The world has heard of the genocide committed by Nazi Germany on Jews during World War II. The media talks about genocides in the Soviet Union during the reign of Stalin. But what do we know about genocides in Africa?
The Cruel Ruler of Belgium in the Second Half of the 19th Century
King Leopold II, a former Belgian king, committed crimes against humanity that are not written in textbooks, was one of the greatest mass killers in history. He has made history especially by creating the Free State of Congo, which was far from free.
Estimates vary widely, with some sources reporting up to 10 million victims in Congo. The most formidable figures speak up to 15 million people. This figure is based on the census results of 1924, with an estimated 10 million inhabitants in Congo, less than half of the pre-colonization population.
Exploitation and Slavery
Leopold II took the throne in 1865 after the death of his father. Although he was considered a good and gentle ruler of the Kingdom of Belgium, on the other hand, he exploited the African Congo colony, which he considered his property. He used sources from Congo for the development of Belgium, mainly ivory and rubber. The territory of Congo, with an area of over 900,000 square kilometers, was to serve primarily as a business plan for ivory and rubber production.
His empire was so vast and cruel that it crossed even the worst dictators of the 20th century. The colony in Central Africa was dominated by bloodshed, slavery, torture and executions. The Congolese people were treated inhumanly. In addition to forced labor and constant terror, their hands and sexual organs were cut off. They were destroying homes and kidnapping children.
Wealth to Madness?
His property was three million pounds. According to the History Revue magazine, this is equivalent to one billion pounds today. As a result, he was considered one of the richest people in the world.
Leopold II tried to buy or at least to rent Sudan colony from the UK, where he planned all men to make an army and conquer China. Fortunately, this crazy plan didn’t work out for him. After it became clear what the atrocities were committed by Leopold II in Congo, under duress, he transferred the country’s stewardship to the state, making Congo a Belgian Congo, which gained independence in 1960.
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