The motivations for King Leopold's imperialism of the Congo was the vast amount of natural resources present in the Congo such as ivory and rubber. His title and name was passed to his descendants and successors as rulers of the kingdom. In recent weeks the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, and before that the Belgian Congo, has been in the news: A brutal civil war, an horrendous AIDS epidemic, the assassination of its dictator, Laurent Kabila, and now a new President, Kabila's son Joseph, who is in Washington for talks with the Bush Administration. The villages were often governed by lesser relatives of the King who were responsible to him. Morel and Henry I. Kowalsky spoke out against the violence in the Congo and Leopold’s attempts to control the media. However, Europe’s interest in the African slave trade eventually died down leaving the Congo once again independent, but even greater atrocities would soon follow. At its peak, the empire had about a million people paying tribute to its king. In recent weeks the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, and before that the Belgian Congo, has been in the news: A brutal civil war, an horrendous AIDS epidemic, the assassination All members of government were invested with their power under the auspices of a ritual specialist. Subsequent migrations from the Darfur and Kurdufan regions of Sudan into the north of Congo, as well as East Africans migrating into the eastern Congo, added to the mix of ethnic groups. The most important harbor was Mpinda (modern Soyo). The Congo was first imperialized by King Leopold II of Belgium, whose main motivation for imperialism was the Congo's vast amount of natural resources such as copper, diamonds, and coal. Belgian imperialism: the colonisation of the Congo. Since he controlled the Congo completely independently of the Belgian government, Leopold decided to give the Belgian government the Congo in an attempt to stop the negative press coverage. Also, much has been made about the large number of primitive hunter-gatherer groups that inhabit the Congo, especially the Pygmy population. ... Before imperialism. Before Colonization. Prior to colonization it was run by chiefs, clans and different groups of people. He introduced ivory and rubber business to the people. The federation's capital was Nsheng, which is now modern Mushenge. Imperialisms in Congo Imperialism in Congo The concept of Renewed Imperialism was prominent during the nineteen century. Its strong economy and food-base allowed the region to become extremely wealthy. This began the process of imperializing Africa. The imperialism of the Congo was mostly economic. After imperialism. Share. France controlled much of North Africa, West Africa, and French Equatorial Africa (unified in 1910). "Pre-colonial history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo", Learn how and when to remove this template message, A very brief history of pure mathematics: The Ishango Bone, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pre-colonial_history_of_the_Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo&oldid=985788232, History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Articles needing additional references from February 2013, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 October 2020, at 23:25. Also due mainly to its location, even after Belgium officially established the Congo Free State in 1885, the Kuba were able to sustain their federation, which comprised some 100,000 square kilometers and had a population of approximately 150,000 inhabitants. These trade goods would also form, in addition to slaves, the backbone of the Kongo's trade with Europeans (primarily the Portuguese), upon their arrival. The aforementioned slave trade was to be a significant factor in bringing about the end of Kongo, as the elites of the kingdom allowed European slave traders to eliminate a significant percentage of the population. When the Kongo Kingdom was at its political apex in the 15th and 16th centuries, the King, who had to be a male descendant of Wene, reigned supreme. Their propagation was accelerated by the adoption of pastoralism and of Iron Age technology. (Who might have built the 2nd one?) [1][2], In 1960 the Ishango bone tool was discovered, fashioned from the fibula of a baboon with a sharp piece of quartz affixed to one end, perhaps for engraving. Brooks, A.S. and Smith, C.C. The region in which these cultures appeared is particularly rich in ore and these civilizations began to develop and implement iron and copper technology, in addition to trading in ivory and other goods. 7. 2017 December - DR Congo is experiencing a "mega-crisis", with conflict having forced 1.7 million people to flee their homes during the year, aid agencies say. Additionally, the region was endowed with favorable agricultural conditions and a wealth of fish and game. The empire became a confederation of a number of kingdoms or chieftainships which enjoyed a degree of local autonomy (as long as tributes were paid), with Mwata Yamvo as paramount ruler, and a ruling council (following the Luba model) to assist with administration. Additionally, it must be mentioned that, as is this case today, the Congo River and its tributaries, as well as climatic conditions in general, play a powerful role in shaping the lives of the inhabitants of the Congo. Two Inventions change the Game for the Congo! Eventually, after colonial officials were able to enforce their authority upon the Kuba near the end of the 19th century, the entire region became increasingly unstable. The United States was the first nation to recognize the Belgian Congo. This led to the displacement of the hunter-gatherer groups in the east and southeast. [7], The Stairs Expedition sent by Leopold under the flag of his Congo Free State was the winner of this scramble for Katanga when it killed Msiri (putting his head on a pole as a 'lesson' to his people), and installed a successor who would sign Katanga over to Leopold. These new divisions were taught to fight against each other. The Kuba Kingdom, or more accurately, the Kuba Federation, was a political entity (one comprising a collection of approximately twenty Bantu ethnic groups) that began to develop out of a number of decentralized, ethnically Bantu states (namely the Luba, the Leele, and the Wongo ethnic groups). The political institution of the chieftain became generally accepted and these rulers became increasingly powerful, especially at the end of the 16th century. The people captured by the Portuguese would be taken away from their people and forced to serve strangers until their death, all while the Portuguese criticized the Congo for their “uncivilized” behavior. The name “Kuba” is derived from the term used by the Luba (whose kingdom lay to the south of the Kuba) for the civilization. The people living in the south and southwest were hunter-gatherer groups, whose technology involved only minimal use of metal technologies. At the same time, however, Álvaro had to allow the Portuguese to establish a colony in his province of Luanda in the south of his country. Public Affairs, New York. Comment. (1987): "Ishango revisited: new age determinations and cultural interpretations". 