posts 16 - 25 of 25
SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 22
  1. There really is no real justification for colonialism, just frail fallacies made up by European nations. It’s almost ironic how quickly the Europeans were to label Africans as “savages,” when in fact they were the ones who had subjected them to decades of monstrous abuse. Their only way to work around such heinous behavior was to create a definition of “civilized” and “uncivilized,” superior and inferior. Such a fabricated mentality was most notably displayed at the Berlin Conference, where various white nations sought out the means to colonize Africa. Much like other historical overtakings, the use of religion was also a strong factor in European control of Africa, as it was widely regarded as an honorable justification to colonization. In addition to social Darwinism being on the rise in the beginning of the twentieth century, a perfect opportunity was at hand for Europe to thrive economically under African exploitation without reaping even an ounce of consequence. Their framework of the entire situation was that Africa was a continent that needed “saving,” and because of their so-called racial and religious superiority, they were within their right to cross over into African boundaries and teach them right from wrong. The sad reality, however, revealed that African natives were brutally enslaved, killed, and exploited in the name of European gain. Colonial control is, at best, synonymous to corruption.
  2. For colonizing nations, colonialism garners a mass of benefits. A boost in the economy, monetary growth, a savior complex, a comically extensive military budget, power. The list can go on and on, as these nations built the system on the principle that they, the superior power, are the ones who stand to gain anything. In exchange for their labor, colonized peoples in turn were critically underpaid, if paid at all. Their resources, populations, and sovereignty were chipped away and depleted until little to nothing remained. Anyone, even children, were subjected to extreme persecution and violence at the hands of their “saviors.” The “arrangement” made between colonists and the colonized shows much more resemblance to a tragedy.
  3. The story of King Leopold, in all of its disturbingness, can be indicative of the norms or the perils of colonialism. When looking at any case of imperialism, Europe’s projected intentions were nothing more than a front for a system of relentless exploitation and oppression that worked solely for their economic gain. While there was always a cover-up motive like Christianity or enlightening the world with their “superiority,” the true backbone of such an operation was pure greed and hunger for power. Whichever colonized nations you wish to examine, they all harbor this same detrimental flaw. In the case of King Leopold, such a flaw was taken to an unheard of extreme, wherein the abuse that Africans were subjected to was nothing short of satanic. Under the Force Publique, natives limbs were severed as punishment, women were kidnapped and held hostage, countless people were cruelly murdered or displaced for sport. And yet the cover-up remained intact. Belgium claimed that they were helping a “savage” race find their humanity. In fact, King Leopold claimed that he was helping to end the slave trade in his invasion of the Congo, when in reality, he had enslaved its people as a means of free labor. The system that allowed the Congo to be exploited is a norm of colonialism, and the unimaginable brutality that took place there exemplifies the dangers that colonization can pose to a native people.
  4. In the short-term, the effects of colonization in Africa included resource depletion, low wages, trading prohibition, labor exploitation and inflated taxation. Even in the long term, the effects of African colonization continue to define the continent to this very day. The poverty and the political instability within each nation can be largely owed to how badly colonialism had damaged economic development and had stifled industrialization, preventing any further financial progress from being made. Not only was Africa economically affected, it was also culturally affected. The very boundaries of current African nations were set by European colonizers, dwindling many unique aspects of African cultures and also grouping together ethnic rivals who do not identify with one another. Looking forward, I think that the responsibilities of colonizing nations are quite complex, and are worth debating. On one hand, to provide reparations for previously colonized countries would be the least that European nations can do, as their exploitation of Africa has rippled throughout centuries, affecting generations of African governments, regions, and families. However, it is worth noting that such a decision would still indirectly submit to the principles of colonization and economic dependence.
  5. To answer the question: With all the detrimental things that happened to the countries in Africa during colonialism, what are ways that the countries can 'bounce back' to a more stable level? Should there be help from others? Should other countries stay out of it? Should the countries who colonized them offer any help or reparations?


