King Leopold's Ghost Quotes


For Europeans, Africa remained the supplier of valuable raw materials—human bodies and elephant tusks.

Narrator, prologue

From the beginning, the author makes it clear that despite what the Europeans and other nations claimed, they were not interested in the wellbeing of those living in Africa and they did not tried to help them advance and reach the same status as them. Instead, Africa was seen as a provider of raw materials that were not found in Europe or other countries. And thus, their actions proved that they saw Africa and the territories they controlled as being simply lands that had to be exploited, not people that had to be respected.

More important, chiefs signed over their land to Leopold, and they did so for almost nothing.

Narrator, chapter 4

Stanley was an important figure that helped King Leopold get what he wanted, namely lands in the African continent. Stanley convinced the Africans chiefs to hand over the rights to their lands without having to fight them and spending too much money. All he had to do was give them small gifts and alcohol and they agreed to do whatever they were asked. But that didn’t meant that they understood completely what they were signing over because more than often the African chiefs did not knew the language spoken by the Belgians nor did they knew how to read and understand the papers they were presented with. Because of this, they were willing to sign over their lands because for them, those pieces of paper had no value and they believed that they could never lose their lands so easily.

He wrote to the Pope, urging the Catholic Church to buy Congo bonds to encourage the spread of Christ's word.

Narrator, chapter 6

King Leopold was a skilled manipulator and he knew what to say and to whom to be given more money. When the private benefactors stopped giving him money and when the European States stopped supporting him, King Leopold turned towards the Church, the only institution that had more power and money than any other country. To gain the Church’s support, King Leopold claimed that he was trying to spread the Word and to do this he needed money to build roads, buildings and railroads. His tactic was so successful that King Leopold used those money to secure his place in Congo and even funded a private army with those funds.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.