In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Western powers controlled huge territories in Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia, exemplifying a form of statecraft known as imperialism. Throughout the 19th century, newspaper circulation grew enormously, as did the literacy rate in the Western world.
Tribal societies were not considered a real civilization with a recognized government.
Many tribal people did not have permanent settlements and were perceived as passing through or camping out on the land, since they did not have an idea of land ownership. Hochschild points out that when Leopold ordered Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer, to travel up and down the Congo gathering signatures from village chiefs to turn over their land to Leopold, the chiefs had no idea what it meant.
Hochschild tries to counter the idea that the Africans had no civilization by highlighting the Kingdom of the Kongo in the sixteenth century under the African king or ManiKango, Nzinga Mbemba Affonso, who ruled an imperial federation of two to three million people.
What was called the Scramble for Africa refers to the idea that Africa was one of the last unmapped and unexplored places on earth for Europeans in the nineteenth century. Other foreign places had been taken, such as India, the Americas, Australia, and Pacific islands.
Africa was considered dark, mysterious, The theme of evil in king leopolds ghost dangerous, but early on, its riches drew the English, Dutch, Germans, French, Portuguese, and finally, the Belgians to risk their lives to tame it.
Ivory, rubber, gold, diamonds, and minerals were the rewards that attracted the colonial powers needing more and more raw materials for their own industrial and commercial interests. Hochschild points out how strange it was for the Berlin Conference on Africa in to host all the European powers for the question of how to carve up Africa, but not a single African was present.
In that time of empire, native peoples did not count, and their cultures were not appreciated. Leopold had been working all his adult life to find and stake out a colonial claim for Belgium, a latecomer to the race for empire. He actually researched prospects and studied the subject by reading How to Manage a Colony by J.
Money, who told how the Dutch had got rich in Java. In that book, monopoly trading concessions and forced labor are mentioned as techniques that Leopold used.
This racial opinion reflected his own thinking about the African people. He once told a reporter: Rebelling against being yoked by the neck and starved to death doing forced labor was interpreted as idleness. Even intellectuals like Thomas Jefferson believed black people were genetically less intelligent than whites.
This was a widespread racist idea of the time that would account for why blacks were not regarded as fully human. Leopold would set up posts in the Congo and hire soldiers to protect the Congo tribes.
In reality, he used his army to enforce his own system of slavery.
The story of King Leopold has a bittersweet ending because although in this battle of good versus evil, good prevailed, but only at the cost of approximately ten million lives. Leopold and his regime was met with opposition from many individuals and great political powers by the end of his rule in the African colony. Novelist Joseph Conrad, once a ship’s captain on the Congo River, wrote of the inhuman brutality of white colonialism in his characterization of Mr. Kurtz, based on actual jungle agents Conrad knew. Hochschild compares King Leopold II . Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, to give her all her names, although she rarely used the second, was born on the 14th July, , at Washington Hall, Co. Durham, the residence of her grandfather, Isaac Lowthian Bell, F.R.S., afterwards Sir Lowthian Bell, Bart.
The Africans themselves had practiced slavery by taking captives in war. Hochschild makes clear, however, that African slavery practiced on its own people was relatively benign, limited, and part of a cultural system. European slavery in its colonies was violent to the extreme and based on racism.
The explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, was notorious for his racism and announced it openly in his books.
In a remarkable logical turn around, Stanley, known for his brutality, makes himself look like the victim of savages who thwart his noble goals. Although Leopold pretended to Stanley that he wanted to establish a confederation of free negro republics, his aides wrote a different story to Stanley: That would be absurd.
The explorers went to remote areas, like astronauts into the unknown, then came back to tell about their adventures in newspapers and books. Stanley turned every one of his expeditions into print and made a fortune, the most famous explorer of his day.
He was compared to Hannibal crossing the Alps. Stanley was an illegitimate child raised in a British workhouse, having no place in English society. In the Congo, he became a big man, supported by a king, and the tyrant of any expedition he led.
He rose to the top of society in Britain because of his African fame.
Similarly, the agents at the Congo ivory stations were white and often disreputable or powerless at home but found themselves getting rich and exercising complete control of the natives in Africa. This was a formula for abuse, far away from the eyes of society. Kurtz, in Heart of Darkness. Rom trained the troops, wrote a manual on how to take hostages for the forced labor the rubber companies used, and casually killed natives and used their shrunken heads on his garden fence.
A photo of Rom standing on a dead elephant holding his rifle triumphantly sends the message of the macho power these Europeans felt in Africa. He wanted a colony to compete with other European countries. He felt his country was too small and too new to be taken seriously. He looked always to Britain and its empire as the model he aspired to.The story of King Leopold has a bittersweet ending because although in this battle of good versus evil, good prevailed, but only at the cost of approximately ten million lives.
Leopold and his regime was met with opposition from many individuals and great political powers by the end of his rule in the African colony.
Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, to give her all her names, although she rarely used the second, was born on the 14th July, , at Washington Hall, Co. Durham, the residence of her grandfather, Isaac Lowthian Bell, F.R.S., afterwards Sir Lowthian Bell, Bart.
In the late 19th century, King Leopold II of Belgium decided that he wanted to make Belgium a major empire by acquiring territory in Africa.
Leopold was an intelligent and ruthless man who wasn’t afraid to lie or kill in order to expand Belgium’s power. Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin Novelist Joseph Conrad, once a ship’s captain on the Congo River, wrote of the inhuman brutality of white colonialism in his characterization of Mr.
Kurtz, based on actual jungle agents Conrad knew. Hochschild compares King Leopold II . Study your flashcards anywhere! Download the official Cram app for free >.