Imperialism of Africa (Congo)
Evaluate the effects of imperialism on your assigned African country.
Imperialism in the Congo has been somewhat beneficial to the country but mostly has hurt the natives that lived there.
- Before European imperialism, the majority of African society was comprised of clans and kinship groups, which settled in small villages ruled by chiefs. However, during the 13th and 14th century, villages condensed the groups to form small states comprised of a few villages each. One of these states was the Kingdom of Kongo, which is located along the Congo River. The villages of this state were governed by chiefs and divided into six provinces, each of which was administered by a governor. The Kingdom of Kongo as a whole was ruled by a king, who also controlled the military, judicial and financial affairs of the state.
- In the 1870’s, a Scottish missionary by the name of Livingstone set out on an expedition of Africa and vanished, prompting the American journalist Henry Morton Stanley to search for him. Stanley explored the area along the Congo River and periodically sent back reports of the riches and abundant resources he found there. Intrigued by these reports, King Leopold II of Belgium asked Stanley to return to the Congo and paid him to make negotiations with local chiefs that gave the Belgian government control over their land. Having gained its independence in the 1830’s, Belgium had been independent for barely 40 years when it first colonized the Congo, and consequently had no other colonies.
- On January 20, 1960, the Belgian government invited members of 13 different political parties – 96 different Congolese – to the month-long Brussels Round Table talks. At the talks the Congolese demanded immediate independence while the Belgian government preferred a process spanning three to four years. Putting up a united front and completely unwilling to back down, the Congolese representatives got their demand, and the date for Congo’s independence was set: June 30, 1960. Free elections for the government were set for May.
- Currently, present day Congo has a reoccurring problem with protests going on right now, and many issues internally with its government. Opposition parties have called for further mass demonstrations against a draft law that would enable president Joseph Kabila to extend his rule. In attempt to keep a lid on the protests, authorities have shut down the internet in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo. The opposition is demanding that Kabila, the president of Congo who has been in power for 14 years, quit when his mandate ends in 2016.
In conclusion, The Congo has benefited from Belgian imperialism by means of the following:
Greatly improved healthcare
Railroads, ports, and mines
Palm oil production is a massive industry
However the positives are completely outweighed by the negatives that imperialism brought to the congo:
Culture was destroyed
50% of population died
Little to no education left
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