White King, Red Rubber, Black Death
“White King, Red Rubber, Black Death,” illustrated how King Leopold II of Belgium acquired the Congo as a free state and exploited it by reign of terror. King Leopold II took over leadership of Belgium from his father, hoping to gain power and wealth, as well as assuming control of overseas territories like most other European nations of the time did. Leopold created, through political lobbying and military force, the Belgian Free State. The Belgian Free State gave Leopold power over the African territory of the Congo, which he soon exploited for its large supplies of ivory and rubber. Leopold and his soldiers used the Congolese natives as forced labor, and those who refused to work for the Belgians or who violated their newly established laws were punished by mutilation, torture, or death. Nearly ten million people were either slaughtered or worked to death in the Congo under Leopold's rule. In the end, Leopold's reign of terror in the Congo became a scandal during the last years of his rule, and he destroyed most of the documents pertaining to the Belgian Free State prior to his death.
Before this History class, I would have never had known about the documentary “White King, Red Rubber, Black Death” and about the many issues that were present in the Congo of Africa in the past. This documentary had left me speechless and astonished in the end. It had truly opened my eyes to the many tragedies that the Africans of the Congo endured under the reign of King Leopold II. Furthermore, I wondered, why throughout the entire reign of King Leopold II didn’t anyone even try bringing him down and making him pay for his cruel punishments depicted upon the Congo popularity?
It amazes me that, during the thirty years that Leopold committed acts of violence and cruelty amongst the Congo, Leopold was still worshiped after by the Belgium’s as the man who colonized the Congo and made the Belgium city wealthy. This is a man who depicted...
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