The Historical Basis Of Heart Of Darkness

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The historical basis of Heart of Darkness is the overtaking of the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold subjugated the indigenous people of the Congo in order to use them as slaves in his quest for rubber and ivory, much like that of the Company who said they were helping the natives while searching for ivory and Kurtz who took advantage of the peoples beliefs to have them procure the ivory for him.
In an attempt to attain colonies for Belgium, Leopold acquired a colony of his own as a private citizen. Leopold was able to establish a private holding company known as the “Association Internationale Africaine”. This company was publically intended to be an international scientific and philanthropic association; however under the guise of this company Leopold hired a Henry Morton Stanley to acquire a colony in the Congo. Stanley was able to gain the land by deceiving the chiefs into signing land deal when they thought they were signing friendship treaties. This colony would be known as the Congo Free State after the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885 when the representatives of 14 European countries as well as the United States recognized Leopold’s claim to most of the land that he had acquired. When everything was said and done the Congo Free State was 905,000 square miles, 76 times larger than Belgium. Leopold had total control over an area 76 times larger than the country he ruled, giving him the ability and the power to do whatever he wished. Though Leopold privately
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