Colonization Of Mongo Basin Effects Essay Research
Colonization Of Mongo Basin: Effectss Essay, Research Paper
The Congo basin is a huge country of land in Africa which straddles the Equator. Its
historical records begin with the & # 8220 ; find of the Congo River by the Potugese & # 8221 ; . ( Nelson
1994:2 ) This land was inhabited long before European reaching, the Mongo and other autochthonal
people of this country already lived in this country. This essay will define the short term and lasting
effects of European Imperialism in the Congo basin in respect largely to the Mongo.
To measure the alterations which took topographic point with the reaching of Europeans, foremost one must
learn about the Mongo prior to colonisation. The Mongo lived in the segmentary line of descent theoretical account.
They were arranged in small-scale small towns, with affinity and senior status being big societal
determiners. These were non the lone factors involved, personal accomplishment played a really
of import function in the Mongo. The consequence was a complex, competitory and dynamic
society. ( Nelson 1994:13 ) The economic system of the Mongo was based on the thought of subsistence but
in some countries specialisation occurred and the consequence was trade among groups. This dates back to
the first colonists of the Congo basin. The first migrators moved to the most favourable life countries,
chiefly by the H2O. These groups would angle for their nutrient. Other groups would settle inland
and take up runing and garnering as their chief beginnings of nutrient. These groups finally started
to merchandise and a market system began. ( Nelson 1994: 18 ) The Mongo were an inland group whose
chief nutrient bring forthing activities included hunting, assemblage, fishing and agribusiness. No one activity
was dominant, each was every bit of import and was used harmonizing to the natural factors,
including season, and local involvements. ( Nelson 1994:19 ) The Europeans came to this portion of
Africa and did non understand these people at all. This misconception led to much ignorance of
the native groups. The life style of the Mongo and others were shortly to alter.
The ignorance on the portion of the Belgians, on first reaching, to the Mongo manner of life led to
many misconceptions on the portion of Europeans. First, the colonialists viewed the forest and its
dwellers as unvarying and dead. ( Nelson 1995:15 ) Two thoughts grew out of the Mongo & # 8217 ; s
relationship to the wood. The first made the forest seem impenetrable and a cause of the
Mongo & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; non-development & # 8221 ; . The 2nd reading made the forest into a resource with
limitless supply and the Mongo as the donees. Purportedly the forest made life easy for
the Mongo and they had become lazy. ( Nelson 1994:15 ) The thought that Africans were lazy was
really common among colonisers. This gave them the right, in their heads, to coerce the Africans to
work so as to educate the indigens in & # 8220 ; proper & # 8221 ; work wonts.
The African has non our impressions of work. His ideal is a
lazy being typical of dwellers of tropical
states & # 8230 ; The enticement of wealth does non be for him,
for he is content simply to populate. The more [ the African ]
additions by working, the faster he will rest. ( Leplae
The Belgian authorities, like any coloniser, used the Congo basin for its resources.
These resources included people, in the signifier of slaves, tusk from elephants and gum elastic.
