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Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

The Conquest of the Earth…..is not a pretty thing”: Colonizing the Kongo

There is no reason that could even come close to justifying colonial control over any nation considering its extreme costs in human life. The number of people that have been killed and hurt as a result of colonialism is immeasurable and irreplaceable. The damage to the natural land is unfixable. The legacies of families have been altered forever. All colonizing countries share the same reason for colonialism: greed for money, resources, and power. Colonizing countries believe that just because they have the ability to overtake another country, they can do so in the name of expansion or religious reasons. However, they do not take into account the countless lives that they hurt in their journey to achieve riches. From the map coloring exercise, we did in-class, we noticed the ways countries conquered lands. There was no regard for the people of the land. They chose simply based on their goals. For example, Portugal conquered lands along the sea because they wanted to expand their trading empire. Colonizing countries have tried to make it seem like they were helping the people of the colonized countries become “civilized people” by following their religion or that they had the right to colonize similar to the idea of the Manifest Destiny in the United States in the 19th century.


Colonizing countries have gained everything that they have sought from the “arrangement.” From the resources of the land, such as precious metals, to amassing a huge number of people to rule over and control. The only thing that can be argued that colonized nations have gained from the “arrangement” is the technology and knowledge of colonialist nations. When colonialist nations traveled through countries, they brought with them their customs, language, and foods. This has contributed to the evolution of colonized nations’ societies. These interactions connect people from opposite points of the world, uniting people through shared traditions.


The events described in the reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost are indicative of the norm of colonialism. Though it may be hard for some to accept, it is the truth. The 10 million Congolese people who were murdered as a result of colonization are the reality of colonialism. As Leopold sought rubber, he did not treat Congolese people as humans. He expected so much out of them and worked them past their limits. He relentlessly put them through hard labor, completely blinded by his greed. He even forced 7-9-year-old children to carry up to 22 pounds. There were no limits that Leopold wasn’t afraid of passing. All of these examples of horrible working conditions and treatment are the truth of what colonialism entailed.


The short-term effects colonization of Africa had on the development of nations on the continent is the disruption of politics and economics. Countries have slowly restored their economies and politics as they’ve taken power back, but there are still lingering long-term effects. For example, generations of families will forever remember the turmoils they endured during colonialism as well as everyday things like language that have been influenced forever. The least colonizing nations can do for the hurt they have inflicted on former colonial subjects and the nations is to provide financial support. Colonizing countries stripped countries of all their riches and left behind scraps for the colonized nations. By providing financial support, it would allow countries to have a much better chance at going back to their former glory before colonialism.


To the next person: What differences do you think there would be in the societies of African countries if colonialism had not taken place?

Bluekoala
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 28

The Conquest of the Earth…..is not a pretty thing”: Colonizing the Kongo

Originally posted by strawberry123 on February 07, 2022 21:45

  1. I do not think there is any sort of justification or explanation behind colonial control of a nation other than the unfortunate but real truth of countries desiring more power through the expansion of land. Although excuses among economically or politically "helping" nations through colonization are heard many times throughout history, the ultimate loss of self-identity, culture, and even language is much more detrimental than what most lands experienced prior to invasions. The Kikongo-speaking people are an example of this as the Portuguese translated their kingdom from Kongo to Congo. Additionally, throughout the 17th century, they were affected by corruption, feuds among royal families, and the trade of people to be enslaved. The Portuguese demands for slaves left the Kongo Kingdom to not only become weakened but also to lose any sort of liberation in their own land.
  2. The only beneficial side to colonialism are the colonizers; they are the ones who overall have the power of authority and can control the people of the land conquered. Once people are colonized, their freedom and rights are placed in the hands of someone else. Although the colonized nation may obtain access to agricultural developments or trade routes as a now unified group under one "leader", nevertheless, they virtually receive nothing as generational trauma, disease, and being culturally exploited deems all other "benefits" as superficial.
  3. Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost is indicative of the extremes of colonialism in today's standards, while it also depicts the normality when referencing society in the past. The description of only George Washington Williams identifying the obvious of "the soldiers of the Force Publique was, in effect, slaves" while they were under a system approved by white slave agents and the king is very telling; It entails the entire concept of colonizing a nation was beneficial as only the grand and "superior" nations who overtook these sensitive lands were heard while the actual people who had to subject to countries were silenced. The reading additionally allows for a perspective of extremities of "white rule" as Mulamba stated his happiness to finally be free and independent of colonialism.
  4. The short-term effects are ultimately the consequences of no longer having a colonized nation that can provide you with money or grand power for agricultural products or trade routes which results in a decrease in the population through starvation and disease, a crashing economy, and confusion over new authoritative power. The long-term effects that can still be seen today in Africa such as a loss of identity, heritage, and language stem from racism and stereotypes. Colonialism is overall completely detrimental for a nation to undergo and especially when former colonial subjects leave as people are left in ruins. It should be expected that previously colonized nations should be given an apology followed by repairments in their social and economic lifestyles whether that means access to sea routes or building a proficient education system.

