Africa has had some atrocities occur in its history. One of those was the tyranny of King Leopold. In order to gain control of Congo King Leopold would use violent force and control economic monopolies. His violence was fairly unknown by the rest of the world until some missionaries and other Europeans came into Africa and witnessed the horrors. The missionaries would go on to write about what they experienced and spread the word to inform society of what is occurring. Most of the violence done by King Leopold was coming from the hands of his military called the Force Publique. They would do brutal things like hold family members hostage of citizens who did not fallow King Leopold’s orders. Performing amputations especially on kids were …show more content…
A majority of the missionaries were catholic and Leopold himself also practice Catholicism so he used his religion in order to cover up what he was doing. One missionary that was different from the other was William Sheppard. Instead of forcing his religion on people he got to know and understand the way of life of the people in Africa. He first stumbled upon a Kuba tribe. They at first were hostile towards him and were even going to behead him but later they decided that their ancestor’s spirits were living through him. This tribe was deep in the Congo forests and were protected from most of the other tribes and the Congo government. Even though the tribe didn’t accept Christianity, Sheppard still stayed because he was able to make relationships with the people there. Sheppard, like many other missionaries at the time, was trying to add relief for captives and other distressed people. William Sheppard was different from other missionaries however because he was African American. He had a white supervisor who he was friends with. His inspiration for going to Congo was because of a movement for slaves in America to go back to Africa. He stayed in Africa for quite some time though because of the relationships he made and because of the things he witnessed. He discovered amputated children who had their limbs amputated due to low productivity from family members in the
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In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great
During the late 19th to early 20th century, King Leopold II impacted the African Continent and the larger International community more than any other European monarch. Firstly, King Leopold II sinisterly orchestrated a colonization operation that is comparative to a genocidal regime. Secondly, King Leopold II’s actions in the Congo led unified condemnation across oceans from a broad range of socioeconomic statues. Lastly, the opposition forces against King Leopold II’s colonization of Congo helped pave the way for future justice on the continent as well as internationally. Ultimately, this Europe created the competitive environment that promoted King Leopold II’s quest for colonization.
Many misconceptions are still believed by people because of the ignorance promoted by the mass media. Celebrities use Africa to gain publicity, by donating large sums of money to charities that promise to “save” Africa. Ultimately the money is not being used as intended and most likely fuels corrupt governments in the areas it intends to help. As pointed out by Achebe, Africa is considered “alien” or “foreign”, which leads many to believe that the people that live there are not human beings themselves. By making Africa seem unfamiliar and “dark” it further discourages people from believing anything other than the single story.
He uses different perspectives to convey the different moments throughout the book, albeit some are biased toward the European imperialism (opposing Hochschild’s thesis). The diverse reference points throughout the story make for an effective support for Hochschild’s argument because he cross-applies these sources and justifies why one may be more reliable to use. Hochschild even uses the evidence which appears to controvert his thesis to give an explanation for why the imperialism occurred in the first place. He quotes Leopold when the Belgian king was still looking to receive the Congo, reciting “We… wishing to secure for Our beloved fatherland the fruits of the work which, for many long years… have been pursuing on the African continent… declare by these presents, to bequeath and transmit… all Our sovereign rights over [the Congo Free State]” (Hochschild 95). Hochschild then writes, “There was one added twist. When the king made public his will, it was backdated, so that his bequest looked like an act of generosity instead of part of a financial bargain” (Hochschild 95). By exposing Leopold’s actions, Hochschild convincingly allows the reader to understand the moral flaws in Leopold’s imperialism. Additionally, Hochschild backs up these claims with eyewitness accounts of the Congolese peoples who had suffered. One report explains the natives hatred for one general,
Africa was once a thriving and wonderful continent filled with luxurious and wealthy kingdoms, but that had all changed when a new and appalling type of slavery was introduced. Around the 18th century, Africa became an ideal place for Europeans to trade and buy slaves from. The slave trade in Africa seemed to be manageable and somewhat peaceful before the Europeans brought in a new type of slavery. When the Europeans bought slaves from Africans, they kept them as slaves for life which were very different from how long slaves were kept in Africa. Europeans kept slaves in extremely poor conditions and treated them as if they were less than human. These actions caused a great spike in the slave trade all over the world and many
The rule of King Leopold II instilled disturbing methods of ruling. He enslaved the people of The democratic republic of Congo (Congolese) to gather him resources that would only benefit him. He was willing to do whatever it took to gain resources, even if it meant enslaving the people. “ King Leopold II nearly enslaved many of the Congolese people in order to gain wealth, and to bring power” (Citation) imperialism had a negative impact on the country, it had a long lasting impacts on the country because he depleted them of their resources which means they don't have much to export as a country now. King Leopold II used the people as slaves to gather their resources due to the danger of the work, which resulted in many casualties and injuries. He wanted to rule the country as he wanted rather than what was right for the people. He lied to the Belgian government in order to gain power of the country, by saying that his
King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild explains the lead up to and the establishment of the Congo Free State under Belgium. Hochschild does so through many accounts of the life going on inside the Congo during the exploration of the Africa and the beginning of an established government in the Congo. The death toll during Leopold’s reign could have reached over 10 million before the Belgium government would take the Congo away from the out of control Leopold. This could make the Leopold’s Congo one of the worst genocides in human history. Unfortunately there was no basis for recording the murders by Leopold’s officers, so we will never know the exact figure of the death toll.
