified on surface:
– Sunni Muslim
– Somali speaking
• 1990s – traditional means
of control disturbed;
warring clans, Somaliland
declares independence
from rest of country, but
not recognized
• Collapse of government,
• 1992 – 300,000 die from
famine and war
• 1992 – U.S. send troops to help with food
distribution and to take weapons from
armed militias
• 1994 – Peace talks collapse and U.S.
troops withdraw
• TODAY – Islamic militants overthrew
warlords. (US gov’t had backed warlords)
• 4m people in country of 4,000 miles (like CT)
• 1943 – Lebanon gains independence from
• Becomes financial & recreational center in
Middle East
• Beirut = “Paris of the Middle East”
• Ethnic makeup of Lebanon
– 30% is Christian
• 2/3 of Christians are Maronites
• 1/6 of Christians are Eastern Orthodox
• 1/6 of Christians are of other sects (Greek
Catholic, Armenian, etc)
– 60% are Muslims
• 2/3 are Shiite Muslims (Hezbollah & others)
• 1/3 are Sunni Muslims
– 7% are Druze (combines elements of Christianity and
Islam; secretive religion)
Where do the ethnicities of Lebanon live?
Ethnicities in the Gov’t
• Since independence in 1943, gov’t
divided/distributed through the religions:
– President = Maronite
– Premier = Sunni
– Speaker = Shiite
– Foreign Minister = Greek Orthodox
Who is unhappy with this
• Christians have majority control in gov’t
and businesses
• Muslims want more equality and
participation in the gov’t
• Gov’t unable to deal with these changing
conditions and divisions…
Civil War in Lebanon
• Broke out in 1975
• Each religious group has warring
• Syria, Israel and U.S. all send
troops at some point.
• 1983 – U.S. Marine barracks
destroyed by a truck bomb - 241
Marines die - US pulls out
• Lebanon left in hands of Syria,
whose troops withdrew in 2005
• Early 2006 - relative stability
• 2006 war - Israel and Hezbollah
casualties, extensive damage to
infrastructure, refugees from July
12, 2006 until ceasefire on
August 14, 2006
Current Situation in Lebanon
• Summer 2006
– Hezbollah (Muslim extremist group) fires rockets into
– Israel responds with rocket firing
– “War” lasts for just over a month
– UN helps organize a cease-fire
– Israel’s concerns: Hezbollah in control in Southern
Lebanon (backed by Iran)
– Lebanon concerns: Question about Lebanese gov’t
ability to control Hezbollah
Dividing Ethnicities among more than one
state: South Asia
• 1947 British end rule of Indian
subcontinent - divide into 2 countries: India
and Pakistan.
– Pakistan is 2 non-contiguous states (East
Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971)
– Divisions based on ethnicity: PakistanMuslim, India-Hindu
– Hinduism is great uniting force in diverse India
– History of fights over territory in N. India became religious wars
Forced Migration and Ethnic
• The Partition of South Asia caused migration of
17m people b/c boundaries did not match
exactly - violence
– Never agreed on boundary between India and
Pakistan in northern region of Kashmir
– 1972, maintained “line of control” splitting region.
Muslims who are majority in region have been fighting
guerilla war to reunite with Pakistan or become
independent country.
• Further unrest in India: Sikhs - not given own
country at partition. 25m (2% of India’s pop. But
majority in Indian state of Punjab)
Pakistan v. India
• Pakistan
– Let residents decide
– Pretty sure that
Muslims in Kashmir
will “side” with their
Muslim nation
• India
– Blames unrest in the
region on Pakistan
– Doesn’t want to lose
Sri Lanka
Ethnicities in Sri Lanka
– Sinhalese are 74% of pop.
• Buddhists
• Came from N. India
– Tamils are 18% of pop.