Do you think colonization will continue for future generations if history such as the one described in Hochschild's book is not taught?

I believe that colonization will continue for future generations if history such as the one described in Hochschild's book is not taught. If people are not aware of what has happened in the past, we will never learn from our past mistakes. Future generations need to understand the true extent of colonization and its effects to be in a position to be the generation that will stop colonization from happening again.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

Colonization and the Congo

I personally don’t think there is any kind of justification for colonization. It is an absolutely immoral and devastating practice. In historical context, I know that European countries would try to justify colonization by saying they are trying to “save” or “civilize” the “uncivilized” people they were colonizing. I believe this was called the “white man’s burden.” That said, however, this thinking doesn’t justify colonialism at all and is most definitely rooted in white supremacy.


Are there benefits to colonialism? It definitely depends on how you look at it. If we are looking at it from the perspective of the country that is colonizing the other country, then without a doubt there is. Really the entire point of colonialism is to exploit another country, whether that be for money, resources, power, or religious domination, and colonialist countries definitely did that. For example, during WW1 many colonialist countries, such as France, got military assistance from their colonies. On the other hand, the colonies reaped little to no benefits, despite the humongous benefits they were enabling for the colonizers. One could argue that colonies did benefit a little bit because they did become somewhat developed and in some cases financially aided by their colonialist nation, but the few benefits really don’t outweigh the boatloads of negatives. The economic exploitation, cultural erasure, and absolutely cruel and violent treatment that colonized nations faced could not outweigh that.


The case of King Leopold in the Congo is indicative of the extremes of colonialism. Despite the Congo being Belgium’s only colony in Africa, the Congo was still extremely damaged by its colonial nation. As mentioned in the text, the Congo was administered directly from Europe more than any other African colony, which left little power left for the actual people of the Congo and even more power in the oppressive rule of King Leopold. People, even young children, were put through extremely rigorous forced labors, in horrid working conditions, with brutal punishments for misconduct, all of which in combination resulted in many deaths. All while King Leopold and Belgium were reaping enormous profits in the sale of ivory and rubber harvested from Congo. I remember seeing some images last year in history class of the brutalities in the Congo, specifically the chicotte that is mentioned in the text, and you really can’t forget seeing something like that.


Although colonialism in Africa legally is a thing of the past, the effects of it are still very much a thing of the present. Even when it comes down to the use of terms like developing and developed nations we can see the current effects of colonialism. Most developed nations are countries that were either colonizers, indirectly benefited from colonialism, or weren’t victims of colonialism, while developing nations are mostly countries who were colonized. Not only economically does colonialism deeply divide countries who were colonized versus those who colonized, but also the general way that we look at those developing countries. For example, since most countries in Africa (apart from Liberia and Ethiopia) were colonized, the way that we see Africa as a continent is a spot on example of this. When the average person thinks about Africa, they probably don’t think about the beautiful culture that it’s home to, but instead they will probably think exclusively of the devastation that colonialism has left behind in it. In addition, the average person probably doesn’t know that much about Africa to begin with due to our very Euro-centric look at history, as shown by the map of Africa activity we did in class. In terms of responsibility, it would be absolutely ridiculous to say that the colonial nations don’t have responsibility for the devastation they have caused in their colonies. Western powers like Great Britain wouldn’t be nearly as powerful today if not for the colonies that they built their wealth on the backs of. The real question is how should these colonial powers be repaying their colonies, and that is a nearly impossible question to answer if it can be. I don’t think that kind of damage can truly ever be “repaid.”


