Monday, February 3, 2014

Research on Congo Free State (1885-1908)

               The Congo Free State was an area in Central Africa controlled by Leopold II who was the King of Belgium. Leopold became the leader of the international committee on civilization for the Congo. He also became the head of the humanitarian committee in central Africa which had a goal of science and peace. He used this power in these committees to convince the international committee to allow him influence in the Congo Basin. His only goal in Africa was to make a state for commercial gain, and he had a secret plan to make a trade route for ivory in Africa.
                When Leopold II was given influence in Africa he promised to stop the slave trade and keep free commerce. He pledged that he had a philanthropic and scientific agenda. Once he gained power, he did the complete opposite of his agenda. He began to limit the natives land and trade because he wanted to make money off the mineral resources and ivory. He developed a monopoly over the ivory in Africa. He also encouraged the East African slave trade because he wanted more workers for free. Plus, imposed duties on the native. Although he broke all the promised he made when he assumed power, he began a genocide when the commercial state was not doing well financially.
                He eventually forced men to work for him without pay so that he would make more profit. He would exploit the men and prosecute their families if they did not make certain quotas. There were some rebels, but Leopold’s army easily put them down. He would kill the families of men if they did not reach their quotas in ivory or other minerals. Many Congolese people were enslaved during this time as well. The Congolese population dropped rapidly due to murder, starvation, and disease. 

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