French and British Colonialism and Imperialism in Africa Africa is home to countless cultures that all have their own unique ideas and customs. During the past couple of centuries, these cultures were threatened to the point where they almost ceased to exist. The Berlin Conference was a very important occurrence in Africa and Europe's history. It legitimized what the European powers, mainly France and Britain, had been doing for the past hundred years, without the approval of any African country. During the late nineteenth century, France and Britain began imperialistic ventures into Africa, which eventually led Leopold II to conquer the Congo.
Boston: Harvard Educational Review, 1974. 33-41 Vansina, Jan. ?African Resistance and the Liquidation of the European Empire.? 1978. African History. New York: Longman Group Limited, 1995.
Packham, Eric S. The U.N. Intervention in the Congo After Independence. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1998. http://homepages.uel.ac.uk/mye0278s/ACP1.htm
Between 1885 and 1908, Belgium’s Leopold II ruled Congo, a region in central Africa, as his personal colony, exploiting the resources and inhabitants for his own gain. Leopold allowed and encouraged Europeans and other Westerners to enter Congo and set up companies whose primary purpose was to gather rubber, which was abundant but difficult to get to in the Congo, using the Congolese as the laborers for the Europeans. Rubber gathering in Congo brutally exploited the inhabitants of the Congo, while at the same time robbed Congo of wealth, as the rubber was “sold” to the Europeans at prices far below what the rubber was actually worth. Only when others, specifically the British and the Americans, revealed the horrible conditions of the Congo, did the Belgian government reluctantly take over control of Congo, but the damage was done. Scholars, such as Martin Meredith, state that Leopold II was “An ambitious, greedy, and devious monarch” whose “Principle aim … was to amass as large a fortune for himself as possible.” Meredith also quotes Joseph Conrad, who described the Congo Free State “As ‘the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience.’” Yet, there are some scholars and officials who support Leopold II and the Congo Free State.
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Bratton Michael, and Nicolas Van De Walle. Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print. Coleman, James S. Nigeria: Background to Nationalism.
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Press, 1977. Lord, George de Forest. Trials of the Self: Heroic Ordeals in the Epic Tradition Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1983. McLynn, Frank. Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa.