24 March, 2015
King Leopold’s Ghost
King Leopold’s Ghost starts off with the discovery of the Congo River by the Portuguese’s a couple hundred years earlier. King Leopold will end up buying the Congo from the now weak Portuguese’s in secret. After he buys the central African land he finds out that there are many resources there and a lot of money to be made. King Leopold has Stanly explore the region and eventually has him build up there infrastructure, at first by build a fort at the base of the Congo River and roads that go around the some 200 miles of rapids, these roads will eventually become the rail ways. In order to build up the Congo’s infrastructure King Leopold allowed the use of forced labor. This is something he has been publicly claiming he wanted to end. Thing only get worst with the rubber boom, this is when slavery was everywhere in the Congo and “rebels” or the locals tried to fight back but locals loyal to the King had to cut off the hands and Feet of the rebels to prove that they really killed them. Finally people started to notice what was going on in the Congo and wanted to end the suffering of the Congo people. They expose to the world what was really happening and King Leopold sells the Congo to the Belgium government, he made a massive amount of money. However even after the transfer of power change was still a long time away because it was still the same people who lived in the Congo continued to cause harm and suffering.
1. What are the author’s sources and what are the source’s problem and limitations?
When King Leopold brought the Colony from the Portuguese’s he did so in secret so that the other Europeans would not know what he was up to. He wanted the Congo for their abundance of resources. He had the now famous explorer Stanly trick the local tribes into selling or even just giving their land the King Leopold. King Leopold then set up a series of different committees with other western nations, to make appear that he truly cared about the ingenious people and wanted to help them develop. However in reality he was using them as slaves for a means of free labor. Thing will only continue to get worst in the Congo. He soon had the slaves killing the rebellious friends and family for try to be free and in order to prove that you did indeed kill them you had to cut off the hands and feet. King Leopold made a fortune of the Congo which he used to live his very extravagant life style.
Situation in the Congo could be described as a living hell for the local people that only continued to get worse and worse. As I stated earlier he trick the Congo people to in to giving over their land to himself. At first he was just using slave labor and the selling of slaves to the Americas as a means of money and free labor there in the Congo. King Leopold as did not build any schools or hospitals as he had promised the only thing that were build was the infrastructure that would be making himself money he did not care about the local population what so ever. Thing only got much worst with the Rubber Boom. During this time is when King Leopold was made the most money and the most amount of violence was going on in the Congo. In order to have complete control he had any resistor tortured and or killed. If you did not kill the rebel and cut off their hands and feet to prove you too will be torture and killed. During the time it is estimated that fifty percent of the