    Adding on to what I said in question #4, I think that in order to “bounce back,” Africa needs some kind of a road map to economic growth and political stability. Considering that the continent has a fast population growth, there’s a large amount of potential for development, including industrialization, urbanization, agriculture, and so on. Stable governance is an equally important factor to consider. Leaders need to serve in the interest of the general population, and not any specific region or group of people. While I don‘t think that receiving aid or reparations from foreign countries is inherently bad, I do think that retaining independence is vital for the future and stability of Africa.


    My question is, What do you think Africa would look like today had it not undergone European colonization?

dinonuggets
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

Colonialism

The only “justification” for colonial control over a nation would come from the colonizers, but this is not justification, it is just excuses. I think it is harmful to even ask if there's justification because there never will be, and the question inherently makes colonizers’ actions even debatable. Colonialism is used to exploit a people and their resources along with the ideology of “civilizing” those who are considered “savage.” The justification for this is rooted in eugenics and social Darwinism - the idea of the white race being superior. The economic and social ideology of colonialism was used by Europeans to make it seem like there were great benefits, not just for them but for the colonized as well. They ravaged countries of their natural resources, mistreated and enslaved native populations, and left significant damage that still lingers today.


Colonialism is aimed to benefit the colonizers and exploit the people and resources who are

being colonized. The main benefits are economic; goods that are extracted can be processed and sold overseas. Colonialist nations can also force native populations into free labor. Colonized people can get their political systems taken control of and rearranged, forced adoption of the colonizer’s culture, erasure of indigenous culture, and settlers taking land. Colonized nations also have to deal with the long-term consequences of these actions, which can be extremely devastating.


Some of the brutal treatment of the Congolese people by the Europeans goes to the extremes of colonial rule, but the ideology behind these actions was certainly common at the time. The Congolese were described as “sinister,” demonizing native, non-white people. Hochschild describes the Congo as a place for white men to “get rich and to wield power,” imposing any taxes and punishments they wished, but the main goal was “keeping the ivory flowing back to Belgium.” This essentially describes colonialism as a practice - control of native people and their resources to exploit their economy to the colonizer’s benefit. Life for native Congolese under European rule was particularly cruel. They were enslaved, tied together with cords, subject to the chopping of limbs, or tortured and kill in particularly brutal ways.


It’s a little hard to answer this question in detail because we haven’t covered it much in class, but I do remember some things from AP World. The “Scramble for Africa” resulted in imperial powers drawing borders which often split and joined ethnic groups, causing tensions and rivalries. Today, these ethnic groups still don’t always fall within country borders, and disputes can sometimes result in civil wars. Like many other colonized areas, the colonizers left political and economic instability, and this was made worse by the fact that land and resources were completely exhausted. I don’t know exactly what colonizing nations should do for the former subjects because so much of the damage they left behind cannot be solved in a direct way, and a lot of it is between nations within Africa.


My question is: what do reasonable reparations look like?

GullAlight
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20
  1. What possible justification can there be for colonial control over any nation?

There is no way to justify colonialism, especially in the form that we’ve seen so far, in continents like the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The division of Africa at the Berlin Conference, especially, is incredibly barbaric. Although in the past, colonisers have attempted to justify their actions with the dehumanization of the original people of those lands, and with fake attempts to “help” by converting people to Christianity and forcing integration or carrying out genocide. These examples of beliefs, similarly to eugenics, that the colonizers— who were often but not necessarily white, as in the case of the English and the Irish, most notably in the Irish Famine and “A Modest Proposal”— were innately superior by way of birth to the people that they were colonizing. Although it is perhaps plausible that some people might believe that what they are doing is right, especially in the case of missionaries and similar people, as in Asia and sometimes in the Americas, there can be no excuse for the massive devastation and destruction that colonialism causes, and leaves on cultures that it attempts to subjugate. In attempting to colonize, they destabilize that region for generations to come, and cause immeasurable harm.


  1. Are there benefits to colonialism? What does the colonialist nation in charge get from the “arrangement”? What does the colonized nation get from the arrangement?