• Hindus
• Came from S. India
Colonial Control to
• Conflict had been suppressed by
Europeans, who controlled Sri Lanka
(formerly Ceylon) until 1948 (2,000 year old conflict,
held off for 300 years of colonial rule)
• Sinhalese held most of the gov’t, military
and economic power after independence
• Fighting began in 1983, 60K have died
Tamils Want More Power
Tamils wanted more power and fight for it
1993 – Assassinated Sinhalese president
1999 – Wounded next Sinhalese president
Ceasefire declared 2002, but frequently
broken by both sides
Kurds in the Middle East
• 1920’s a state of Kurdistan is formed
Post WWI
• Kurdistan becomes a part
of Turkey
– The teaching of the
Kurdish language in
schools is banned until
– Kurdish language
remains banned in
media broadcasts
– Turks want to promote
Turkish nationalism
among Kurds
Fight for a Homeland
• Kurds are spread out throughout the
Middle East
15 million in Turkey
5 million in western Iran
4 million in northern Iraq
Kurds: SUNNI Muslims
Current Kurdish Situation
• A nation without a state
• Current situation in Iraq – control northern
portions of Iraq (valuable oil area); are
flying Kurdish flag instead of Iraqi flag
– Under Saddam Hussein, Kurds were
Ethnic Cleansing
• When a more powerful ethnic group forcibly
removes a less powerful one in order to create
an ethnically homogenous region
– Holocaust
– Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo)
– Rwanda
• Goal is not just to defeat, but to rid an area of an
entire ethnicity so that surviving ethnic group will
be the SOLE group
• Not just fighting among men -- involves women,
children and elderly
The Fomer Yugoslavia
• After WWII, created Yugoslavia out of a
mix of ethnicities who spoke similar South
Slavic language (Yugo = “South” in Slavic)
• 1953 – 1980 - stability (submerged ethnic
– Communist dictator
Joseph Tito keeps
Ethnicities in Yugoslavia
Red = Albanians
Green = Bulgarians
Orange = Croats
Green = Hungarians
Brown= Macedonians
Yellow = Montenegrans
Purple = Muslims
Green = Serbs
Purple = Slovaks
Lavendar = Slovenes
7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 in
• Neighbors
• Republics (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia,
Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia)
• Nationalities
• Languages
• Religions (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox &
• Alphabets (Roman and Cyrillic)
• Currency (dinar)
Breakup of Yugoslavia
• After Tito’s death, old animosities resurfaced
• In 1990s, move to 5 independent countries – Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
PROBLEMS! Ethnicities don’t
match national lines exactly.
What happens?
• Yugoslavia abolished in 2002 and
renamed Serbia and Montenegro
– Serbs make up 2/3 of population
– Dominate gov’t and economy
• Bosnian ethnic cleansing
• Kosovo ethnic cleansing
• Ethnic Makeup
– 40% Muslim
– 32% Serb
– 18% Croat
• Serbs and Croats
want to reunite with
Serbia and Croatia
Resolution of the Bosnian
• 1996 – Dayton Accords
– Divide Bosnia into 3 regions
• Serbs
– Receive ½ the country though 1/3 of population
» Ethnic cleansing has “paid off”
• Croats
– Receive ¼ of country though 1/6 of population
• Muslims
– Receive ¼ of country though 44% of population before
ethnic cleansing
• Region in Serbia
• Ethnic makeup
– 90% Albanian
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo
• During Tito’s rule, Albanians were given autonomy in Kosovo
• 1999 – Serbs take full control and undertake ethnic cleansing of
– Led by Slobodan Milosevic
– Forced 750K of 2 million ethnic Albanians into refugee camps,
mostly in Albania
Resolution in Kosovo
– NATO attacked Serbia in 1999 & stopped bombing
when Serbia withdrew soldiers from Kosovo
– UN has been protecting Kosovo since
– Independence scheduled in the next few
– Milosevic put on trial for
genocide and “crimes
against humanity”
– Dies in cell because of a
heart attack, March 2006
Balkanization =
The process by which a state breaks down
due to ethnic conflict
• Led to WWI
• After communism,
Balkans are
“balkanizing” again
• Ethnic Divisions
– Hutus (farmers)
– Tutsis (herders, taller,
more “elegant,” lighter skin,
thinner noses)
– BUT, no real difference
between the ethnicities
- TODAY = 84% Hutu, 15% Tutsi
• Colonizers created differences
– More power traditionally given to the Tutsis
• Germany
• Belgium
Rwanda’s Demography
• Slightly smaller than
• BUT densely
– 7 million people
– MD = 5.6 million
• Life expectancy = 48
years old; 2.7% of
country is 65+
• 60% below poverty
Rwanda History of Conflict
• 1962
– Rwanda gains independence; Hutus kill Tutsis on a
massive scale so Hutu tribe gets new gov’t’s power
(Tutsis flee)
• 1990-1993
– Tutsis rebels, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, invades
– Leads to 3 year civil war
– Cease fire between Rwandan gov’t (Hutu) and RPF
(Tutsi) is signed; known as the Arusha Accords
– UN peacekeepers arrive to support power transition
negotiated in Accords
Rwanda History of Conflict
• 1994 –
– Plane goes down killing Rwandan president
(who signed the Arusha Accords)
• Believed to be shot down by Hutu extremist
• Within 24 hours, Prime Minister also murdered
along with 10 Belgium UN Peacekeepers
– Sparked 3 month slaughter of Tutsis
• Rwandan Army (Hutus) and a Hutu militia known
as the Interahamwe
• Kill Tutsis and “sympathizer” Hutus
International Response
• UN withdrew peacekeepers
– Could not intervene b/c they were there to
KEEP peace, not MAKE peace
• Foreigners evacuated
– Tourists
– Embassy workers
– Aid workers (though some stay – Red Cross)
• Genocide?
