The Congo Free State Essay

1984 Words 8 Pages
Over the course of human history, many believe that the “Congo Free State”, which lasted from the 1880s to the early 1900s, was one of the worst colonial states in the age of Imperialism and was one of the worst humanitarian disasters over time. Brutal methods of collecting rubber, which led to the deaths of countless Africans along with Europeans, as well as a lack of concern from the Belgian government aside from the King, combined to create the most potent example of the evils of colonialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s. The Congo colonial experience, first as the Congo Free State then later as Belgian Congo, was harmful to that region of Africa both then and now because of the lack of Belgian and International …show more content…
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
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