The history of the Congo Free State is one of devastating genocide, ruthless colonialism, and massive greed, all on the part of one man. Leopold II served as King of Belgium from 1865 to 1909, during which time he managed to create a colony in the Congo over 70 times the size of his Belgian kingdom. Leopold's hunger for power led to devastation in the Congo, a humanitarian disaster that included mutilation, psychological torture, and murder.
Leopold created the Belgian Congo slave trade in order to collect rubber, ivory, and palm oil, and it was quotas of these items that led to brutal treatment of the Congolese slaves forced to fulfill them. This particular photo depicts a Congolese slave staring dejectedly at the severed hands and feet of his five-year-old daughter, his punishment for failing to fulfill a rubber quota. But the dark truth behind this photo is much more gruesome than you would ever imagine.
According To The Photographer, The Child Was Killed And Eaten After Her Hands Were Cut Off
The Photographer, Alice Seeley Harris, Wrote a Book About What She Saw In The Congo
The Anglo-Belgian Rubber Company Earned Huge Profits By Exploiting, Torturing, And Maiming Its Slave Laborers
Leopold II Managed To Enslave An Entire People Without Even Stepping Foot In The Country By Creating A Charitable Foundation