Around the year 1897 Edward Morel noticed something that would change the way the modern world viewed the colonization of Africa and the supposed “humanitarian” work there forever (Hochschild 1). Morel worked for an English shipping company that was responsible for cargo going between the Congo Free State and Belgium. What Morel noticed was that ships from Africa were filled with rich, exotic goods like rubber and ivory, but the ships headed to Africa from Belgium were filled with military members and various firearms and ammunition (Hochschild 2). Morel made the conclusion that the cause of this odd “trade” between Europe and Africa was slave labor. European colonization of Africa was a slow, arduous process resulting in the deaths of …show more content…
Soon, with the invention of the tire, rubber became a hot commodity. Fortunately for King Leopold, the Congo Free State had an abundance of rubber as well, and thus Leopold even further invested in Africa, creating roads and railways to transport goods past the treacherous African landscape (CITATION).
Fast forward to the years 1890-1910, when Leopold’s sole focus was on the Congo Free State, the rich cargo being exported out of the colony, and convincing the Western world that the work being done in Africa was for the health and wealth of Africans. In fact, Africans, many who lived in peaceful civilizations, were subject to forced labor and horrible atrocities. Soldiers infiltrated the Congo Free State, often stealing the Africans’ food, goods, and committing mass killings (Hochschild 229). The colonization of Africa was not a peaceful one, as Stanley stated “combat was always part of exploring” (Hochschild 49). Whereas Europeans had the latest rifles and even elephant guns, Africans were armored with primitive spears and bows and arrows. Before infrastructure had been established, porters were used to carry steamboat pieces, provisions, and sometimes ivory. These porters were often starved and worked to death, as Edmond Picard, a Belgian senator, described when he visited the Congo in 1896:
Unceasingly we meet these porters… black, miserable… most of them sickly,
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
The lives of natives were reduced to nothing but machines of profit. In The Black Man’s Burden, Edward Morel argued that, “To reduce all the varied and picturesque and stimulating ways of savage life to a dull routine of endless toil for uncomprehended ends, to break social ties and disrupt institutions; to stifle natural desires and crush mental development… to kill the soul in a people - this is a crime which transcends physical murder.” European nations withered away at the very character of the nations they subjected to their rule. Their very culture was destroyed, replaced with monotonous slavery. Because of this, African kings made it clear they wouldn’t stay idle. In a quote from Machemba, the king of Yao to a German commander, he explained “I have listened to your words but can find no reason why I should obey you - I would rather die first… [T]o be your subject, that I cannot be. If it should be war you desire, then I am ready, but never to be your subject. I do not fall at your feet, for you are God’s creature just as I am.” The African nations were hoping for friendship between them and Europe, but they wouldn’t be subjected to their rule and would rather go to war. Instead of the vast benefits of actual trade between two sovereign nations, Europeans dismantled any further chance of
For Europeans, the African Congo was a land full of unsolved mysteries and intriguing economic prospects in the second half of the 19th century. It was the last region of Africa to be explored by Europeans; for over 400 years, Europeans had attempted time and time again to explore the region, and yet all had succumbed to unbearable hardships and impassible terrain. It is likely that this region would have remained unexplored until very recently if it were not for a man named Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley was the first European explorer to lead a successful journey into Congo, overcoming the unbelievable probability of failure to open up the heart of tropical Africa to European imperialism. However, his journey was neither smooth nor
The first chapter in Boahen’s book is titled “Eve of Colonial Conquest” and this section gives the readers a background of the colonialism in Africa through a look at the fundamental economic, political, and social changes that occurred just a few decades before colonialism took root. Boahen states that the trade of “natural products” is the most significant economic change in Africa by 1880. Just before the trading of “natural products” slave trades were abolished.
The imperatives of capitalist industrialization, including the call for guaranteed sources of raw materials, especially copper, cotton, rubber, tea, and tin (European consumers had become accustomed to, and thus depended on these resources), and the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets, which territories like the gold and diamond-rich Egypt and South Africa provided, caused the European conquest for Africa. Therefore the primary reason for European colonization in Africa was
Africa has had a long and tumultuous road of colonization and decolonization the rush to colonize Africa started in the 17th century with the discovery of the vast amounts of gold, diamonds, and rubber with colonization hitting a fever pitch during World War I. However, the repercussions of colonization have left deep wounds that still remain unhealed in the 21st century. Early on, European nations such as Britain, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium scrambled for territories. Countries wanted land so they could harvest the resources, increase trade, and gain power. The European colonization of Africa brought racism, civil unrest, and insatiable greed; all of which have had lasting impacts on Africa.
