Critical Essay on King Leopold's Ghost

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In Hochchild’s book, King Leopold’s Ghost, he examines the many conflicts that came about with the colonization of Congo by King Leopold. Colonization was harsh on the colonized people and has brought much harm to the Congolese. They suffered from starvation, slavery, death, mutilation, displacement, and much more. For the many Europeans and Americans that went to the Congo, few helped the native people. Hochchild shows the evil side to colonization in Africa and exposes the Congolese genocide that history has often ignored. Hochchild implies that developments such as the Industrial Revolution had a major impact on the colonization of Africa. The theme of King Leopold’s Ghost is the white greed that drives the horrible genocide in the Congo. The Industrial Revolution had a powerful influence on the colonization of Africa. With the Industrial Revolution Europeans desired to colonize countries to steal their raw materials and to bring them back to the “mother” country to feed the industrial machine. The Europeans imagined that obtaining raw materials from Africa would be easy, cheap, and worthwhile because they thought of the African natives as primitive and un-evolved. The natives did not have the technology that the Europeans had, so when they invaded, Africans did not stand a chance. At the Berlin Conference on Africa, European nations split up Africa into many European colonies without the slightest concern about the native people. When King Leopold of Belgium noticed the money that could be made in Africa, he dedicated his life to colonizing the Congo, killing millions of African natives along the way. In the Congo, the raw materials that King Leopold perused were ivory and later, rubber. King Leopold obtained these raw materials for almost nothing and sold them with inflated prices in Europe. Leopold’s soldiers forced the Congolese into slave labor to extract these raw materials. Consequently, he amassed large quantities of rubber and ivory with low labor...
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