The Congo Free State

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  • Topic: Leopold II of Belgium, Belgium, Congo Free State
  • Pages : 3 (1166 words )
  • Download(s) : 34
  • Published : February 20, 2006
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The Belgians of the Congo Free State in Africa obtained a vast amount of riches; however, much of it was taken out and brought back to Europe. Belgian ruler King Leopold made himself the dictator of the Congo and spent the riches to form what was nearly his own private colony, the Congo Free State. As we look at how Belgium profited from the colonization of Congo, I am going to refer to the books and films we used in class to help explore and define this topic more proficiently. Belgium discovered many natural materials that were very valuable for the times and could potentially benefit Africa and the western world. These materials, such as rubber and ivory were so valuable that many extremes were taken in order to receive as much as possible. One of the extremes being the cutting off of laborers hands that didn't gather enough rubber. Belgium also received a majority of their money from the taxes they were able to issue when in control of the Congo (Leopold's Ghost, 168). They could tax as much and whatever they wanted, thus producing a profit. But natives paid for Belgium's profits by paying these taxes and doing the necessary labor for obtaining these materials. Much like in the film, The Curse of the Congo, where the Rwanden rebels taxed diamond shop owners in Kisangani large amounts of money to fund their militia.

When Stanly was sent on the expedition to the Congo by King Leopold, he discovered the potential of this area. He found that the river possessed about one sixth of the world's hydroelectric potential. Also, this river was wide and consisted of interconnected waterways in which steamboats could travel through (King Leopold's

Ghost, 62). While Stanly was exploring the Congo area, he discovered that the villages were small and most did not speak the same language. Therefore, it would be easier to take the area over. Soon after exploring the area, Stanly had treaties written up in which chiefs of the villages had to...
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