preview

The European Colonization Of Africa

Better Essays
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,
Get Access