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Zachary

I am a junior at Bart Charter High School hoping to write a good essay.

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The Imeperialism and inhumanities in Leopold's Congo.

May 7, 2014

When people think of Imperialism, they might think about Darth Vader from the beloved Star Wars movies. The reason being, he is the leader of an "imperial" empire. However, despite the fact that Vader is a fictional science fiction character, he is an extraordinary example of imperialism. Keeping that in mind, Imperialism has been a major part of many events in real world history. Remember the Revolutionary War? The Britain used imperialism on the 13 colonies using taxation without representation. However, another imperialistic moment in history that happened was when the greedy King Leopold II of Belgium in Europe, took over the Congo in South Africa. In Adam Hochchilds' novel, "King Leopold's Ghost." Hochchild writes the well researched chronologic events of Leopold's rule from beginning to end. These events of history have been known as, "Leopolds' rape of the Congo." The imperialism begins when Leopold was beginning to create the personal colonies. Sending out the explorer Henry Morton Stanley into the Congo to discover and make ammends with the natives, (tricking them into signing treaties not even written in their language.) The affect was that it gave Leopold much power over their land and he planned to use it to his vision and desire. Africa, at this point in history, was a target for many other countries to control. This was called, "The Scramble for Africa." Seemingly, it was no surprise that Leopold got involved. Having earned the fundings to his Congo* and sending Stanley through it more than once, Leopold along with the Belgian Colonial Empire used military force and exposed the Congo for its newly discovered rubber supply, which was very valuable at the time. Missionaries soon put the natives, known as the Congolese people, to work making them collect rubber. Being that this was known as the "rape" of the Congo, life for the natives was literally inferno on Earth. Some examples were if they did not collect enough rubber they would, have hands cut off, wives and children kidnapped, tied, imprisoned, and sometimes raped, (until the husbands reached the sufficient amount of rubber they needed), or missionaries would kill them right on the spot. Joseph Conrad, author of the book, Heart of Darkness wrote of his experiences when he visited the Congo, which really changed his view on human nature as he writes in his book about the missionaries saying, "I've seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! these were strong, lusty, red eyed devils, that swayed and drove men-men, I tell you…" However, Conrad's view of the "devilish" missionaries was nothing compared to his thoughts about the nearly dead natives, "They were dying slowly-it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom." Seeing these people like this, Conrad was writing down the experiences through his eyes in order to place his readers in his place, to see things through his eyes, to reveal the terryfying truth. Long after Leopold's rule, the Congo was still under Belgian rule, until it became a free state years and years later. However, the Congo would never heal from the scar of Leopold's reign. For as long as time will be chronologically written, the events that occurred in Leopold's Congo will never be erased from history, teaching us a major lesson in humanity. It has taught me to treat people better, because nobody deserves to go through pain like the Congolese. Human nature is the major necessity needed for there to be order among the human race. I also wonder why there are or were so many inhuman people? Like anyone else I guess the answer is probablly just thats the way the world is, who knows? Well, all we can say now is that the Congo is truly free.

  • Leopold had organized a campaign for the congo. Then the major powers, including Leopold, all gathered at The Berlin Conference. The result was Leopold got the fundings he needed, which he himself did not even have to pay.

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