King Leopold's Ghost Irony

King Leopold's Ghost Irony


King Leopold wanted to transmit the idea that he abolished slavery in Congo and that it was because of him that the country was free. The truth was that products produced and mined by slaves ended up in Belgium every day and that King Leopold influenced for the worst the slave trade in Congo because it was profitable for the country and for the King to continue using slaves. Thus, the statement that King Leopold abolished slavery was not only a lie but it is also ironical considering how things really were.

Those who wrote history

The history of various African countries was written by their conquerors not by historians born and raised in those countries. While some would be inclined to believe that the conquering nations would be ashamed to reveal the atrocities they did in those countries, the European countries that invaded African nations had no problem bragging with their bad deeds. The whole situation is ironical because if those men would have not written by their horrible behavior, society today would have had no way of knowing what happened 500 years ago and so history as we know it would have been completely different.


The author notes the hypocrisy of various European countries such as Britain and France, countries that began to condemn slavery starting the 19th century. But that did not mean that they stopped profiting from the African countries as they continued to send people there regularly. What they did however to hide their true intentions was to claim that the people they sent were there to promote Christianity and spread the word. While some went there to do just that, a large number of the ones who were sent were there just to make sure that the European countries still profited from extracting various raw materials.

Looking for fame

Stanley Morton was the first one to go inland and travel upstream the Congo River. He hoped that by recording his travels he will be hailed as a hero back home in London so he did not hesitate to publish his writings. Ironically, he did not receive the adoration he had hoped and was instead criticized for the simple fact that he was not an aristocrat. In fact, he was more ridiculed than anything for his adventures.

Not like the others

During the 1876 conference, King Leopold claimed that he was not like other rulers, looking to expand his Empire and enrich his country. He instead made the people present believe that all he wanted was to get rid of slavery once and for all and for that he needed to get involved in African affairs. This however is ironical as the author notes that the only reason King Leopold wanted to reach Africa was to expand his Empire and to gain even more riches.

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