African colonialism is replete with stories of mass elimination and horrific acts of aggression committed in the name of European imperialism. The Congo Free State history is not unique in that regard, but it is one of the worst, yet lesser-known, exterminations in history. The Congo Free State was formed in 1885 after Belgian King Leopold II, one of the cruelest leaders in history, convinced his European peers that he should be in charge of a territory over 70 times the size of his own country. Leopold promised that he would civilize the Congo while also exploiting its natural resources and trading with the region.
However, the civilization that Leopold had in mind was a grotesque vision that ended in human tragedy. The Europeans forced the Africans to work without pay, justifying their actions by claiming that the labor was in exchange for civilizing the natives. Far from creating the trappings of what was considered civilized, the modern world committed grave injustices against the people living in the Congo for nearly 25 years. The result was mass loss of life and separation of families on an unimaginable scale.
The Congo Free State Was Created Without The Actual, Informed Consent Of The People Of The Congo
Soldiers Had To Prove Their Kills With Severed Body Parts
Villages Were Severely Punished If The Rubber They Offered Was Not The Best
A Legendary Explorer's Legacy Became Dark Through His Association With Leopold