Located on the continent of Africa there

Located on the continent of Africa there are two nations thatborder the Central Congo River. These nations are called The DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and The Republic of Congo(Congo-Brazzaville). It should be noted that the Congo-Kinshasa was colonizedby the Belgian empire and is located southeast of the Central Congo River andthat the Congo-Brazzaville located north of the river, was colonized by theFrench Empire during the colonization era. The Congo that is essential to thisresearch is that of the Belgian Empire, Congo-Kinshasa.

The Belgian Empire atthe time, was under the rule of King Leopold II of Belgium, who begancolonizing the country, beginning in the late 19th century. Leopold’s interestin the nation was that of greed and selfishness. King Leopold was driven to findsome imperial territory for himself (Cleary). He was overrun with the idea ofimperialist expansion and ambition. The king began preparing actions that wouldtake place to fulfil his plan.

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During the course of study it was shown thatLeopold’s behavior towards the young colony was brutal. He treated the citizensof the country inhumanely. He took advantage of their lands, natural resources,and labor. Leopold administered the Congo in a notoriously brutal manner, usingit to augment his own personal wealth.

 The Congo’s wealth, which includedits numerous rubber trees, was brutally extracted using what was basicallyslave labor (Achberger). The Belgian King displayed ignorance of the people andtheir needs, he and his council covered their acts with ideas of missionarytrips and bringing modernity to the people. Leopold’s intentions for the youngnation was never to truly see it succeed nor develop it as a vassal, butessentially an opportunity to advance himself, thus leading to brutalconsequences for the nation with decades to follow. Leopold’s quote in which hestated, “I donot want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificentAfrican cake” breathes light on his mentality and beginning of a historicaltragedy. The atrocious acts ofKing Leopold lead to the devastating effects on Congo-Kinshasa that had manyrepercussions, for not only the development of a country but also the soul of anation. The Belgian Colonization of theDemocratic Republic of Congo led to failure in education, loss of heritage, anddevelopment in a nation, through the use of brutal force, dominance, as well aseconomic exploitation.Before being able to fully examine the postcolonial effects ofbrutality on a nation; in depth background and study on the leader of suchcampaign was needed.

Thus causing a frenzy on the background into the King ofBelgium. King Leopold II of Belgium reigned from 1886 to 1909 as the King ofthe Belgians. He was born on April 9, 1835 in the Brussels, Belgium. He died on17 of December, 1909 in Laeken, City of Brussels, Belgium. He died not too longafter his power over the young colony was retracted, due to his lack of concernand behavior in the development of the country. Leopold’s actions in the colonywas so terrible that it is said, “His crimes were worse than even the mostbarbarous dictators of the 20th century.

” The Belgian gain and power over theCongo basin, occurred during the Berlin Conference. The Berlin Conference was ameeting that occurred in 1884 to 1885. It formalized and divided the majorEuropean powers in Africa. This granted the Congo River Basin to King Leopold.

Although the difference in this distribution of power, was that instead ofpower being vested in the Belgium Government it was bestowed upon King Leopoldhimself. This made the vassal personal property to the King of Belgium. Thenation formerly known as Congo-Kinshasa was then changed to the “Congo FreeState”. Thusly meaning that any ruling upon the nation came directly from thatof Leopold. This would prove devastating to the nation, due to the fact thatthere was no form of reformation or laws in place to protect the humanity ofthe people. Ironically the name “The Congo Free State” given to the nation byits overlord fell short, as King Leopold began his exploration and exploitationof the country.

Another organization to note is the International AfricanSociety. This council of people were put together by that of King Leopold inorder to organize and finance exploration of the continent. Under the blessingof the Catholic Church the king began sending his agents beginning in therainforest of the Congo. Although another factor that came forth before anyanalysis could take place on King Leopold’s actions and impact on the nation.This factor was that of a group known as the Force Publique (Public Force).

Force Publique was a colonial army, created largely from local Africans and ahandful of Belgian officers in order to marshal labor, quell revolts, andenforce the collection of rubber and ivory (Peterson). These organizations andfactors were some of the key elements that played a role in the fate of theCongo Free State and the soul of the nation. Education for the Congolese was a tactic used to diminish theirsociety and exploit their lands. King Leopold lacked to properly educate hissubjects.

Lack of centralized education for the Congolese meant they remainedignorant of the imminent fate upon them. In the Congo the citizens had noidentity to step into, causing the stagnant state of their country. With themajority of their population dim to knowledge there could be no one to step upand allow them to develop as other surrounding nations had. Given that theCongo was the third largest country at the time on the continent, along withtheir many ethnic groups and resources it would have given them grounds tobecome a wealthy and powerful nation. Due to the heavy ties between religionand education, the missionaries were charged with the power of education. Inthe education system of the Congo the people were only taught basic principlesand were not permitted to higher education unless is pertained advancement inthe missionary field.