Question: How much do you think the world’s view of Africa is shaped by colonialism?

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

Originally posted by Bluekoala on February 08, 2022 00:34

To the next person: What differences do you think there would be in the societies of African countries if colonialism had not taken place?

I think not only African countries would look extremely different if colonialism had not taken place, but also the entire world. Western powers in Europe would definitely not have been able to become nearly as wealthy and powerful if not for the African colonies that they were exploiting every step of the way. Additionally, since we live in a very Euro-centric world, if Europe wasn't as big of a superpower our entire world would be completely different. Before colonization, Europe was not a very big superpower at all, so I think that Africa and Asia definitely would be even bigger superpowers if colonialism didn't happen. When it comes to American history that would be completely different too, since colonialism is what caused Columbus to begin colonizing the Americas in the first place.

iris almonds
Posts: 29

“The Conquest of the Earth…..is not a pretty thing”: Colonizing the Kongo

The act of colonization upon any nation, whether it be Africa, the Americas (in the case of Christopher Columbus), or places in Southeast Asia is not justified. The act of colonization benefits no one except the colonizers themselves. They often colonize for the reason of economic benefit or just the act of wanting to have land (it is often known that the more land you have, the more powerful you are). This can be seen in the carving of Africa in the Berlin conference when Great Britain and France along with other European countries took a huge part of Africa for themselves. The control of this land allows for these European countries to benefit both economically and socially in a way. The justification often used by countries when they are colonizing is the fact that they are trying to help the country they are colonizing. For example, many European countries colonized Africa claiming that they were going to help these uncivilized human beings build a civilization. They were essentially calling the people of Africa uncivilized animals who had no way of life, or “savages”. They claimed that they were not colonizing but simply lending a helping hand to help civilize these “savages”. The colonizers claim to be this kind of “savior” and they claim to develop elaborate governments and cities that will help them thrive in an otherwise uncivilized country.


Yes, of course, there are benefits to colonization from the enhancement of education, stability, or the development of a more elaborate government. Colonization allowed for civilization to develop at a faster rate than would otherwise have happened slowly. I believe that the benefits of the colonizers outweigh the benefits of the people being colonized. In the case of the colonizers, they are able to have access to many of the land’s natural resources which allow for economic growth and gain. The colonizers now have the ability to control the people of that country and use them to their benefit, which may not look pretty. At the end of the colonized people, there were far fewer benefits and mostly, their human rights were violated. They were stripped of their culture and often forced to convert to Christianity. They were often forced to give up their culture and religion as well as change their daily lifestyles. Many colonized people were now being used as laborers for the colonizers and the violent and cruel treatment of these people is unacceptable.


After reading Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost, I think that it shows the norm of colonialism which is really sad to say. Hochschild really illustrated the terrible and harsh treatment that the colonized people went through. Many of the colonized people were forced into labor and children were not excluded. They were put into horrendous conditions and children were forced to carry heavy objects that are far too heavy for them. The laborers had to fulfill quotas and if the quotas were not fulfilled, they received very harsh punishments where they were brutally whipped and beaten. King Leopold held a lot of power and harshly colonized this land for the sake of the ivory and rubber trade that would benefit him economically. This may seem a bit harsh and extreme but I believe that it is the norm of every colonized nation and I think that it is just not talked about and learned about that much among students today. Many colonized peoples suffered the same cruel treatment as the people in Congo and thousands died due to the arrival of the colonizers. And I think that the colonizers come to colonize for some of the very same reasons, in order to economically benefit. I also want to bring up the point that many colonized people did try to fight back and there are multiple meaningful and powerful rebellions fought that showed the persistence and strength of the colonized people. I think that the perspective of the colonized people is often left out of history but the perspective of the colonized people is just as important as the actions and thoughts of the colonizers. It is the norm as colonizers use many of the same methods and tactics to colonize the land which they see as uncivilized and unowned.


