Impact of Leopold II on the Congo - Coggle Diagram
Impact of Leopold II on the Congo
European people thought it a triumph for the King
King was prepared to spend his own money
Summoned a conference in 1876 under false pretences
Result was the deceptively kind front org.: Association Internationale Africaine which soon mutated into the Comite d'Etudes du Haute Congo
How did Leopold gain such large territorial control
Hired Stanley for 50,000 francs a year and instructions to build roads and agree treaties with chiefs he met in Congo
Ordered Stanley to treat their subjects as future 'soldiers' and 'labourers'
Bribes(flashy trinkets) were scattered among the chiefs and weapons..
Within 5 years Stanley had acquired for Leopold a vast and expanding private estate
How viable was the Congo economically?
Treasure house with tropical produce and lots of natural rubber(became more expensive than ivory)
A fall in palm-oil prices threatened other colonies, the price of rubber soared
So did the volume of Congo rubber exported: from under 250 tons in 1892 to over 1,200 tons in 1896.
Exports came to twice as much imports due to cheap rubber production and the States amassed huge surplus of income over expenditure
Nature of Leopold's rule in the Congo
1902 - Had written off English critics as humbugs and he was no longer troubled by his conscience - all he was concerned with was profit
Several atrocities occurred and abuse complaints by foreign missionaries
Most devastating of these atrocities occurred in Congo between the first exploitation of rubber in 1891 and the beginning of direct Belgian rule in 1908 - hunger and deaths due to predatory capitalism
"Leopold ruled without a moral compass" - only interested in steady and rising profits
Cut off hands and feet of labourers who returned from the forest with less than a quota of 8 kilos of sap a fortnight
Thousands of tons of tropical products, mainly rubber, were reaching Europe without any kind of corresponding trade in exchange
Secret profits form the Congo, many times the size of the original investment, that supported the King's lavish spending in Belgium(donation royale)
Created public monuments, avenues, museums, and public parks with money from the Congo
Claimed he had never personally profited from the fortune - but claim was a fraud - had put part of his Congo profits(45 million francs) into a secret trust