Bujumbura (bōˌjəmˈbŏrˈə) [key], city (1994 est. pop. 300,000), capital of Burundi and of Bujumbura prov., W Burundi, a port on Lake Tanganyika. Formerly known as Usumbura, it is Burundi's largest city and its administrative, communications, and economic center. Manufactures include food products, cement and other building materials, textiles, soap, shoes, and metal goods. Livestock and agricultural produce from the surrounding region are traded in the city. Bujumbura is Burundi's main port and ships most of the country's chief export, coffee, as well as cotton, skins, and tin ore, via Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania and Congo (Kinshasa). Roads connect the city to cities in the Congo and Rwanda. A small village in the 19th cent., Bujumbura grew after it became (1899) a military post in German East Africa. After World War I it was made the administrative center of the Belgian Ruanda-Urundi League of Nations mandate. Its name was changed from Usumbura to Bujumbura when Burundi became independent in 1962. The Univ. of Bujumbura (1960) is there. The city has an international airport. Since independence, Bujumbura has been the scene of frequent fighting between the country's two main ethnic groups, with Hutu militias opposing the Tutsi-dominated Burundi army.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.