The colonization of Africa has many short and long-term effects. In the short term, the people were forced into labor and brutally punished if their quotas were unfulfilled. The lives of the people in Africa changed dramatically as their land was being divided up among these European nations like it is some sort of game. In the long term, many people are stripped form their culture and heritage. Much of Africa is now christain, a lasting impact of the colonizers. In addition, the economic and political state of Africa is hurt. The colonizers took much of their natural resources and used Africa for what they needed in order to benefit them. There is still a loss of language, culture, and feeling of self-identity amount much of the colonized people. What is done in the past is done and cannot be changed. But what you can control and change is the present and the future. I believe that the colonizing nations that have previously colonized land should apologize and listen to what the people need. Recognizing your mistake is a crucial step and acknowledging the fact that you committed a horrendous crime is a huge step in recognizing the damage the colonizers have made on the continent of Africa.


My question: How does colonization affect us today? Are there countries around the world that are being colonized at the moment? If so where? And what can we in the U.S do about that situation?


iris almonds
Posts: 29

Originally posted by SlicedBread on February 08, 2022 00:58



Question: How much do you think the world’s view of Africa is shaped by colonialism?

I think that much of the world’s view of Africa is not shaped by colonialism. From how I have learned about the continent of Africa, I have always been taught that Africa is this uncivilized place where people live in huts and carry water over their heads. When I use to think of Africa, that would be the image I think of because that’s what schools have taught me. I think that African colonialism is rarely talked about in history classes, or at least the history classes I have been in and I don’t think a lot of people take colonialism into consideration when they think of the stereotypical image of Africa. Also, I don’t think many people know about the colonization of Africa and how the continent was essentially sliced up into pieces for European nations to cliam.

apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 25

"The Conquest of the Earth...is not a pretty thing: Colonizing the Kongo"

Although in my opinion, and in the opinion of most people, colonizing a country or area that was already inhabited by a different group of people is never justified, I believe that there are a few reasons as to why people or groups have done this and believe it was justified. This may not be as true across the world in today's society, but more specifically in past centuries, the world was involved in more wars and more cases of colonization and conquering. Looking for a justification for this was definitely not in the minds of colonizers, as they most likely thought since they had the ability to colonize the area, that they also had the right to do so. When colonizing countries acted in less modern ways, thinking that since they were a stronger country, they were allowed to do this, since it had been done so many times in the past. I think that it can be argued that colonization may have some benefits, as it could potentially “help” an impoverished country economically. And even if we are operating under the assumption that this is true(which it probably is not), the benefits for the country being colonized are not plentiful enough to justify it being okay. The country that is taking colonial control over the colonized nation are the ones who are actually benefiting. They gain land, power, and control over a certain area of land. These two things prove that this arrangement is nowhere near a fair trade off. This is proven as to why countries are not truly agreeing to be colonized, they are actually just being taken over.


King Leopold's actions that are depicted in Adam Hochschild’s, “King Leopold's Ghost”, is an example of the extremes and the perils of colonialism. King Leopold's horrid actions and treatment of Africans in Congo is a prime example of how colonialism often involves cruel and unjust treatment of a group of people. For example, when white settlers and Leopold came to the Congo, they made African civilians carry their cargo off their ships into their own land which was being taken over by these men. Hochschild details how young African children were “chained by the neck carrying my trunks and boxes toward the dock.”. Leopold's extreme colonialism shows the damaging effects that it has on everyone within the country that is being colonized. Even though I have stated that this is an extreme, just because of the severe and cruel treatment shown by King Leopold. Looking at colonialism holistically, this can truly be called a norm, as it does not differ from other cases of colonialism that much.


The effects of colonialism, weather being long term or short term, are extreme, upsetting, and unjust whichever way you look at it. Acts of colonialism like this are not things that only have effects during the colonization period, but instead even a short period of colonialism, haa effects that can and will last for centuries. The short term effects are easy to see, as children and adults are being enslaved, native people to the area are losing their home, as well as their normal way of life. The long term effects may require slightly more research, but are still extremely noticeable. The colonization of Africa specifically led to violent and persistent revolts, and uprisings against leaders after the colonization period. The colonization of Africa also holds the countries within the continent back for many years, while other continents and countries are allowed to advance and prosper. This could be one of the reasons that some countries in Africa still struggle economically.