Once Africa got involved with the major trading centers, trade improved and they were able
In the Mid-1800s the Europeans Imperialised Africa for three main reasons. Those reasons being Cultural, Political, and Economic. The Europeans were encouraged by all the resources, and a way to find a peaceful way to divide Africa up. What motive did the Europeans have about taking over Africa? The best motive for the Europeans was economic because they needed the natural resources for the benefits.
During the nineteenth century, Europe was scrambling to colonize Africa. Before the year 1880, Europe controlled only ten percent of Africa. However, due to the Industrial Revolution and its inventions, Europe obtained the means to go into Africa and take what they wanted. Some countries wanted the raw materials from Africa while others thought that by taking control of the land, it would show how they were superior to other nations and would gain respect. Some Europeans thought that because they were superior it was their duty to help the Africans. European powers scrambled to colonize Africa because they wanted respect, to strengthen the economy, and to civilize the Africans.
With several overtly expressed themes, one can clearly see the consequences of imperialism, racism, and capitalism which explicitly addressed in the book. In this paper, I’d like to draw attention to an underlying theme which played many pivotal roles throughout the course of the conquest of the Congo: technology. Technology was a key component in both constructing King Leopold’s empire in the Congo and in dismantling it through the efforts of the international human rights movement led by E.D Morel and Roger Casement. Different technological instruments make their appearance subtly throughout the book but three specific innovations had major impacts on the development and disintegration of the Belgian Congo: river steamers, the telegraph, and photography. Without these inventions, Leopold’s detailed orchestration of the Congo conquest would’ve been an impossible venture. These instruments brought about improvements in exploration and communication which made Leopold’s covert manipulation and Stanley’s navigation through the Congo feasible.
Imperialism is the building of an empire by using power in the form of economic, political or military means. In Africa this was shown widely under the rule of King Leopold. King Leopold was the ruler of Belgium. While he was in rule, he had an obsession with trying to find Belgium a colony. In the 1830s the only country left for capturing was Africa. Africa was so interesting to him as a result of over half of it was still led by the native people, which he knew that he could out rule. Also, Africa flourished in multiple resources. These include: ivory, rubber, timber, coffee, gold, and that is only a few of the variety resources contained there. With the knowledge of what was there Leopold sent out Stanley to map the Congo River, which is
The colonization and capture of African region by European, or so call “Scramble for Africa” was between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist attack. Europeans have been elaborate in Africa since the 16th century when the Portuguese used their cannons to take over the coast to set up their operating post territory. In the beginning of 19th century, European only had control over 10 percent of Africa. But not until the second half of 19th century, European suddenly and spectacularly succeeded at colonizing basically all of Africa. The reason for European causing imperialist push into Africa was economic, political, and social. But the primary motivation for European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa
It was 1850. The Europeans enhanced their chokehold over their Asain Dominions and proxies, and the indiginous peoples of Oceania were wiped out. However, Africa still was left quiet. Passed by the British ships en route to the Orient, Africa was relatively untouched by the enticing fruits of European imperialism. The slave trade, formerly a lucrative business in West Africa, was banned by the powerful British, and most of the population was not under colonial rule. While Africans were certainly aware of the European presence on their continent, and vice-versa, the two groups mostly kept to themselves. Other than the occasional traders and explorers, Africa was the continent most devoid of European Imperialism. Europeans
The years following the Berlin Conference were marked by the Europeans’ race to occupy and colonize land in Africa. A time of growth for Europe resulted in a decline in Africa’s ability to rule their own land. Africa’s fate was being decided for it by the European invaders. However, many Africans refused to give in to the fate being handed to them by the Europeans. Various actions and reactions marked the Scramble for Africa from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Africans chose to deal with the Europeans in many different fashions, from giving in peacefully to fighting back with everything they had.
Before engaging this topic Thornton describes the difference between international trade and trade amongst merchants and villages or towns. Trade and commerce on a small scale for instance, between merchants and towns would not have been the concern of controlling governments unlike long distance trade like that between countries. With this in mind trade was not without regulation and taxation from the governing bodies involved and the mere existence of African trade regulations works to demonstrate how well developed Africa was at this time. It is further expressed in the complexities of African trade regulations imposed by different governing bodies on the continent. When thinking of trade regulations it is important to understand that the regulation of the time are not the same as current day or even as secure and functional. Never the less countries imposed their own trade policies for the purpose of slightly controlling trade and attempting to push the outcome of commerce in their favor, while allowing those involved for private interest to also profit. From both sides it was more profitable to commission groups of individuals to embark on trade missions and, after paying them place taxes on the goods received by them and selling them in more easily regulated