A monarchy emerged in the Great Lakes region of East Africa in the 1100s, ruled by a Mwami (king) and several Ganwa (princes). It went through a period of expansion until the 1600s when it encompassed approximately the area of modern-day Burundi. In the late 1700s and early 1800s a succession dispute weakened the monarchy, and by the end of the century it had become a German colony. In the aftermath of World War I the colony fell to Belgium. Following international pressure after World War II, Burundi became an independent nation in January 1962.