My question to the next reader is: What would Africa look like today if the colonialism that took place never happened?

apples21
SOUTH BOSTON, MA, US
Posts: 25

Originally posted by iris almonds on February 08, 2022 01:59

The act of colonization upon any nation, whether it be Africa, the Americas (in the case of Christopher Columbus), or places in Southeast Asia is not justified. The act of colonization benefits no one except the colonizers themselves. They often colonize for the reason of economic benefit or just the act of wanting to have land (it is often known that the more land you have, the more powerful you are). This can be seen in the carving of Africa in the Berlin conference when Great Britain and France along with other European countries took a huge part of Africa for themselves. The control of this land allows for these European countries to benefit both economically and socially in a way. The justification often used by countries when they are colonizing is the fact that they are trying to help the country they are colonizing. For example, many European countries colonized Africa claiming that they were going to help these uncivilized human beings build a civilization. They were essentially calling the people of Africa uncivilized animals who had no way of life, or “savages”. They claimed that they were not colonizing but simply lending a helping hand to help civilize these “savages”. The colonizers claim to be this kind of “savior” and they claim to develop elaborate governments and cities that will help them thrive in an otherwise uncivilized country.


Yes, of course, there are benefits to colonization from the enhancement of education, stability, or the development of a more elaborate government. Colonization allowed for civilization to develop at a faster rate than would otherwise have happened slowly. I believe that the benefits of the colonizers outweigh the benefits of the people being colonized. In the case of the colonizers, they are able to have access to many of the land’s natural resources which allow for economic growth and gain. The colonizers now have the ability to control the people of that country and use them to their benefit, which may not look pretty. At the end of the colonized people, there were far fewer benefits and mostly, their human rights were violated. They were stripped of their culture and often forced to convert to Christianity. They were often forced to give up their culture and religion as well as change their daily lifestyles. Many colonized people were now being used as laborers for the colonizers and the violent and cruel treatment of these people is unacceptable.


After reading Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost, I think that it shows the norm of colonialism which is really sad to say. Hochschild really illustrated the terrible and harsh treatment that the colonized people went through. Many of the colonized people were forced into labor and children were not excluded. They were put into horrendous conditions and children were forced to carry heavy objects that are far too heavy for them. The laborers had to fulfill quotas and if the quotas were not fulfilled, they received very harsh punishments where they were brutally whipped and beaten. King Leopold held a lot of power and harshly colonized this land for the sake of the ivory and rubber trade that would benefit him economically. This may seem a bit harsh and extreme but I believe that it is the norm of every colonized nation and I think that it is just not talked about and learned about that much among students today. Many colonized peoples suffered the same cruel treatment as the people in Congo and thousands died due to the arrival of the colonizers. And I think that the colonizers come to colonize for some of the very same reasons, in order to economically benefit. I also want to bring up the point that many colonized people did try to fight back and there are multiple meaningful and powerful rebellions fought that showed the persistence and strength of the colonized people. I think that the perspective of the colonized people is often left out of history but the perspective of the colonized people is just as important as the actions and thoughts of the colonizers. It is the norm as colonizers use many of the same methods and tactics to colonize the land which they see as uncivilized and unowned.


The colonization of Africa has many short and long-term effects. In the short term, the people were forced into labor and brutally punished if their quotas were unfulfilled. The lives of the people in Africa changed dramatically as their land was being divided up among these European nations like it is some sort of game. In the long term, many people are stripped form their culture and heritage. Much of Africa is now christain, a lasting impact of the colonizers. In addition, the economic and political state of Africa is hurt. The colonizers took much of their natural resources and used Africa for what they needed in order to benefit them. There is still a loss of language, culture, and feeling of self-identity amount much of the colonized people. What is done in the past is done and cannot be changed. But what you can control and change is the present and the future. I believe that the colonizing nations that have previously colonized land should apologize and listen to what the people need. Recognizing your mistake is a crucial step and acknowledging the fact that you committed a horrendous crime is a huge step in recognizing the damage the colonizers have made on the continent of Africa.


