Democratic Republic of Congo

Topics: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Free State, Leopold II of Belgium Pages: 5 (1796 words) Published: May 14, 2007
Through the late 1800's to present date, Imperialism has reigned through this century. Countries from Europe have gone through Africa and Asia to obtain territory and spheres of influence. Empires use their territory to gaining resources and to set up trading posts. Even America took over territory over China and the Philippines. Although the main reasons for gain the land are for economy boosts and free trade, many countries abused their powers. They cheat the natives with one sided treaties or order them around, most of the time turning them into slaves. King Leopold II was probably the first one to abuse this power. He did it to the Congolese in what is now called Democratic Republic of the Congo. King Leopold of Belgian ordered Henry Stanley to go search around Africa to find rich, resource abundant land. He found a vast region of land in the middle-west part of Africa. Lord Stanley made treaties with the natives that gave King Leopold personal title of Belgian Congo. ("Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Paragraph 2) Soon the Belgian Congo would fall into depression as the Belgians would turn the natives into labor slaves. Belgian Congo is land rich of rubber and Leopold wanted it. "Leopold accumulated a vast personal fortune from ivory and rubber through Congolese slave labor; 10 million people are estimated to have died from forced labor, starvation, and outright extermination during Leopold's colonial rule." ~ "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Paragraph 3. Even after Congo broke free from Belgium in 1960, they faced army mutiny and withdrawal of Katanga, a mineral abundant province. ("Country Profile: Democratic Republic of Congo." Overview, Paragraph 3.) DR Congo is one of the most mineral rich countries in the world, but it is still national turmoil over rebellions and the ongoing war with other African nations. Imperialism in this corrupted country has left it in ruins and as of right now, it's stuck in the middle of a civil war. Although there are problems in Democratic Republic of the Congo presently, it doesn't not compare to the mass genocide from slavery back when it was Belgian Congo. ("Country Profile: Democratic Republic of Congo." Overview, Paragraph 8.) This essay analyzes the horrific events when King Leopold took Congo as his personal land where he exploits its people and compares is to the uncontrollable, but rebuilding present day Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Henry M. Stanley, the well known African explorer who found Dr. Livingstone, was asked from King Leopold II to evaluate the Congo land. King Leopold believed, to ensure the wealth and prosperity of Belgian, he needed to set up colonies. Believing that the Belgians would not support this, he would set the colony up privately. Stanley would sign treaties with the native chiefs and Leopold would claim himself personal sovereign of the Congo Free State. ("Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Columbia Encyclopedia, The Congo Free State, Paragraph 1.) The Berlin Conference (1884-1885) he announce his personal title, not Belgium's, of sovereign of the Congo Free State to the other European powers and America. That was the beginning of Imperialism in Europe and the US. (Wilson. Belgian Congo Handout.)

"Two Force Publique officers, Clément Brasseur and Léon Cerckel, once ordered a man hung from a palm tree by his feet while a fire was lit beneath him and he was cooked to death. Two missionaries found one post where prisoners were killed by having resin poured over their heads then set in fire. This list is much longer."

(Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost Handout.)

That was one of the gruesome ways the Belgian officers punished the Congolese for not working. King Leopold's rule of Congo would prove to be one of the most inhumane regime in this decade. King Leo depended on slave labor to exploit the economic-rich land Congo had to offer. It was selfishly for his benefit. He used the profits to glorify Brussels, Belgium's capital, and...

Cited: "Congo, Democratic Republic of the." Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th edition. 2005.
"Congo, Democratic Republic of the." 2005. Pearson Education, Inc. 28, Apr. 2005
"Country Profile: Democratic Republic of Congo." 16, Feb. 2005. BBC MMV. 28,
Dummett, Mark. "King Leopold 's legacy of DR Congo violence." 24, Feb. 2004. BBC
"Hochschild, Adam." King Leopold 's Ghost. Mariner Books. New York, New York:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
Stolk, Martin. "Heart of Darkness." 15 Jun. 2000. Cairo Times. 3 May 2005.
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