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Belgian Colonializm In The Congo Free State

1040 words - 4 pages

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 witnessed the things that happen. The importance of the King Leopold article is that it gives a clear understanding of his mindset at the time. He wanted this land and its people, in the article he rationalizes the way it is being taken and what is happening there. In Williams? article he reflects on his disappointment of Africa and the horrific things that he witnessed in the Congo. This essay will discuss the reliability of these two sources and whether or not they give an accurate depiction of the Congo and its colonization. It will also compare and contrast the articles, their authors, and will come to a conclusion of which article is more accurate.
King Leopold was the king of Belgium. It is legendary that he had no joy in his life and that he realized that the only thing that would make him happy was to gain more power. (Class notes) In his quest for power and more land he decided that he wanted the heart of Africa. Of course he did not intend to go there himself so he enlisted Henry Morton Stanley to conquer the Congo on his behalf. ?Prior to the 19th century, the rest of the world knew very little about Africa - the Dark Continent. 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...

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