Thus causing instability in the nation, for they lackedthe engineers, politicians, and doctors needed to advance a society. Thiscaused the question to arise: What were the missionaries’ concepts andteachings to the Congolese? Under the rule of King Leopold II the missionariestaught the value of being colonized. “Even so, mostmissionaries could still only muster very little appreciation for thetraditional milieu”(Charles and Hulstaert). The missionaries’ had little concern forthe people’s customs, traditions, or former educational structure. Themissionaries teachings was not something that helped develop the people of theCongo Free State, it caused them to become more dependent on the Belgians.

Themissionaries taught the Congolese that they needed religion and they need acolony. Forming a sort of Stockholm syndrome for the natives. A discussion wascarried out by Alphonse Cayen, a major in the Belgian military at the time hestated (add a footnote), “In order to educate the nation, encouragevocations, in short to form public opinion in a colonial regard, it is ofprimary importance to organise colonial education in the schools of all levelsin an interesting and intuitive way.

“This quote by Major Cayen betterdevelops the conceptualized idea of the Belgian nobles and their king. Theyonly sought after in the nation what would benefit them. The Humanitarianfacade that King Leopold placed was a ruse to bring down the young colony itcaused the nation to implode, as mentioned previously Leopold caused aStockholm syndrome to form by denying proper education and stripping the peopleof their heritage. Diminishing their education and heritage made the Congolesean easy task.

It did not take much to break them down, for they were alreadydown.     The Congolese developed a Stockholm syndromethat stripped them of their heritage and stability in their country causing astagnant nation. Prior to King Leopold’s exploration and colonization of theCongo Free State the country was very rich in minerals and resources.

Thoughafter Leopold’s footing in a country, which he never set foot in he managed tostrip a nation of their soul and cause a lasting effect of dependency. Yearsand decades after Leopold’s touching on the country there are still effects ofdependency, economic failure, political instability, as well as lack ofeducational developments. Why did this country feel that they needed theBelgians? The Congolese people had become indoctrinated by the Belgians; theywere taught in their educational system as well as in their daily lives thatthey were godless savages that needed the protection of the Belgian King, inorder to become a prosperous country. After reading and discovering thebehaviors of the Congolese people after the colonization era and brutalmistreatment, it caused for questioning of what this behavior might stem from.The Congolese people displayed direct signs of Stockholm syndrome.

As explainedby Katherine Westcott, Stockholm syndrome is when, “Thehostages experience a powerful, primitive positive feeling towards theircaptor. They are in denial that this is the person who put them in thatsituation. In their mind, they think this is the person who is going to letthem live.” The Congolese believed that King Leopold wasthe reason they were living. Despite the rampant murders of their people andexploitation of their lands what more could they ask for, especially given thefact that they were in the Darkness of Africa and King Leopold had come todeliver their souls.   Leopold’s gruesome tactics of genocide and theuse Force Publique drained the Congo Free State of economic stability andlimited any chance of postcolonial success. With Leopold’s two decades in theCongo Free State he managed to murder and estimated amount of ten millionpeople. The question came about how could one man cause all this harm? KingLeopold stole the soul of a nation.

He placed their own people against them, aspreviously mentioned, they were known as the Force Publique. The Force Publiquewere sent to enforce the quotas set by their King, failure to meet quota meantmutilation. This was a major mental crisis for the Congolese people. They wereforced to work on rubber plantations, hunt elephants for the ivory, minecobalt, and other sorts of resources, that would then be taken manufactured andsold on the global market. Meanwhile the profits gain would be lost to them,never to come back to their economy thus leaving them even more impoverishedthan when they started.

The economy of the nation was being drained from bothends. Their lands were being raped and their labor force was diminished, with amounting death toll they could not stop. The Colonial mismanagement andoppression led not only to the killing and maiming of native peoples, but alsoto overwork, disease, starvation, and a host of other factors that all combinedin a massive loss of life.(Peterson).  Now given the idea that the people becamedependent to Leopold as well as fear for their lives, due to the Force Publiquethey lost their soul and their heritage. The people began to conform to theirtreacherous lives for nearly three decades.

The country became stagnant becausethey were not able to stand on their own. There was no culture aspect or anythingto believe in. The Congolese population had diminished rather quickly, it wasgenocide carried out under the lie of a humanitarian effort. The Congolesecould not up rise or rebel.  Rebellions were put downswiftly and violently, often by killing all those who refused to work. The bodiesof rebels were often displayed as a warning to others (Peterson). With the massgenocide and Force Publique as a form civil law it affected the economygreatly.

The economy was impacted because they had less people in the laborforce compared to when they started and the mutilation of limbs put the peopleat a disadvantage. But that was not where the situation peaked the extractionof resources and the slave trade with in the nation also put a drain on theeconomy. Belgian extraction of ivory, rubber, and cobaltas well as the Atlantic Slave Trade further placed the Congo colony into aneconomic downturn. The term economic downturn is used to describe the lowestpoint of an economy.

