chapter  12
34 Pages

Resisting European and Arab slave traders

Great gain was to be obtained from the exploitation of the African continent, and during the latter part of the nineteenth century the cauldron that boiled was the vast area of Central Africa. Here, in the tropical rainforest, Europeans and Arabs would risk their lives in the greedy reach for wealth and in the process inflict senseless pain on the African continent. The Congo basin quickly became an arena where the forces of Europe and the Arabs met in an attempt to subdue the massive country of Congo. Both failed, but in their failures they meted out some of the most brutal suffering ever witnessed by humans upon the innocent people of the Congo. Henry Morton Stanley, the naturalized American who had been a representative of King Leopold in the Congo, brought Leopold a handful of alleged treaties he had made with African nations giving Leopold control over the Congo basin. He had become famous as the person the New York Herald had commissioned to go to Africa and find the missionary David Livingstone. He then traveled across the continent from east to west, becoming the first white man to do so. When he arrived in Europe with the news of his journey and the great wealth of the Congo he could find no excitement in Britain, but King Leopold of Belgium took an interest in Stanley’s work and spent some of his own fortune commissioning Stanley to work for him. Thus, the treaties that he presented to King Leopold strengthened the hand of the king when he asked the Europeans to legitimize his rule over the Congo, which he called the Congo Free State. Of course, it was not a free state; under the control of Leopold’s minions it was to become one of the most brutal slave regimes in history.