After the Berlin conference of 1884-1885, various European nations began to mount their flags everywhere Africa, murder the people, then steal their resources to form Europe richer.
King Leopold II of Belgium laid claim to the Congo and declared it his territory while exerting physical threats to the indigenous people of the Congo (Kongo). He declared the people and therefore the land to be his property, and he quickly turned the country into a moneymaking venture for himself and his throne.
Kongo was rich in numerous minerals but was richer in Ivory and rubber. He found out a system that was brutally harsh on the people – a system that killed and mutilated the indigenous peoples.
The people of the Kongo were then enslaved in their land. Since the slave traffic had been aborted and abolished in Europe and America, the Europeans found how to bring slavery to Africa. They came to steal resources from the Africans, and kill them in large numbers while at it.
The Exploration and Mapping Out of The Congo (Kongo)
After the Belin Conference, King Leopold II needed to explore and map the Congo so on determine its resources, people, and best routes for his planned exploitation.
He hired and sent a British explorer, named Henry Morton Stanley, to the Congo. Stanley’s job was to determine the Congo Free State. He chose Stanley because he had some sort of experience with the people and therefore the area since he had planned out the Congo, and was conversant in a number of the indigenous people.
Although historians have tried to mention that Stanley didn’t have any initial intentions of injuring the Congo people, we still don’t think that ought to exonerate him of his crimes against the people. His first crime was entering the Congo without the invitation of the indigenous people then going ahead to map their land without their permission.
The presence and behavior of Stanley and his men angered the natives of Congo, and this sparked off misunderstandings and later chaos.
Seven various indigenous peoples of the Congo got together and confronted Stanley and his men. The people had witnessed Stanley writing and drawing in his journal, and to them, that was a plot to undo them. They asked him to burn his book or he and his men would be killed. it had been obvious that the natives didn’t want what was in his journal to urge out of their land. which was permanently reason – the gods were wise.
Stanley continued his exploration and expedition and began to shoot at the Congolese whenever they came close, or he saw them. By the time he had gotten to the top of his exploration, he had succeeded in burning down over 32 towns of the natives and killing many of them.
His men were out of control, and that they committed all manner of atrocities on the Congolese people. They went about kidnapping and raping the ladies and flogging the lads to death for any little misunderstanding.
This was how the Congo Free State was created – on the foundations of terror, murder, rape, and arson.
The Enslavement of the whole Congo Population
When Stanley sent his report back to King Leopold, he reported of temples crammed with Ivory (elephant tusks), and also the presence of rubber everywhere the Congo. The resources were bountiful, and Leopold decided to make wealth out of it.
King Leopold II took ownership of two-thirds of the Congo land by force and mandated the important owners of the land to figure for him as slaves. a couple of accounts mentioned that the people were paid pennies for his or her labor, but it had been soon stopped, then they were forced to figure for 20 days during a month without pay.
The government and officials of King Leopold II stated that the harvesting of rubber was then a required tax that everybody who lived on the land would pay to the crown. This simply meant that Leopold stole a people’s lands and resources, and made them to figure as slaves on their own lands.
Because of the high expectation of wealth and take advantage of the rubber and ivory, the officials of King Leopold II made the quotas very huge and difficult to succeed in. It meant that the people would labor and toil for 20 days to satisfy their rubber quota, then the remaining 10 days during a month was left to them to farm, and work to supply food for themselves and their families.
The Maiming and Killing of Congolese Who Didn’t Meet Their Quota
By the 1890s, Leopold II, through his officials, increased the rubber quota of the then battered and suppressed Congolese. The rubber business was booming in Europe, and he had to satisfy the market demands. That meant more work hours for the indigenous people. things turned from bad to worse, because the penalty for not meeting your quota was the isolating of a limb or death.
Leopold II had a military that was made from about 19,000 troops. They were European mercenaries hired to guard his government and business interest and also act as a police. They were called the Force Publique. the military also forcefully recruited Africans into their lower ranks. These Africans were press-ganged into service and were killed if they refused.
It was the Force Publique that enforced the quota of rubber tax to be collected by the people. a number of the officers who were made to enforce these rules were the Africans, but an outsized amount of them were the whites.
The European officials were so brutal and bent their hate and target for the rubber that they found outlaw for the soldiers to chop off and deliver the hand of anyone of the Congolese people that were killed for not meeting their quota.
To punish the Congolese men whom that they had forced into service, they might make them submit a basket filled with hands of their people or face execution. This was how for turning the people against themselves – a trick that the Europeans have used everywhere the planet and particularly Africa, to divide the people.
The Deadly Collection Of Rubber
After a few years of collecting and tapping the rubber within the Congo, the sources began to dwindle and become somewhat scarce. Collecting the rubber was then harder, as many of the people had to climb tall trees to succeed in the vines. Sometimes the people could slip from the trees and fall to their deaths.
The fear of losing their limb or being killed forced the Congolese to sometimes stop the vine, in order that they could tap more rubber sap. It worked but it meant that those vines were then useless and will not be tapped again within the future. So, isolating the vine was also a criminal offense, punishable by death or severe beatings.
On one of the times, a commissioner caught one among the Congolese who stop a vine. He wrote a note of the advice in his journal about it and said: “We must fight them until their absolute submission has been obtained… or their complete extermination.”
Some commissioners didn’t kill or stop the limbs of individuals who didn’t meet their quota. They beat them so badly, and therefore the majority were injured beyond recognition. Sometimes the beaten might cause death.
The Congolese workers got discs to wear around their necks, to stay count of their quota. Any of the Congolese who didn’t meet his quota would be flogged 25, and most time 100 lashes with whips made up of hippopotamus hide. These whips had the facility to peel off the skin once it gets in touch with it.
The Death of Millions Was Caused By Disease
Asides from the shooting and maiming of the indigenous people of Congo, one other factor that caused the death of millions was the disease outbreaks. The health of the workers wasn’t put into consideration by the Belgians, who fed them rotten meat, food, and most times starved them.
The environment was made unhealthy with all the human parts, and decimation of the natural environment. The rotten food made the lads sick, and an epidemic broke out.
The men had to travel into the deep jungle to reap the rubber. They were bitten by Tsetse flies, which spread untold sicknesses and deaths everywhere the Congo and even into other African nations.
The sleepy sickness which frequently led to death exhausted over 500,000 people in Congo alone.
But this didn’t make the Belgians stop. They continued the exploitation and enslavement of the Congo people, for the economic gains of their resources.
The Burning of Congolese Villages
The research and accounts of the various atrocities administered against the Black man in Congo is one that might literally put any conscious Black in tears. During the course of this research, we were forced repeatedly to pause in anger and disbelief.
One of the painful accounts of the genocide on the Congolese was the burning of their villages. The commissioners and their officers often gave a whole village a particular quota to satisfy. When a village fails to satisfy its quota, the soldiers would surround the village, slaughter the people then burn the village to the bottom.
Various accounts by victims and eyewitnesses said that these happened all the time, in quick succession. within the area where a Swedish missionary lived, he reported that 45 towns were burnt down within a brief period of your time.
What was more heartbreaking to listen to was that a lot of those villages were burnt down for no good reason in the least. Of course, what reason will a killer and a thief needn’t to kill people whom their scientists and religion had taught them to be lesser animals or sub-humans? None whatsoever.
In a particular instance, the soldiers burnt a village down, killed 50 of the lads and took 28 of the ladies as prisoners, with chains around their necks. This particular village had met their quota but was still killed and burnt because the officers said that the rubber that was tapped by the villagers wasn’t of excellent quality. I mean, how do the villagers get to regulate the result of the rubber that comes out from the trees?
The Torture of girls and women for Quota Fulfillment
The Belgian officials and their European mercenary troops made torture and amputations a necessary tool in forcing the people to be scared and work for free of charge.
They were feeding off the fears of the Congolese people, through psychological terror. it had been reported that the ECU soldiers would kidnap the ladies from the villages that didn’t meet their rubber quota, so on force the lads to satisfy their quota. Most of the ladies were kept as prisoners and slaves by the Europeans.
To make it worse, the lads had to shop for back their wives with their live stocks after that they had met their quota.
On a specific occasion, a soldier was asked to raid a town that had not met their quota. His commander gave him strict orders to decimate the town and make an example of them.
He gave an account saying that: “He ordered us to chop off the heads of the lads and hang them on the village palisades, also their sexual members,” the soldier said, “and to hold the ladies and youngsters on the palisade within the sort of a cross.”
This was how wicked the Europeans were during their time in Congo.
The Intervention by The International Community
The atrocities of King Leopold II and his army continued for over a decade till it reached some extent where the missionaries had to write down to the varied governments and organizations of the planet in protest.
The pieces of evidence presented by America missionary G.W. Williams, and by writers like Clemens and Conrad, were instrumental within the prosecution of the King Leopold II’s atrocities within the Congo.
Others who gave reports on the genocide were a British journalist called Edmund Dene Morel, a British Diplomat called Casement, and a missionary called William Shephard.
The reports and testimonies of those men and lots of others were published in international media, which gave much attention to the evil that was happening within the Congo. many of us around the world cried out against the atrocities and involved the respect of human rights.
The many pieces of evidence that were submitted within the reports were then confirmed in 1905 when an investigation was concluded. The commission that was responsible for the investigation published a damning report of the genocide that was happening within the Congo.
The reports of the commission alongside the reports of the missionaries raised tons of opposition from other governments and therefore the Belgian people, against King Leopold II.
Diplomatic talks and pressure from many quarters would later make Leopold II renounce his rule over the Free State of the Congo, and subsequently handing it over to the Belgium government, then Congo was named the Congo.
After the atrocities, he and his murderous army walked away without blemish, leaving the people of the Congo to suffer the consequences of that Genocide for the subsequent 100 years and more. Congo till today remains the property of the Europeans and has been put in constant conflict by European powers who seek to steal its resources while keeping the people divided.
It would interest you to understand that the whole carving from Congo by Killer Leopold II didn’t first are available the shape of Genocide. No. He visited Congo as a charity and humanitarian organization.
He came bearing gifts and promised to vary the living standards of the Congo people for the higher. And his charity organization was said to possess received huge donations from around the world.
He impressed the people of the planet with such smooth and compelling words and made them believe that donating to his course was the sole holiest and therefore the noblest thing to try to to . during a speech, he said: “To hospitable civilization the sole a part of our globe which it’s not yet penetrated, to pierce the darkness which hangs over entire peoples, is, I dare say, a crusade deserve this century of progress.”
But they didn’t know that he was secretly seeking for funds with which to pay large armies and build infrastructures that might facilitate and hasting the enslavement of the people of the Congo, and therefore the stealing of the resources.
Leopold II was heard behind closed doors telling one among his ambassadors that “I don’t want to miss an honest chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.”
This is the legacy of King Leopold II in Africa. And while he was tearing Congo apart, British, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish et al. were busy slaughtering Africans and stealing their resources too.