My question: How does colonization affect us today? Are there countries around the world that are being colonized at the moment? If so where? And what can we in the U.S do about that situation?


To answer your question, I believe that colonization has had serious effects that still affect us today, as some countries, including some in Africa, still suffer and struggle economically, and I think this is mainly due to the years that they were suffering from colonization, and were not allowed to advance themselves as a society.

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 29

There is no possible justification for colonial control. This has not stopped some nations from making up a justification for it. One of the most common justifications for colonial control was nations claiming that they were “civilizing the continent of Africa”. This is utterly ridiculous but it was the reason stated by King Leopold. In AP World last year we even read some material like the White Man’s Burden, by Rudyard Kipling, detailing how some white people claimed it was the “duty” of the white man to bring civilization to Africa. Christianity has also played a large part in this “civilization” of man. When white Europeans went to colonize Africa they often brought Christianity with them and used it as a method to make African peoples more “civilized” because if they worship Christianity they have to be more civilized. For example, when Hochschild references how the Ten Commandments are not followed by “Christians” in the Congo it is really interesting because it emphasizes the hypocrisy of the Europeans. That he will preach loving thy neighbor while chopping off the hand of Congolese children.

There are significant benefits to colonialism, however, these benefits are enjoyed only by the colonizing nation. The colonizing nation always benefits from the natural resources obtained through the exploitation of the colonized nation. In the case of King Leopold, he benefitted from the collection of the Congo and exploiting it for the natural resource of rubber. The colonized nation gets nothing from this. This could be analyzed as a parasitic relationship because the colonizers are benefitting at the expense of the colonized.

The horrors described in Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost appear as extremes but in reality, they are the norm for colonialism. What is particularly disgusting is the incentives used by Leopold’s soldiers for people to get rubber from the forests. Some of these methods included taking hostages and “sometimes the hostages were women, sometimes children, and sometimes elders or chiefs” (Hochschild 161). The use of hostages I particularly disgusting because it is appealing to humanity to achieve their goals in inhumane ways. The soldiers are appealing to the humanity of the Congolese men because it is banking on the fact that these men are so compassionate they will risk their lives to save their families. This appeal to humanity is used in such an inhumane way it is interesting to see this juxtaposition of the two. This quote:“But even the soldiers of the Force Publique were, in effect, slaves” was also especially interesting (Hochschild 129). The Force Publique was the private army of King Leopold and it is rather interesting how they were described as enslaved people. It reminds me of critiques of capitalism how everyone is a victim of the system. By saying this I don’t mean to victimize Leopold’s soldiers they were still horrible people who committed horrific crimes against humanity but it is an interesting notion Hochschild brought up about how the enforcers could also be viewed as enslaved.

There are countless and unimaginable effects the colonization of Africa had on its development. Africa was already an incredibly resource-rich continent and had plenty of development already with its own empires like Mali and Songhay. But the Europeans ruined all of this with their arrival and exploitation of the continent’s resources. There is no telling what would have happened had it not been for the colonization of Africa. We could’ve seen a world with far less Eurocentrism and maybe one with less racism although that seems inevitable with white people. The short-term effects were devastating with populations being demolished and resources being stripped. The longer-term effects had an even more devastating impact with the loss of entire cultures. With how advanced African societies were we could’ve seen a far more unified world without European colonization. When European nations decided to “claim” lands in Africa they assumed responsibility for those regions. They decided to commit mass atrocities on land that was not theirs. In taking responsibility for this region they have a responsibility to pay reparations for the atrocities committed on this land. Reparations have been paid in the past and reparations should be paid now to the entire continent of Africa. Also, this colonialism never ended it still expresses itself today as neocolonialism which I hope is a topic that we will cover.