The benefits in colonialism solely go in one direction, and as such, the colonlised nation gets nothing while the colonizers are able to take and plunder those regions for raw materials and often people, who they then enslave or murder. Although many colonialist nations do create infrastructure, this is often at the cost of the lives of the colonized, as they are forced or coerced to do hard labor by the colonialist nation. Reading Leopold’s Ghost, especially its portrayal of the East India Company, confirmed this for me, showing that joint stock companies produce money that goes to the colonized nation, benefiting their citizens and economy, to the detriment of the colonized nations.


  1. And is what is described in the reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost indicative of the extremes of colonialism, the perils of colonialism, or the norm? (The more you are detailed here in your response, the more it’s clear that you got something meaningful out of this reading.)

The reading from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost demonstrates both the norms and the perils of colonialism. Although the Berlin Conference was incredibly malicious, both assuming that the people who already resided there were incapable of self governance and reliance, and wanting to make as much profit as possible, regardless of the physical pain caused, King Leopold was a relatively extreme example. The motivations of the European powers was definitely greed, and although many spoke of noble intentions, I think that many would have been willing to do what King Leopold did, if it meant they were able to make a significant amount of money. However, the fact that many rulers of the time would likely have done the same if they had the same natural resources and were able to get away with it doesn’t excuse what King Leopold did. His decisions to order and allow the brutality that was done to the Congolese people were despicable. There is no justification that could ever make regularly cutting off people’s hands or massacring entire villages right. These are horrific examples of some of the worst of colonization, but by no means can we say that this never happened anywhere else, especially in other colonies. The innate power imbalance between the colonizer and the colonized means that colonizers like King Leopold have the ability to do whatever they want, as long as they can hide it from the rest of the world. The exploitation of the Congo and its people was, at the time, said to be an attempt at “civilizing” a “savage” group of people. How many times has this been used by other colonizers? The system of colonization is, by its very nature, broken.


  1. Finally, the broadest questions: In your view, what short- and long-term effects did the colonization of Africa have on the development of nations on the continent and their status today? And what responsibility, if any, do the colonizing nations have for their former colonial subjects and the nations that emerged after colonialism ended?

The colonization of Africa, in the short term, dramatically reduced its population, both from forced labor and from disease. In addition, they exploited the people of those regions, by forcing them to pay debilitating taxes and provide unsustainable amounts of resources. Over the course of this colonization, much trauma was inflicted, and many cultural heritages lost to time and the decimation of certain groups, including the Congolese. To this day, in the long term, many of Africa’s natural resources have been depleted from the exploitation of the European powers who colonized the continent. In addition, much of the instability that affects African countries today is directly proportional to how much they were affected by colonization. The borders of countries no longer align to the cultural groups that existed before the Berlin Conference, and as such, there are likely still cultural differences within different countries, especially larger ones. It’s no surprise that dividing up a continent arbitrarily, with no consideration for the existing people, causes much lasting harm.


Then, when considering what colonizing nations can do for their former colonial subjects, the first thing that comes to mind is reparations. They have caused extreme suffering, which lasts, both in our genetic information and in the form of generational trauma. However, it does raise the question both of why the descendants of the people who committed this harm should have to pay for things that they had no personal harm in, and of whether, in doing so, there would be even more reliance on their former colonizers. I believe that reparations are necessary, but the question of who and how are both difficult questions, to which there may be no correct answers. In order to regain stability in the long term, I believe it’s important for Africa as a continent to have stable leadership, and to build infrastructure and industrialize in order to have a stronger economy and the ability to participate in international trade. In addition, the colonizers have the responsibility to memorialize the suffering they caused, and to raise awareness of the atrocities that have occurred. For example, South Africa is a relatively prosperous African Country, and I believe that part of that is due to the Truth and Reconciliation Committees that happened there.


In the long run, the reason why colonies like America have succeeded is because colonizers had personal stakes in what happened here, and planned to settle down, as opposed to simply exploiting the colony and then moving on.


What do reasonable reparations look like?

I believe that reasonable reparations look different in every scenario, but that there definitely has to be monetary compensation in addition to apologies. For example, in the case of Germany’s actions against the Herero and Nama people, they offered to fund projects in Namibia worth more than a billion euros over thirty years. Between 1904 and 1908, German colonists in their colony, at the time called “German South-West Africa”, slaughtered thousands of Herero and Nama people, and forced others to do forced labor after they rebelled. Although it’s a good start, there is nothing that can truly restore a human life. Although acknowledging the wrongs done, the reconciliation attempts do not legally bind the German government to pay reparations. The negotiations were also done without the participation of the affected groups, and many tribal leaders disagree with the result of over half a decade of negotiation. There are all issues that should be addressed in future attempts at reconciliation and reparations.