On a graph the economic downturn would be the trough ofthe cycle. And this was the state that the Congo Free State was in, while theKing of Belgium personally became wealthier.  Everydistrict had quotas for producing ivory, gold, diamonds, rubber, and anythingelse the land had to give up. Leopold II handpicked governors, each of whom hegave dictatorial powers over their realms. Each official was paid entirely bycommission, and thus had great incentive to pillage the soil to the maximum ofhis ability (Stockton). A discussion was held by David Kenneth a history writerhe explained, “King Leopold extracted ivory and rubber fromthe Congo to use in the manufacture of goods in Belgium. These goods in turnsold on the international market for a profit.

The people who actuallyperformed the work in the Congo received none of these profits. Leopoldenriched himself at the expense of the Africans. Further ensuring theimpoverishment of the people, Leopold enacted laws preventing European tradersfrom paying Africans currency in exchange for rubber. Instead, Europeans couldonly exchange other goods, in a barter system, to any Africans who mightsomehow come into possession of rubber (Kenneth).” The Congolese were not ableto profit in any way from their hard work and labor, and going back to thediscussion by David Kenneth if the Africans were to come into any resourcesthey could not personally receive any monetary value.

Money is an importantmedium of exchange and is needed for the upturn in an economy. The Congolesedid not receive that privilege, the fact that they were only allowed to work ona barter system means that anything they exchanged was essentially lessprofitable than what they were giving. Nevertheless there was a greater problemat hand for the people. Before the Belgians entered their country they were alreadybeing hunted and captured by the Arabs east and sold in the Arabian Slave.

However, when King Leopold came to power he may have been able to stop theArabs from enslaving his people, but he began doing the same thing. He beganselling the Congolese people in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Leopold’s hypocritical rhetoric claimed hewanted to develop the Congo to protect the natives from the Afro-Arab slavetraders who still operated in Kenya and Tanzania. Leopoldpromised to build schools, homes, and to liberate the Congolese people fromArab slave traders.  But under the rule of Leopold, very little was doneto improve the wellbeing (footnote needed) of the citizens, and instead aregime was instituted that operated solely through force of might.  He was even funded by Britainin 1883, to help stop this event that was occurring.

Nevertheless the power ofwealth caused Leopold to fall deeper into his lies and essentially become ahypocrite as he sold of his people to the new world and progressively becamewealthier in the process.    King Leopold’s actions in the Congo-Arab Warbenefited the Congo people but led to further failure in their economy.Although King Leopold was a disgraceful man, not only to himself but to anentire nation, he did manage to end one thing in Africa even though it was doneout of selfishness. A war between the people of the Congo Free State and theArabs of the east broke out on November of 1892. The lead of the Arab group wasSefu bin Hamid, the son of Tippu Tip. Fighting occurred in the easternCongo between 1892 and 1894.

It was a proxy war, with most of the fightingbeing done by native Congolese, who aligned themselves with either side orsometimes switched sides. The causes of the war were mainly economic, sinceLeopold and the Arabs were contending to gain control of the wealth of theCongo. The war ended in January 1894 with a victory of Leopold’s ForcePublique. Initially King Leopold II collaborated with the Arabs but competitionover the control of ivory and Leopold II’s humanitarian pledges to the BerlinConference to end slavery, turned his stance to confrontational.(GeorgesNzongola-Ntalaja: The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History, 2002, ISBN 1842770535,page 21) King Leopold managed to end Hamid’s slave trade in the Congobut essentially the win barely benefited the people they were still beingtortured and brutalized they just had one less factor that was inflicting thepain upon them. The impact of the Congo-Arab War was essentially just another element in King Leopold’s colonization ofthe people that was used to take advantage of their lands and resources. KingLeopold fought this proxy war to make sure he had no competition, meanwhile hewas stealing their resources and selling them with no profit for the people ortheir economy.

He single-handedly brought down a whole nation and an economy.   OverallKing Leopold’s reign in The Congo Free State was one of great tragedy andinfliction of pain for the people that inhabited these lands. King Leopold’srule became so know and unaccepted by the other major European Powers that hewas stripped of his title and lands conceding all power to the BelgianGovernment in 1908, and the country’s name was changed to the Belgian Congo.King Leopold had a negative effect on this country and there is no way todisregard that. Never mind the fact that he ended the Arabian Slave trade within the country, ity then caused for the Congolese to be sold on a greaterfield, which was the Atlantic Slave Trade.

King Leopold’s rule war so atrociousthat the Congo Free State, commonly known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo,still faces economical problem, educational rifts, and political corruption.Leopold had a lasting effect on the country that is still existing in themodern perspective of things nearly centuries after he was removed from power.Through the extensive research and information gathered it could be stated thatLeopold’s reign in the Congo Free State had detrimental effects on the country.The people lost everything they had and were treated worse than can bedescribed.

The Belgian Colonization of the Congo under the rule of King LeopoldII of Belgium was impacted the country poorly, while he was able to build animperial force and gain millions of the backs of forced labor and brutality


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