Question for the next person: How do you think colonialism has evolved to be expressed today?


facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 29

Originally posted by apples21 on February 08, 2022 08:30

Although in my opinion, and in the opinion of most people, colonizing a country or area that was already inhabited by a different group of people is never justified, I believe that there are a few reasons as to why people or groups have done this and believe it was justified. This may not be as true across the world in today's society, but more specifically in past centuries, the world was involved in more wars and more cases of colonization and conquering. Looking for a justification for this was definitely not in the minds of colonizers, as they most likely thought since they had the ability to colonize the area, that they also had the right to do so. When colonizing countries acted in less modern ways, thinking that since they were a stronger country, they were allowed to do this, since it had been done so many times in the past. I think that it can be argued that colonization may have some benefits, as it could potentially “help” an impoverished country economically. And even if we are operating under the assumption that this is true(which it probably is not), the benefits for the country being colonized are not plentiful enough to justify it being okay. The country that is taking colonial control over the colonized nation are the ones who are actually benefiting. They gain land, power, and control over a certain area of land. These two things prove that this arrangement is nowhere near a fair trade off. This is proven as to why countries are not truly agreeing to be colonized, they are actually just being taken over.


King Leopold's actions that are depicted in Adam Hochschild’s, “King Leopold's Ghost”, is an example of the extremes and the perils of colonialism. King Leopold's horrid actions and treatment of Africans in Congo is a prime example of how colonialism often involves cruel and unjust treatment of a group of people. For example, when white settlers and Leopold came to the Congo, they made African civilians carry their cargo off their ships into their own land which was being taken over by these men. Hochschild details how young African children were “chained by the neck carrying my trunks and boxes toward the dock.”. Leopold's extreme colonialism shows the damaging effects that it has on everyone within the country that is being colonized. Even though I have stated that this is an extreme, just because of the severe and cruel treatment shown by King Leopold. Looking at colonialism holistically, this can truly be called a norm, as it does not differ from other cases of colonialism that much.


The effects of colonialism, weather being long term or short term, are extreme, upsetting, and unjust whichever way you look at it. Acts of colonialism like this are not things that only have effects during the colonization period, but instead even a short period of colonialism, haa effects that can and will last for centuries. The short term effects are easy to see, as children and adults are being enslaved, native people to the area are losing their home, as well as their normal way of life. The long term effects may require slightly more research, but are still extremely noticeable. The colonization of Africa specifically led to violent and persistent revolts, and uprisings against leaders after the colonization period. The colonization of Africa also holds the countries within the continent back for many years, while other continents and countries are allowed to advance and prosper. This could be one of the reasons that some countries in Africa still struggle economically.


My question to the next reader is: What would Africa look like today if the colonialism that took place never happened?

There is no telling what Africa would look like today if colonialism had never happened. I think the nations could've developed into similar ones that we see today or they could've stayed the same and stuck to their own peaceful ways of life. There would also be a much larger diversity of culture since so many cultures were destroyed through colonization.

Karma
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

The Conquest of the Earth...is not a pretty thing: Colonizing the Kongo

The only justification for colonial control that I can come up with, from a government point of view, would be for economic reasons. If a particular place is a center for trade, resources, or even connections with other powerful allies, a government would most definitely look into colonial control. If a nation has nothing to offer the government that is seeking colonial control, I doubt that there would be any action towards conquest.

The only benefit colonialism offers is more prosperity and possibly better communication with allies. It would be strategic to colonize certain places because of the benefits a particular place can have for the economy. Also, it can help a nation keep watch on enemy nations if a country nearby is colonized. The colonist nation will probably have a lot of influence in the government as well as claims to the riches of the colonized nation. On the other hand, I feel like the colonized nation simply inherits the allies of the colonialist nation. This would mean they are more connected with the other colonialist nation's territories and even the resources they might have to offer.

I think that the excerpt provides insight on the extremes of colonialism as well as how hard it is to control the soldiers that are being sent to colonize the lands. Not only was slavery supposed to be banned, but it seems as though the Europeans looked at the Congo as a place to exploit. The fact that Leopold tried to ban slavery while not stepping foot in Congo was not really smart on his part seeing as though he would never be able to know if his legislation was being followed. All the instances of slavery, especially the story that one of the former slaves shared, is simply horrific. As far as the exploitation of the Congo is concerned, this is something I kind of expected. However, the fact that some Europeans didn't like how Europe was at peace doesn't sit right with me. It upsets me that some Europeans looked at the Congo as a place to "battle against a poorly armed enemy", meaning that some people fought the people of Congo for the sake of fighting. There was no benefit from this and I believe it goes back to the trouble it is enforcing a colony where the leader doesn't even reside.

