2 Belgian Congo or Congo Free State The Belgian Congo Congo Free StateThe Congo Free State was held as the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium from 1876 to 1908.1876: Leopold organizes a meeting in Brussels to discuss a plan “to open to civilization the only part of our globe where Christianity has not yet penetrated and to pierce the darkness which envelops the whole population.”
3 King Leopold II and the Congo Free State “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting a slice of this magnificent African cake.” --Leopold II (after Brussels conference)“
4 Congo Free State1884: Bismarck calls European powers to Berlin for a conference that leads to the Scramble for Africa.Leopold is given complete control over the Congo Free State; in return he guarantees free trade rights: no monopolies; no taxes and tariffs, no restriction on trade.1908: Leopold bequeathed the CFS to Belgium for 150m francs.
5 Berlin Conference“Here is Russia and here is France, with Germany in the middle. That is my map of Africa.” --Bismarck
7 Belgian CongoLeopold’s rule resulted in the torture and murder of an estimated six to ten million Congolese between 1888 and 1908.The population of the Congo was reduced by half.Ivory became a Belgian monopoly. Rubber from rubber trees for tires very lucrative.
8 Belgian CongoThe rubber harvest was entirely worked through slave labor. Reports of amputation and torture.Congo Reform Association established in 1903 by Roger Casement (friend of Conrad’s).Casement got Conrad to write a letter about conditions in the Congo: “It is an extraordinary thing that the conscience of Europe which seventy years ago …put down the slave trade on humanitarian grounds tolerates the Congo state today.”
10 Causes and Justifications for Partition Imperialism--Capitalism and Industrial RevolutionSocial DarwinismMorality and the Civilizing MissionEuropean Balance of PowerAfrican Resistance to Merchants spurs military conquestGreed