My question is: Do descendants of colonizers hold responsibility for the actions of their ancestors, and if not, who has the responsibility to make reparations for those wrongs?

goldshark567
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21
  1. Although I do not think that there is any sufficient justification for colonization, colonizers claimed that they were helping the people that they colonize. In the case of Belgium’s colonization of the Congo, King Leopold II spread the idea that he was educating a group of “savage” people who needed his help. This relates to the eurocentric views of countries like Belgium, who believed that they were superior to those that they colonized and thus had every right to do so.
  2. There are a lot of benefits to colonialism, but for the colonizer. Colonialist nations often exploit the labor of those they colonize, which leads to immense economic gain. In the Congo, the people living there were forced to fulfill monthly quotas of rubber production, which Belgium and King Leopold II became extremely wealthy off of. Although the country that is colonized may end up with some improvements to where they live because of investments from the colonizing nation, I do not think the slim benefits, if you can even call it that, come even close to outweighing the oppression, deaths, forced labor, loss of freedom, etc. that come with being colonized.
  3. Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost describes what is, unfortunately, the norm of colonialism. King Leopold II utilized labor exploitation and quota systems for rubber production for his own economic gain, but this tactic was used commonly by colonizing nations. Belgium’s colonization was particularly destructive because of how long it went on and because other parts of the world were not aware of the brutality that was taking place. So, I think the reading is indicative of the perils and extremes of colonialism but that does not mean it is describing a unique situation.

In the reading, I also noticed that the people who were leaders in colonization recognized the brutality of their actions. However, instead of choosing to not do them, they distanced themselves from the brutality itself, having people they were in charge of carrying out harmful tasks. For example, in the Congo, chicotte blows were forced to be given by other African people.

  1. The colonization of Africa has had many short and long term effects on the development of the continent’s nations. In the short term, the people native to Africa were often physically harmed, faced labor exploitation, and were forced to live a life that they did not have any decision in. They also dealt with hunger and disease from the conditions that they were forced to live in. During this time, languages and culture were suppressed, which is also a long term effect of colonization, as cultural erasure is a big issue. Today, Africa’s countries are still suffering. Colonization forced Africa to rely on Europe for many products because they were not able to develop enough to produce them themselves. There is also the aspect of generational trauma that is present in previously colonized countries.

To answer the question, “Do descendants of colonizers hold responsibility for the actions of their ancestors, and if not, who has the responsibility to make reparations for those wrongs?,” I think that it is the governments of nations that colonized other nations to be held accountable and to make reparations to the colonized countries. The descendants of colonizers are often white people in positions of privilege, so I think that it is important in that sense for them to recognize the privilege that they have as a result of colonization.

My question is what do you think the most important problem that colonialism has created is and how should it be addressed?

purplepumpkinpie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Colonizing the Kongo