I believe that colonization is the sole reason Africa is considered a third world country. At one point in history, the richest man on the planet, Mansa Musa, lived in Africa. That alone makes it hard for me to believe that the downfall of Africa involves something other than colonization. Africa is rich with all types of resources. However, the exploitation of the country by other established countries that aren't even in Africa is very upsetting. I feel like the colonizing nations should definitely compensate for all the harms they did. If Africa was left alone, it would most definitely be an established, first world country in my opinion. This is all based off solely the resources that Africa has to provide. I know that those colonizing nations most likely won't give Africa anything in the future and I realistically don't think any amount of money can return everything that was stripped from the countries.

seraphine
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Colonizing the Kongo + King Leopold

  • Honestly, I say that there is no justification for colonial control over a nation. It's a really terrible thing to do, straight up, and so many people have been killed, wounded, or scarred and family trees have been cut and broken because of it. Aside from people being hurt and killed, land is also being harmed and many ancient relics and artifacts might be destroyed which also destroys evidence of culture and can indirectly destroy someone's identity. Saying that you were trying to "save uncivilized people" honestly just makes it worse. People don't need saving just because they are living differently, and the fact that you think you're doing them a FAVOR is appalling and is rooted in white supremacy.
  • It all depends on how you look at things. If we look at it from the standpoint of the country that is colonizing the other country, there is without a question a benefit to it because colonialism's entire point is to exploit another country, for EVERYTHING, and colonialist countries did exactly that. During WWI, for example, several colonial governments, such as France, received military support from their colonies, he colonies garnered little to no benefit despite the enormous benefits they provided for the colonizers. One may claim that colonies benefited in certain ways since they were developed and, in some circumstances, financially helped by their colonialist nation, but this is not the case because they were already prosperous in their culture before colonialists showed up and effectively said "No, the way you live sucks even though you've lived like this for years".
  • "King Leopold's Ghost" really just shows the norm of colonialism which is really depressing. The story, while a very extreme one, really is similar to many other stories of colonialism. The author was able to show how terrible everything was; from the forced labor of both adults and children, to the beatings and whippings if quotas weren't filled, everything showed how King Leopold's desire for ivory and rubber just for some money scarred so many people. I definitely wasn't aware of this story before this class, and it's honestly shocking how little I know about colonialism because all this while I've learned about it sugarcoated, and without much actual context. It's saddening how often the POV of colonized people is excluded from the narrative, and only the colonizer's opinion is widespread as they were "fixing" an uncivilized land.
  • For short term effects, people were killed, forced into labor, and punished if they didn't meet their quotas. People got injuries which left marks on them for the rest of their lives. People were consistently overworked and (this connects to long-term) lost a sense of identity. For long term effects, like mentioned, people lost a sense of their identity and their culture. Because they weren't allowed to be themselves, they lost many traditions and their heritage, and the land that they lived on before colonialization. A lot of the countries in Africa are now Christian because of colonialization, and have been impacted both economically and politically, and resource wise because much of it was taken by the colonizers. I think there isn't much you can do about the past, but the colonizing nations have the obligation to apologize and listen to the people that were hurt by them and try to give them as much support now as possible, because recognizing that what you did was really wrong is important in the victims' step of healing and it validates their suffering. Of course this is not the only thing to be done, but I think it's a start.
seraphine
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by facingstudent8 on February 08, 2022 22:48

Question for the next person: How do you think colonialism has evolved to be expressed today?


I think that, though I haven't heard stories about a current King Leopold, there are still non self governing territories around the world that are virtually living under colonial rule, according to the UN. Also, I think colonialism is expressed a lot in its aftereffects, in many ways; environmentally, with a lot of environmental degradation and destruction, health-wise, with the spread of diseases, economically, politically, culturally..the list goes on. Although King Leopold's tale was something that happened before our time, the aftereffects of it and many other similar situations can still be seen and I suppose that this counts as an expression of colonialism.

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