By Guy Vanthemsche
Whereas the effect of a colonising metropole on subjected territories has been generally scrutinized, the influence of empire at the colonising nation has lengthy been ignored. lately, many reviews have tested the repercussions in their respective empires on colonial powers akin to the uk and France. Belgium and its African empire were conspicuously absent from this dialogue. This ebook makes an attempt to fill this hole. Belgium and the Congo, 1885-1980 examines the consequences of colonialism at the family politics, international relations and economics of Belgium, from 1880 - whilst King Leopold II all started the country's expansionist organisations in Africa - to the Eighties, good after the Congo's independence in June of 1960. by means of analyzing the colonial impression on its mom nation Belgium, this learn additionally contributes to a greater knowing of Congo's earlier and current.
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Additional resources for Belgium and the Congo, 1885-1980
Moreover, at the dawn of independence, the Congolese rural sector encountered serious dificulties. Food production was in crisis and food shortages became common. Paradoxically, the Congo, the great exporter of agricultural produce, was forced to import foodstuffs in increasing quantities just to feed its own population. Despite the relative material well-being that certain strata of the black population enjoyed, Congolese society was marked by heavy and threatening imbalances. Compared to other African countries, the Congo had a large urban and industrial proletariat, but it consisted quasi-exclusively of executants.
In this struggle the Force publique (the Congo’s military force) was supported by large numbers of native auxiliary troops having no modern organisation 21 22 Le centenaire de l’État indépendant du Congo. Recueil d’études (Brussels, 1988), p. 533. J. Stengers, “Léopold II et la ixation de frontières du Congo”, Le Flambeau, 46 (1963), pp. 153–97. 125 on Mon Dec 24 07:51:45 WET 2012. 002 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2012 22 Belgium and the Congo, 1885–1980 or discipline. For the king, the ight against slavery was nothing more than a blind aimed at hiding his material ambitions.
While these ‘bright’ facets of the complex prism of colonial life should certainly not be forgotten, the darker facets must also be remembered. Although it was never subjected to a South African-style apartheid system (something the Belgian authorities explicitly rejected), the Belgian Congo did indeed have a colour bar that only began to break down shortly before independence. It is precisely at this point that popular discontent found a more traditional, political expression. Beginning in 1956, newly-created Congolese political associations expressed very cautious and moderated nationalist views.
Belgium and the Congo, 1885-1980 by Guy Vanthemsche