Belgian Colonializm in the Congo Free State Essay
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The violent and forced rule of the Congo is a horrific time in African history. The time period beginning with Henry Morton Stanley's first exploration to the Congo, and King Leopold's desire of this area, had been a nightmare for the people of the Congo. The civilizing mission to the Congo not only resulted in the killing of thousands of people but also the destruction of a culture. The two articles, 'Belgian Colonialism in the Congo', and the letter by George Washington Williams, are just two views from this time. Both articles depict very different opinions of what is going on in the Congo and also what should be allowed to go on there. These articles show the very different opinions of someone who has never gone and someone who has…show more content…
What trade was conducted between Europeans and African traders occurred on the coast? (Class notes). When King Leopold decided that he wanted the Congo he knew nothing of the land or the people there, and he did not wish to know. King Leopold relentlessly tried to gain control of this region for his own economic gain. In his Open letter in 1898 Leopold states that, ?I am pleased to think that our agents, nearly all of whom are volunteers drawn from the ranks of the Belgian army, have always present in their minds a strong sense of the career of honor in which they are engaged, and are animated with a pure feeling of patriotism, not sparing their own blood, they will the more spare the blood of the natives, who will see in them the all-powerful protectors of their lives and their property, benevolent teachers of whom they have so great a need? (article #1) This sentence directly states the idea of imperialist thinking. The idea that the people of the Congo are uncivilized and savage is the mindset of King Leopold during the time of Congo colonization. Leopold wishes to take the Congo solely for his own advancement. Allow he says that he wishes to civilize the people there, he does very little of that. The part in the letter where he says that it is better to spare their blood then your own is the way most of the people who went over to the Congo were thinking. A true imperialist idea, that the people there were no better then
The Congo Free State Essay
Over the course of human history, many believe that the “Congo Free State”, which lasted from the 1880s to the early 1900s, was one of the worst colonial states in the age of Imperialism and was one of the worst humanitarian disasters over time. Brutal methods of collecting rubber, which led to the deaths of countless Africans along with Europeans, as well as a lack of concern from the Belgian government aside from the King, combined to create the most potent example of the evils of colonialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s. The Congo colonial experience, first as the Congo Free State then later as Belgian Congo, was harmful to that region of Africa both then and now because of the lack of Belgian and International attention on the colony except for short times, the widespread economic exploitation of the rubber resources of the region, and the brutal mistreatment and near-genocide of the Congolese by those in charge of rubber collecting.
While Leopold II, the King of Belgium, desperately wanted an overseas colony, The Belgian people did not share his enthusiasm; which created the feelings of neglect and apathy Belgium had towards Congo. The Congo Free State, established “in the margins of the Berlin Conference” in 1885, allowed Leopold to “gain international recognition of his possession” which he had begun to take control of since the 1870s. However, while Leopold was securing control of the Congo, the Belgian people were not interested in controlling colonies, as they believed that colonies “would merely soak up resources that would be better used for social purposes at home.” Thus, the Belgian people decided to solve the problem of having an unwanted colony by separating the Belgian government from Congo colony. In the arrangement, “Leopold would act in two entirely separate capacities: In Belgium, he would rule as a Constitutional Monarch, while in the Congo, he would rule as an autocrat.” Thus, the Congo Free State ended up being Leopold II’s possession, and not a colony of Belgium. Since Belgium was not in direct control of the Congo colony, Leopold could and did act as he pleased in the region. However, Leopold soon ran out of money and borrowed heavily to cement his control over the Congo. Luckily, Rubber became a highly demanded resource, and the Congo had abundant rubber, which made the state economically viable. Unfortunately, due to the lack of colonists, Leopold ended up forcing Congolese to work to gather the rubber. International powers, specifically the U.S. and Britain, sent expeditions to the Congo to observe and report on the conditions there, as rumors abounded that Leopold was using particularly brutal methods, such as requiring soldiers to present severed hands to display an effective use of weaponry , to enforce rubber collection. Foreign visitors and inspectors, such as E.D. Morel, who determined that Congo was “being ‘systematically robbed’,” Roger Casement, whose trip to the interior of...
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