EI 05 Africa 1453-1914

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Unformatted text preview: himself. He claimed that his goal was to end the slave trade, but he was really looking for a colony. Belgium was a constitutional monarchy, and because Leopold didn’t think the Belgian people would consent to colonialism, he undertook the project in his own name and with his own money. In1878 Leopold hired the British explorer Stanley to sign treaties with African tribal leaders recognizing Leopold as their ruler. In 1885, he announced the creation of the Congo Free State. He borrowed money from the Belgian parliament, created an army, and asserted control of the region. He also raised funds by leasing huge tracts of land in the interior of the country to Belgian corporations and granting them mineral rights. The Congo turned out to be rich in diamonds in the west, gold in the east, and copper in the south. Leopold declared himself the owner of all unimproved land, and claimed a monopoly on the rubber and ivory trade. Extracting sap from rubber trees was a labor intensive operation, and a work requirement was imposed on all natives—enforced by...
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This document was uploaded on 03/10/2014 for the course HISTORY 1020 at Wisc Platteville.

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