Imperialism In King Leopold's Rape Of The Congo

1282 Words 5 Pages
India, the Americas, Pacific Islands, and Australia, by the nineteenth century had already been explored, conquered, and exploited by Europeans; however, Africa remained the last unmapped and unexplored continent in the world. In the eyes of the Europeans, Africa was still dark—the white Europeans had not yet civilized the continent. Although Africa, specifically the Congo, was inhabited by native tribal civilizations, the Europeans did not see Africa as sophisticated. Therefore, countries like Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, and lastly Belgian, rushed to Africa to claim land. Although many countries exploited the African lands by taking raw materials—ivory, gold, rubber, and other minerals—historians have criticized King Leopold of Belgian …show more content…
Although Hochschild spends the majority of his book explaining how gruesome Leopold’s actions were, he ultimately comes to the conclusion that racism and colonial mentality were more to blame for the exploitation of the Congolese people than the actions of the King more than the wickedness of one person; furthermore, he brings to the reader attention that “what happened in the Congo is, unfortunately, no worse than what happened in neighboring colonies, since France’s rubber colony saw a fifty percent decrease in the native population and the German South West Africa colony experienced genocide where sixty thousand natives were killed (680). Although Hochschild novel greatly contributed to it’s field by providing people with a new story of colonial history, there are some weaknesses that relegate the overall strength of his argument. For instance, Hochschild relies heavily on a one sided criticism of Leopold and other colonial countries. In addition, Hochschild did not get to his argument quick enough. During the first section of his novel it was difficult to follow his argument or see where his novel was going. However, overall Hochschild’s re-exposition of Leopold’s atrocities, and more broadly speaking the atrocities of all colonial powers, teaches the reader that if it weren’t for people who stood up against the typical colonial mentality, people like Leopold, Stalin, and Hitler would define or represent human

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