  1. There is no real justification for colonial control over any nation, but the rationalization used by colonizing nations is rooted in the belief in the superiority of one’s nation over others, and the “need” to spread this superiority to other nations. As we’ve discussed in class and as Joseph Conrad wrote, eugenics played a large role in the promulgation of white superiority. “[...] taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves,”
  2. For the colonizer, colonialism boasts an abundant array of benefits such as economic gain, cheap labor, and land usage. Adam Hochschild wrote “nations looking to establish colonies to provide them with economic wealth through natural resources.” about the Kongo. For colonized nations, colonialism is a tale of exploitation, the stripping away of sovereignty, and a lack of representation in government. Colonized nations’ progression and development are also halted and infrastructure is fractured.
  3. What Hochschild describes in King Leopold’s Ghost is somewhat normal in terms of the extremely negative processes which occur in colonialism. King Leopold’s brutality and cruelty were horrendous, but his exploitation of the peoples of the Kongo was like the exploitation of many other colonized nations. The way the men and boys were forced to venture deep into the forests and collect rubber at the guaranteed harm of themselves and their bodies to meet rubber quotas was indicative of the terrorizing grip that King Leopold had on the Kongo. Similar exploitation was committed by the US in Puerto Rico, using people as cheap laborers to grow and harvest sugar cane.
  4. There are many consequences of colonialism that were no fault of the Nations of Africa. Because of the way the African nations were colonized by the Europeans, in that each European nation used the colonies in Africa for economic gain by exporting resources directly back to their nations, they had no reason to build lasting infrastructure in Africa that would benefit the people in the future. In Kongo, King Leopold committed atrocities such as forcing men to work themselves to the brink of death to collect rubber, and if not they would be killed, their hands would be cut off, or they would be violently punished by the Belgian troops. The women would be chained up and held hostage until the rubber quota was met. African villages and people were not allowed to make any progress or even sustain life with simple processes, such as farming that were made impossible by King Leopold’s brutality. Colonizing nations owe at the very least an acknowledgment and the history of colonialism that they’ve carried out and they owe colonized nations the sovereignty and independence which was stripped from them. Monetary reparations would probably also be a good idea, as colonialism would’ve played a large part in hindering the progress of the colonized nation.
  5. My question is: how can we quantify the detrimental effects of colonialism on colonized nations and how can we ever know what’s enough to rectify the wrongs committed by colonizing nations?

purplepumpkinpie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by goldshark567 on February 08, 2022 22:52

  1. Although I do not think that there is any sufficient justification for colonization, colonizers claimed that they were helping the people that they colonize. In the case of Belgium’s colonization of the Congo, King Leopold II spread the idea that he was educating a group of “savage” people who needed his help. This relates to the eurocentric views of countries like Belgium, who believed that they were superior to those that they colonized and thus had every right to do so.
  2. There are a lot of benefits to colonialism, but for the colonizer. Colonialist nations often exploit the labor of those they colonize, which leads to immense economic gain. In the Congo, the people living there were forced to fulfill monthly quotas of rubber production, which Belgium and King Leopold II became extremely wealthy off of. Although the country that is colonized may end up with some improvements to where they live because of investments from the colonizing nation, I do not think the slim benefits, if you can even call it that, come even close to outweighing the oppression, deaths, forced labor, loss of freedom, etc. that come with being colonized.
  3. Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost describes what is, unfortunately, the norm of colonialism. King Leopold II utilized labor exploitation and quota systems for rubber production for his own economic gain, but this tactic was used commonly by colonizing nations. Belgium’s colonization was particularly destructive because of how long it went on and because other parts of the world were not aware of the brutality that was taking place. So, I think the reading is indicative of the perils and extremes of colonialism but that does not mean it is describing a unique situation.

In the reading, I also noticed that the people who were leaders in colonization recognized the brutality of their actions. However, instead of choosing to not do them, they distanced themselves from the brutality itself, having people they were in charge of carrying out harmful tasks. For example, in the Congo, chicotte blows were forced to be given by other African people.

  1. The colonization of Africa has had many short and long term effects on the development of the continent’s nations. In the short term, the people native to Africa were often physically harmed, faced labor exploitation, and were forced to live a life that they did not have any decision in. They also dealt with hunger and disease from the conditions that they were forced to live in. During this time, languages and culture were suppressed, which is also a long term effect of colonization, as cultural erasure is a big issue. Today, Africa’s countries are still suffering. Colonization forced Africa to rely on Europe for many products because they were not able to develop enough to produce them themselves. There is also the aspect of generational trauma that is present in previously colonized countries.

To answer the question, “Do descendants of colonizers hold responsibility for the actions of their ancestors, and if not, who has the responsibility to make reparations for those wrongs?,” I think that it is the governments of nations that colonized other nations to be held accountable and to make reparations to the colonized countries. The descendants of colonizers are often white people in positions of privilege, so I think that it is important in that sense for them to recognize the privilege that they have as a result of colonization.

My question is what do you think the most important problem that colonialism has created is and how should it be addressed?

