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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
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.
- Spring '14
- Great Zimbabwe