2. The birth of the Lunda Kingdom is traced back to Ilunga Tshibinda who left his brother's Luba Kingdom and married a princess from an area in the south of Katanga. The Luba Empire's success was due in large part to its development of a form of a government durable enough to withstand the disruptions of succession disputes and flexible enough to incorporate foreign leaders and governments. The Luba model of governing was so successful, it was adopted by the Lunda Kingdom and spread throughout Katanga and northern Angola as well as northwestern Zambia and its Luapula Province. Congo gained independence in 1960, but Belgium stilled considered Congo to be a part of the Belgian economy. While he completely controlled production in the Congo, Leopold could not silence dissent forever. Much of the Congo Free State was located in Central Africa in a large Jungle. The Luba empire was the largest and dominated most of the land. Hierarchies changed. The Congo was seperated into six different provinces, much like American states. It is obvious to say that imperialism changed the religious face of Africa. The dominant political force of the Congo region prior to and during the initial arrival of Europeans was the Kingdom of Kongo. Their system consisted of a head ruler or a king. He asked Stanley to convince local leaders in Congo to sign their land into Belgian control; Leopold was interested in Congo’s vast supply of ivory, Leopold’s soldiers enslaved Africans and moved them to labor camps, with mandatory quotas; if they didn’t meet the quotas, they were beaten, mutilated, or publicly executed, Social activist and journalist Edmond Dean Morel spoke out against violence in Congo and Leopold’s attempts to control the media; Africans in the Congo shared their stories, The new Belgian King, Albert I, stopped the forced labor camps and harsh punishments. The activities of the court were supported by an extensive system of civil servants, and the court itself usually consisted of numerous male relatives of the King. -The Congo was given independence from Belgium in 1960 and gained control over their own government, education and resources Negative: -Belgians destroyed the existing political structure of the country, when the Congo was given independence from Belgium the indigenous people did not have any political structure If the leaders refused to sign the treaties, Stanley would use either trickery, threats, or brute strength to force the leaders to sign. Imperialism: European imperialism in Africa around 1900 made different European powers to divide Africa. However, the well-organized Kuba fought relentlessly against the regime and the area was one of the main sectors of resistance to Belgium throughout its rule. The king would oversee all judicial, military, and financial issues. The Commission wrote a testimony of their experience in the Congo and destroyed the idea of Leopold being a benevolent caretaker. The most important were the Kongo kingdom in the west and the Luba-Lunda states in the east. 5 September 2018 By Johan Lagae Essays. The Bantu migrations added to and displaced the indigenous Pygmy populations in the southern regions of the modern Congo states. From the 15th to the 17th century several important state systems evolved in the southern savanna region. In 1884 the Berlin Conference took place to organize the said “Scramble for Africa” ("Imperialism: The belgian," 2012) and to grant King Leopold II his wish to rule the Congo. The Upemba established a strong commercial demand for their metal technologies and were able to institute a long-range commercial net (the business connections extended over 1500 km, all the way to the Indian Ocean). Although he no longer had control over the Congo, Leopold had made a fortune by exploiting its people and natural resources. The Congo didn't exist until the Europoean creation of the area for its use of the natural resources for trade. The greed for resources and Christian souls was a lesson in brutal European colonialism In this case Belgian King Leopold II. Initially called the Congo Free State, the colony remained a personal possession of King Leopold II from 1885 until 1908 when it was taken over by … This was mainly due to his African blood and Sheppard was able to live amongst the Kuba for four months. Before imperialism came to the Congo, it was a state of slave raids, unused natural resources, and Christianity. Leopold administered the Congo in a notoriously brutal manner, using it to augment his own personal wealth. However, when Belgium began imperializing and colonizing the Congo, King Leopold II became dictator of the country. Henry Morton Stanley was one of the first and most important European explorers in the Congo. [8] The chieftainship continues to this day under the title Mwami Mwenda ('Mwenda' was one of Msiri's names).[9]. When King Álvaro I, came to the throne in an environment of contestation in 1568, he immediately had to fight invaders from the east (who some authorities believe were actually rebels within the country, either peasants or discontented nobles) called the "Jagas". The rivers are and were tremendously important to regional trade and provide a vast natural network for such activities, in addition to providing a source of food and water (which is needless to say, abundant) to the population. The 5th century saw this societal evolution develop in the area around present day Kamilamba at the Kabambasee, which was followed and replaced by a number of other cultures which were based around the cities of Sanga and Katango. The Bemba people under Chitimukulu migrated from the Lunda Kingdom to Northern Zambia. King Leopold II (1835-1909) of Belgium created the Congo Free State in 1885 as part of a professed desire to bring civilization and modernity to Africans. Rising population soon made intricate local, regional and foreign commercial nets possible, forming networks that traded mostly in salt, iron and copper. The Spanish ruled small parts of Morocco and coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean. Waves of Bantu migrations from 2000 BC to 500 AD moved into the basin from the northwest and covered the precolonial states absorbed or overthrown by the colonial powers. A fierce sense of nationalism encouraged countries to fight to outpace other nations’ production. This culture, known as the Upemba, would eventually evolve into the more significant Luba Empire, as well as the Kingdom of Lunda. The Kongo and the Kuba were the largest political entities in the precolonial Congo area. 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