Impact of Imperialism in Africa
Case Study: Congo
History 110 - World History
The imperial campaigns to establish the Congo Free State are remembered for incorporating the most drastic measures of exploitation; subjecting the Congolese to many of the worst war crimes documented in imperial Africa. This was harnessed by their European colonizers, the Belgians. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness recollects the dark stories of Marlow by following his expedition through the uncharted territory of the Congo. Marlow's understanding of imperialism is simplistic, initially seeing the merely political tool as, "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only". It is evident that Marlow is confused by the aims of imperialism because he is unable to find any just reasoning for these tactics.
This becomes, in part, a personal quest for Marlow to redefine what he believes imperialism to be. However, in midst of his search for the truth, he becomes overwhelmed by the horrors and disturbances of the Congo. Marlow recollects an event where a rebel village had been sacked by Belgian forces;[1: Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.]
"There were no signs of life... These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing--food for thought and also for vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascend the pole....I returned deliberately to the first I had seen--and there it was black, dried, sunken with closed eyelids--a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that...