Imperialism In King Leopold's Ghosts

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According to the Encyclopedia Britannica Imperialism is the “state policy, practice, or advocacy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas”. Some of the reasons why imperialism exist are: power, political opportunity, economic, and technology. In King Leopold’s Ghosts we can clearly see all these reasons which lead Leopold conquer part of Africa.
The perceptions that European had toward Africa is that of an empty space with people with primitive culture because people lived in huts, they were naked, practiced polygamy, and some tribes even practiced cannibalism.
The first Europeans to arrive in Africa were missionaries, they wanted to build churches and schools. Missionaries thought that by teaching Christian religion they could change African culture. Because European saw African as primitive, white people probably felt the need to civilize them. Leopold’s image at that time was of a humanitarian, in this way he could start his way to conquer Africa justifying his actions by saying that African people needed to be civilized.
Also at that time Europeans didn’t have much information about Africa. The only information they had was that of explorers, for example from Stanley. He wrote stories about his expeditions to the Congo that sometimes were sensational and not even true. He even describe Africans as savages that wanted to killed him despite the fact that he wanted to help them. That was the image he was selling about Africa. Also the image shown in class of Tarzan is a very visual example of these ideas.
In King Leopold’s Ghost book, in the prologue it says that the image Europeans had of Africans was assure because when Europeans ar...

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...rimitive culture that needed to be civilized, they were people with no education and inferior. Europeans thought of themselves as superior. On the other hand we have perception of Africans towards Europeans, African thought of them as superior “creatures” that came to take everything, probably sent by their gods as a punishment of their actions. Under Leopold’s barbarous rule, African’s were forced to work for him, to satisfy Leopold’s desires which turned into an imperialism. His desires were: political (his need of having more colonies to compete with other European nations), economic (exploitation of raw materials), religion (the need to spread Christianity to change their culture), technology (slaves to work on industrial revolution). His desires turn Africa into a land of human rights abuse which in turn turned into an alteration of perception towards Africans.
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