I think that the most important problem that colonialism has created is the hinderance of progress and development due to the exploitation of peoples of colonized nations. There are other important issues such as the loss of languages and cultures of colonized nations, but I think on a global scale the loss of time and progress is the most detrimental. The rest of the world moves forward while a colonized nation is left with virtually nothing and they have to fend for themselves. I think that financial reparations should be paid by the governments of the nations that carried out the colonialism.

SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

Countries claim colonial control and say that they are “helping” the colony. Although the US has never colonized a country, they use this same tactic. They claim to want to help a developing nation, but often what ends up happening is that they build the country in a way that affirms American control and secures the fact that the country will be in debt to the US that is very hard to come out of. In contrast, European countries do this in a more direct way by simply claiming control over a poorer region. This is easily justified to them because they do not consider the perspective of the colonized nation.

One could argue that there are benefits to colonialism. The colonialist nation gets much more out of the arrangement than the colonized nation. Because the colonized nation is often still developing and poor, the colonizer can use these citizens and resources as a means to do many jobs that they don’t want to do themselves. These people are exploited and end up doing hard labor and manufacturing jobs that need to be done, but often have no one to do it. An example of this is King Leopold taking advantage of the people in the Congo for the rubber industry.

I think that what King Leopold put his subjects through was simply the norm of colonialism. At the time, there was no expectation that people of color needed to be treated with respect or dignity, and colonist nations greatly took advantage of that. The way that Leopold exploited the citizens of the Congo to produce rubber was inhumane. The extreme punishments that were threatened if someone did not bring back enough were terrifying and caused many deaths, but is very rarely talked about.

Although Africa may have been “unsuccessful” in the eyes of the Europeans, many African countries and territories had been thriving for centuries and by colonizing these nations, it essentially held them back on a new level. They then had to adapt and learn how to live under European rule as well as face ongoing racism that is still not even close to being resolved. The Europeans stole and took credit for African ideas and inventions that made their lives better, but those who created them could no longer reap the benefits. Although the present day leaders of colonizing nations were not actively involved in the colonization of other countries, they still owe it to the colonist countries to acknowledge, respect, apologize, and pay them back for the great harm that they caused.

What can we do to raise awareness about these issues that are rarely acknowledged or taught in the school system?

augustine
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The justification is coming from the colonizers themselves. They deem it necessary for resources, like rubber in the Congo, or frame it as a good act, supposedly ‘saving’ the people living in the land that they steal. These ideas are largely justified by racism- if colonizers saw the colonized as equal to them, it would be a different story, but because of racist ideals perpetuated during that time (that are absolutely still present today) it was somehow ‘okay’. Similarly, the only clear benefits of colonization go to the colonizers. Leaders and countries, like King Leopold, gain an immense amount of wealth and power off of the resources they have stolen. The resources of the countries that are taken over are theirs- natural resources as well as people, to be used as labor like in King Leopold’s case, as soldiers, as anything the leaders want them to be. The only possible benefit for the colonized people could potentially be protection- England, for example, was and is a very powerful nation, and being one of its colonies means protection from its massive army. This protection is conditional in a way, because while they might protect from others, the colonizers also cause harm to the people, actively injuring and killing them.

This seems to me like the norm. Going to a country that is already occupied, forcing a new religion onto the people and using the land for its resources is a common trope that we have seen again and again- in the Americas, when Columbus made his ‘discovery’ and forced the people there into Catholicism and a brutal forced labor system, and in the North where Natives were driven from their homes and forced to convert. The brutality in the Congo was horrible, but it was unfortunately not out of the ordinary.

Short term, the effects of colonialism in Africa were a staggering number of deaths, and the destruction of a sort of ‘normal life’- families torn apart and dynamics changed. Long term, Africa still remains behind in terms of world influence, I think directly because of the effects of colonialism. Colonizers leeched every resource they could from the land, giving no thought to the people there or the sustainability of their actions, which left the places they had conquered in shambles. While other nations could focus on innovations, and building power on a global stage, Africa was left with the damage that those other nations had inflicted.These nations without a doubt owe an enormous debt to the countries they colonized. They owe reparations, aid in all sorts of forms (financial, military, etc.) anything that would help the colonized countries be what they could have been, had they not been colonized. I think it would also be important for them to focus on the people. Like the United States- a large portion of immigrants are leaving their countries because of conflicts that the U.S had a hand in, so we owe them a safe place, just like the colonizers owe it to the people of the countries they conquered.

Clover52
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

I would say a justification that is used to control a nation would be to “civilize” the native people of that nation. An excuse that is commonly used is that the people of the nation are “savage” and need to be shown how to live civilly, which usually means the European way of life. The colonizers usually say that they are helping the people there by showing them how to live the right way and save them from destruction and savagery. However, this clearly is just an excuse to gain control over a nation and a territory for the colonizer’s own benefit.


The country that is taken over by the colonizers is the only one who pays the price. The colonist nation never really gets anything positive after getting taken over by a colonizer. They may become industrialized, which is more modernized thinking, but it doesn’t mean it is automatically better at all. Even industrialization can be seen as a negative so there is not really any benefit to the nation or its people by being colonized. It may also be more open to trade opportunities but this can just lead to over-exploitation by the traders which is not good for the nation or the native people.

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost depicts the horrors that native countries and their peoples have indured during colonization. It discussed how Leopold didn’t see the native people as actual humans, their land was his land and he didn’t care about what happened to them as long as he got what he wanted. Gold. He exploited the people in the Kongo to their deaths because he was beyond greedy. I think the reading helps provide a more accurate description of the injustices during the colonization of Kongo, especially since it went generally unacknowledged in Europe.


Both the short term and long term impacts of colonization on foreign soil are traumatic. In the short term, millions of people are slaughtered, their land divided up and their people abused. After the colonizers pretty much leave when they are finished destroying a land, the few survivors are left to rebuild whole nations from the ground up. This sets nations back decades, and makes it even harder to get a spot at the table for modern nations even today. I think one way to repay the colonized nations would be to formally recognize the injustices done and be sent money and aid to help rebuild fully as much as they need. My final question would be how long do you think it will be until all colonized nations’ injustices are acknowledged?

Winters2
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Colonizing the Congo

Very often there is justification sought by those who colonize other territories, and attempting to excuse themselves from their actions happens frequently. A common “reason” for this colonization is that they are bettering the society in which they are attempting to take control over. They attempt to create a narrative where they are heroes and they end up just following a saviors complex and through history we see that they just hinder and hurt these areas. They use the idea that they need to help the area or that they are the only ones that can make it better. In truth, there has not yet been any good reason to colonize another country in history, meaning an act of colonization that is beneficial to both parties. It has only ever resulted in bloodshed and slowed or stunted the growth in that country.

There really are no long term benefits and very often no short term benefits of colonialism for the territory subject to the colonization. Sometimes the colonizer or group of colonizers will benefit from the land they take over. Meaning they may benefit financially or other ways by the land and resources they conquered. However in my opinion these benefits for them do not outweigh or even compare to the loss of livelihood and land and freedom and often loss of many lives suffered by those being colonized. Leopold’s Ghost shows that colonizers get a lot of financial gain out of their trade deals.

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost perfectly captures the true horrors of colonialism. It shows truly what colonialism can mean and what it can do. King Leopold’s treatment of the Congolese does happen to be one of the more explicit and extreme examples, however it’s really important to see the worst of colonialism and how bad things can get. He took control of the Congo by leading people to believe he was there to improve it and westernize it. Leopold is a great example of how a lie could mask years and years of oppression and crimes.This was a strategy used by a lot of colonists trying to hide their true intentions. I think the main take away from Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost was that every small benefit or reward of colonialism for the colonists did not outweigh the pain and suffering that the colonized were put through.

The outdated idea and misconception that many have, of African countries not being as developed as Western countries does remain to persist today, even though this is completely false. A lot of colonization has changed Africa and taken some of the culture out because of European interference. It’s history is littered and stained by oppression and European colonization. Although African countries have rich cultures, we will never know how much of it has been lost and changed after colonization. I like to think that our world now is more aware of true history and knows what they should know. I hope to continue to see development and improvement in our modern society in terms of education and understanding.

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