Mwami of Burundi
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Burundi,
with the royal karyenda drum surmounted on the top
Last to reign
Ntare V Ndizeye

8 July – 28 November 1966
StyleHis Majesty
First monarchNtare III Rushatsi
Last monarchNtare V Ndizeye
Formationc. 1680
Abolition28 November 1966
ResidenceGitega and Bujumbura, Burundi
Pretender(s)Princess Rosa Paula Iribagiza

This article contains two versions of the list of kings of Burundi, the traditional version before 1680 and the modern genealogy. The Kingdom of Burundi was ruled by sovereigns, titled mwami (plural abami), whose regnal names followed a cycle: Ntare (meaning 'lion'), Mwezi (meaning 'moon'), Mutaga, and Mwambutsa. Traditionally, it was thought that there had been four complete cycles but the modern genealogy indicates that there were only two complete cycles, starting with Ntare III Rushatsi.

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A mwami headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) which owned most of the land governing its subjects with superiority and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders who lived in forests. The Tutsi monarchy ruled the nation for centuries, but became largely ceremonial with the colonization of the nation by the German Empire in 1899. The kings continued to nominally rule through German and Belgian colonial periods, and the monarchy continued after the nation gained independence from Belgium in 1962. Burundi ceased to be a monarchy when King Ntare V Ndizeye was deposed by Prime Minister and Chief of Staff, Colonel Michel Micombero, who abolished the monarchy and declared a republic following the November 1966 coup d'état.[1][2]

Kings of Burundi

Traditional list

The dates before 1900 are estimates.

Modern list

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Mwezi IV Gisaboc. 1840 – 21 August 1908
(aged c. 67–68)
c. 185021 August 1908Son of Ntare IV Rutaganzwa RugambaAbaganwa
Mutaga IV Mbikijec. 1892 – 30 November 1915
(aged c. 22–23)
21 August 190830 November 1915Son of Mwezi IV GisaboAbaganwa
Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng(1912-05-06)6 May 1912 – 26 March 1977(1977-03-26) (aged 64)[3]16 December 19158 July 1966[4]Son of Mutaga IV MbikijeNtweroMwambutsa IV Bangiriceng of Burundi
Ntare V Ndizeye(1947-12-02)2 December 1947 – 29 April 1972(1972-04-29) (aged 24)[5]8 July 1966[4]28 November 1966[1]Son of Mwambutsa IV BangiricengNtweroNtare V Ndizeye of Burundi


(Based on the modern list)

Ntare V of BurundiMwambutsa IV of BurundiMutaga IV of BurundiMwezi IV of BurundiNtare IV of BurundiMwambutsa I of BurundiMutaga III of BurundiMwezi III of BurundiNtare I of Burundi

Royal Standard

See also


  1. ^ a b "BURUNDI PREMIER SETS UP REPUBLIC; Micombero Asserts He Has Overthrown the King". The New York Times. 29 November 1966. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ "MICHEL MICOMBERO, 43, DIES; FORMER PRESIDENT OF BURUNDI". The New York Times. 18 July 1983. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Ex‐King of Burundi Dies". The New York Times. 1 May 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Power in Burundi Seized By Absent King's Son, 21". The New York Times. 9 July 1966. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Burundi Says Ex‐King Is Dead as Coup Fails". The New York Times. 1 May 1972. Retrieved 28 February 2024.