Throughout the book Hochschild shows the dedication of Morel, and major roles that characters played to shape the history of the Congo like Stanley, and William Sheppard (who was one of the most outspoken out of all American Congo missionaries.) The author examined the Congo because it shows how extreme colonialism is and what it was like for people that were under a colonial rule. I think this book has a clear meaning and thesis, Hochschild wanted to expose what happened in the Congo because he felt like it had been covered up and he wanted to paint the readers a picture that they would never forget. My theory is I don’t believe that King Leopold was there for the greater good and to better the Congolese people. I think it’s obvious from
King Leopold’s actions were appalling, even to his own people and as a result he was removed from the throne and the land was annexed by Belgium. Another result was several countries taking notice of Leo’s exploits, and the “Scramble for Africa” Began.
Leopold feeling squeezed out by the British, French Empires, and the rising power of Germany, studied forms of colonialism from the Dutch East Indies, to the British possession in Indian and Africa. Leopold's regime, despite his studies, differed from those of those of his fellow colonialists. Leopold schemed to build himself a forced labor camp on a massive expanse of central Africa and was quite smooth with pulling all of this off. Through methods of bribery, chicanery, brute force and almost supernatural sense of cunning, Leopold had
The book, King Leopold’s Ghost covers information from the 1840s (Hochschild 21) to now about the Congo past and present, but King Leopold’s reign of terror was from 1885-1906 (History of the Belgian Congo). The phrase ‘reign of terror’ is not an exaggeration, for King Leopold’s ownership of the Congo was very horrific. It all started when Henry Morton Stanley went in search of
Leopold never actually stepped foot in Congo, he had used explorers such as Stanley Mortan and other white men to establish the colony for him. To sneakily undergo his objectives without other countries noticing, he created organizations in which he could operate under. For instance, the International African Association to stop the outspread of slavery. Leopold additionally hosted conference meetings to speak on human rights. “If he was to seize anything in Africa, he could do so only if he convinced everyone that his interest was purely altruistic”. (46) King Leopold succeeded at convincing every one of his goodwill, that he was supported financially from the Belgian government in introducing free trade and religion in the Congo.
Since Belgium was not in direct control of the Congo colony, Leopold could and did act as he pleased in the region. However, Leopold soon ran out of money and borrowed heavily to cement his control over the Congo. Luckily, Rubber became a highly demanded resource, and the Congo had abundant rubber, which made the state economically viable. Unfortunately, due to the lack of colonists, Leopold ended up forcing Congolese to work to gather the rubber. International powers, specifically the U.S. and Britain, sent expeditions to the Congo to observe and report on the conditions there, as rumors abounded that Leopold was using particularly brutal methods, such as requiring soldiers to present severed hands to display an effective use of weaponry , to enforce rubber collection. Foreign visitors and inspectors, such as E.D. Morel, who determined that Congo was “being ‘systematically robbed’,” Roger Casement, whose trip to the interior of the Congo stopped early due to “‘touching only the outermost fringe of horrible reality’ [and being] physically exhausted and emotionally distraught” and Edgar Canisus, whose descriptions of the Rubber Collecting methods of the Congo detailed the harshness of the regime. The work of these men caused both Britain and the United States to force Belgium to
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa is the informative history book written by Adam Hochschild, telling what seems to be the lost Holocaust of the late 1800s which continued into the early 1900s in Belgium. Under the ruling of King Leopold II, Belgium exploited the Congo and committed horrendous crimes against the native people of the Congo for King Leopold’s own political and economic gain. The driving force that lead to Belgium and King Leopold exploiting and colonizing the Congo was the abundance and variety of resources that it had to offer, which Belgium wanted to utilize. Countries and populations were unaware of the genocide of millions of people that were victims of murder, starvation, exhaustion,
Throughout the course of history mankind has lived by the old cliche “live by the sword die by the sword, but is that what they halfheartedly believe? Darwin believed in his theory of natural selection, yet how can a nation or tribe advance when barbarians are constantly looking for people to