Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Early Period of DRC

Human civilisation was visible in early years of 3,500 BC to 2,000 BC in Northern and North-Western Africa.They produced food, maintained domestic livestockand developed use of oil palm. They also knew iron smelting and excavated iron in Rwanda and Burundi.These peoples are Bantus who drve away the natves from this land.
King Leopold II of Belgium with the help of Stanley purchsed the land of the southern part of the basin of Congo from the local brokers with the money received as a loan from the Belgian Govt. This was also approved in the Berlin conference of 1884-1885 by the 14 countries Europe and United States. Leopold gave the name of this country as Congo Free State.

Heart of Darkness :

Leopold developed infrastructural projects, as construction of railways from coast to the capital and all such projects which would help him to exploit the people of the Congo free State. His method of exploitation was very cruel in nature.He utilised local people to produce rubber with which he prepared rubber tube for international market. The sale of rubber made him a good fortune. He made buildings for him in Brussels and for his own country. He enforced a rule for the local people to fulfil their quota of preparing rubber or he would punish them by cutting their hands. He didn't hesitate even to kill them . By this way he killefd about 10 million congonese. Joseph Conrad wrote a novel mentioning all sorts of cruelty in his book Heart of darkness. Leopold accumulated a vast personal fortune from ivory and rubber through Congolese slave labour. During his time 10 million people had died due to forced labour, starvation, and outright extermination.
In 1908 Belgian parliament despite initial reluctance bowed to international presure, specialy UK, took over the Free State from the king and changed the name as Belgian Congo . The Belgian Congo had then become the colony of the elected Govt. of Belgium.
But this time the country's govt. was unstable which was reflected by its seven changes of names since 1885.
i) Congo Free State (1885 - 1908) = 24 yrs.
ii) Belgian Congo (1908- 60) = 52 yrs.
iii) Republic of the Congo or Cingo-Leopoldville ( 1960- 1964) = 4yrs
Iv) Democratic Republic of the Congo or Congo- kinshasa (1964-1966)= 2yrs.
v) Dem.Rep.of the Congo (1966- 1971) = 5yrs.
vi) Republic of Zaire (1971-1997) = 6 yrs.
vii) Dem. rep. of the Congo (1997 onwards)
During (1908 - 1960) these 52 yrs. national movements against the colonial authorities took place in different colonial countries through out the world and two great wars, world war I and World WarII, took place. In the first case Soviet Russia came out of the clutches of the exploiting capitalists and turned to a socialist state which in turn accelerated the national movement against the colonial rule. The exploited countries gradually became independent after World War II.

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