King Leopold's Ghost Imagery

King Leopold's Ghost Imagery


In the first chapter, the author presents the image many had about King Leopold. It was important for him to be seen in a positive light by the rest of the European countries because it was the only way he could continue exploiting Congo. And thus, Leopold is portrayed as being a humanitarian and philanthropist who helped the African country get rid of slavery and who brought Christianity to Congo.

Inferior men

The author points out that in the beginning, when the Europeans first interacted with the Africans, the man of color did not have the same status as it ended up having a few hundred years later. The Europeans treated the Africans with the same respect they would treat anyone else and before visiting the southern continent they envisioned them as powerful people, with many riches and advancements of their own. What changed the perception of the world and the way the world saw Africa was the slave trade because the slave trade portrayed the slave as being naturally inferior to his masters. Thus, because the slaves in Europe and America were predominantly black, many came to associate the black skin with slavery and implicitly with inferiority.

The Dark continent

For many centuries, when Europeans talked about Africa they referred to it as being the Dark Continent. This reveals important information about the way Europeans used to think about the southern continent, namely that it was portrayed as a dangerous, hard to reach, uncivilized world. For many, Africa became synonym with danger and this idea was promoted for a long time by the Europeans.

Diverse tribes

Until the 19th century and even after that period, whenever a writer chose to talk about Africa and its tribes, they described them as being almost the same, with no diversity whatsoever. The truth however was and is different as the author of the book presents. Instead of portraying the African tribes as a being uniform, the writer portrays them as being diverse and different. He takes time to point out that the tribes were like different countries, with their own culture, art, customs and traditions. Some of them remained in the same place for an extended period of time while others travelled frequently because they had to follow the animals they depended on for food.

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