– State Department trying to “define” legally
End of the Genocide
• Killings continue for 3 months
– 800,000 killed in 100 days
• July 1994 – Killings end when the RPF
(Tutsi militia) reignite civil war
– Overthrow Hutu leaders
– Take control of the country and capital (Kigali)
• Rwandan gov’t and Hutus flee over the
Rwanda Now
• 1998 – Pres. Clinton
• Aug/Sept 2003 – held first
presidential and legislative
elections since genocide
• Tutsis still remain largely in
power, which still
complicates ethnic relations
• Hutu extremists exist across
border lines, also involved in
Dem. Repub. of Congo’s war
1997 – Tutsis overthrow longtime leader Joseph Mobutu
– Ruled from 1965 to 1997
– Africanized the country (Congo to
– Got wealthy off of natural resources
• While people starved
Replaced with Laurent Kabila
– Changes name back to Dem. Rep. of Congo
• Tutsis and Kabila split (and Kabila looks for support from Hutus and
other countries)
• Leads to civil war/violent conflict/ethnic strife in country (1997 –
– Rwanda, Uganda, Chad, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad,
and Sudan all involved
Congo Now
• Kabila assassinated in 2001
• Oct 2002 – Rwandan forces withdraw
• July 2003 – Kabila’s son (Joseph) takes
• Dec 2005 – held referendum on
• 2006 – more elections planned
Northern Ireland
• 1949
– Ireland becomes independent
• Protestants
(want to stay with Britain)
– North
• Catholics
(want to unify all of Ireland)
– South
• Protestants
– In Eng, Scot, Wales
Division of Catholics and
Protestants in Northern Ireland
The 2 Sides
• Catholics – IRA (Irish Republican Army)
• Protestants – UDF (Ulster Defense Force)
Northern Ireland Today
• 1999 - Power sharing agreement between
2 groups, with the help of Great Britain
• Still underlying tensions in the region
• “The Troubles”
1991 – Fall of the
Soviet Union
15 Soviet republics
become independent
Azerbaijan Armenia
Caucasus: Many Ethnicities
Caucasus: Physical Boundaries
Russia v. Chechnya
• Russia = Eastern Orthodox, Russian
• Chechnya = Sunni Muslims, Caucasian
Chechen Independence
• 1991 – Chechnya declares
their independence
• Russia ignores for 3 years BUT…then
becomes afraid that other groups will want
– Also, values OIL and ECONOMIC benefits of
the region
Chechen Conflict Today
• Ongoing skirmishes and violence
• 1997 - Chechens elect a president and Russia
recognized his government. But the issue of
Chechnya's independence was not resolved.
• 1999 - Russia sent troops back in after
Chechen militants crossed into the neighboring
Muslim region of Dagestan in an unsuccessful
attempt to start an armed uprising.
• 2004 – Chechen militants seizure of a school
which resulted in more than 300 deaths.
More Info:
Created after
the fall of the
Soviet Union
90% is Azeri
(green on map)
Many Azeris in
Iran with no
political power
• Created after the fall of
the Soviet Union
• 90% of state is Armenian
• At war since 1988
– Contested border with
– Armenian enclave within
Azerbaijan (area called
• green circle on map;
surrounded by blue
What are some similarities
between all these conflicts?

Ethnic Conflicts Around the World