Europeans did non really travel to roll up these resources on their ain, they had the indigens bring
the goods to them. & # 8220 ; Fishermans abandoned their traditional ways of life to go professional
slave and tusk traders. & # 8221 ; ( Nelson 1994:43 ) The Belgian authorities set up outstations all down the
Congo river as trading stations. With this addition in trade came an addition with contact between
the Mongo and Europeans. Trade had antecedently existed in this part but the new markets built
upon these trading paths doing them more generalised and larger. As good an change to
these webs occurred presenting new forms and dealingss of work and commercialism. These
alterations were non even throughout the basin. Communities which lived along the river were much
more affected by this new trading than were inland communities. ( Nelson 1994:57 ) Belgium & # 8217 ; s
relationship with the settlement was decidedly non reciprocally good. Belgium bought the altogether
stuffs at highly low P monetary values and could so sell the goods at market monetary values and do a
considerable net income. Although many resources were taken from the Congo basin, the footing for
pick was ever the major European market. As the monetary value of one good fell, the authorities
would alter their policy and concentrate their attempts on another good. This policy led to many
jobs as it merely considered the short-run and wholly ignored the long-run
reverberations. The reverberations were the exhaustion of some resources. An illustration of this is
a small town headsman talking to a British missionary:
State them [ the gum elastic agents } that we can non and
hence will non happen gum elastic ; we are willing to pass
our strength at any work possible, but the gum elastic is
finished. If we must either be massacred or convey
gum elastic, good, allow them kill us ; so we suppose they will
be satisfied. ( Harms 1975:85 )
Not all indigens merely worked as the Europeans told them to, many rebellions against the
settlers occurred. An illustration is from the 1960 & # 8217 ; s where in Vanuata, islands in the Pacific
Ocean, a local adult male really paid people to fall in a reserves against the colonisers. Finally the
group disbanded but many people joined in the battle against oppresion. ( Reasonably 1994:51-2 ) In
Africa nevertheless the earliest and most violent confrontations with the Europeans include the
African jobbers whose control of the river trade was in danger. Outstations were burned and
raided and two employees were murdered. This incident nevertheless was met with penalty by
the Europeans. An illustration was made of some groups in the signifier of cut downing and combustion of full
small towns and killing all dwellers. This & # 8220 ; mollification run & # 8221 ; did non work in closing down
resistance but the big companies did take control anyhow. ( Nelson 1994:54 ) The rebellions were
unsuccessful in halting the Europeans but many times it succeeded in procrastinating operations.
Until the 1930 & # 8217 ; s, life in the Congo had changed but the societal construction within the
communities had non. The great economic crisis of the 1930 & # 8217 ; s saw the prostration of all trade good
monetary values. Belgique had to alter it & # 8217 ; s colonisation construction to increase net income
s one time once more. The consequence
was a program called Entire Civilization. It comprised many plantations on which harvests would be
grown every bit good as societal development plans for the African workers. Not surprisingly the
societal development portion of the Entire Civilization program ne’er really took consequence and the new
system was little more than a new system to increase net incomes by increasing end product. Compulsory
quotas were produced and control over the population increased through the issue of
bankbooks and the assignment of heads. ( Nelson 1994:152-3 ) This new program merely angered
the indigens even more because non merely did it interrupt their manner of life as colonialism had from the
start but now they were forced out of their place and made to work even harder. The new
system merely fronted for an expansion of the colonial subjugation. Extra statute law was
passed which limited the power an itinerant bargainer could accomplish. These Torahs showed the existent
engagement in the economic system of the Africans was limited to the eating of natural stuffs,
groceries, and labour to European centres. ( Nelson 1994:160 ) This program did non get down off as
misguided as it end up. The Duke of Brabant and inheritor to the Belgium throne at the clip returned
from a trip to the Congo with the end of breaking the lives of the Africans. The thought behind the
program is stated by on of the program & # 8217 ; s advocates, & # 8220 ; Local production is best assured by the indigen
who is no longer a salaried worker but a free provincial, the owner of his ain land. & # 8221 ; ( Hostelet
1954:267-9 ) Although this seems like the right class of action to the European who has no
other experience with development other than their ain, the African would non needfully desire
this. The indigens of this country had lived and would hold continued to populate in the same manner as they
ever had and did non look to desire their ain piece of land to reap. They already had a
system and the Europeans were seeking to coerce another system upon them. The Europeans
thought that by giving the indigens more engineering they would instantly desire it, but this
engineering was non of usage to the Mongo or the other communities because they had no ground
before the European reaching to turn more nutrient than they already did.
The policies of Entire Civilization contributed to a
cardinal and lasting split in Mongo society, a
division between the universe of the small town and a new,
more individualistic society germinating in the plantations
and in the urban centres of the Congo basin. ( Nelson
On the plantations this new division was most noticeable. The companies hired African
capita & # 8217 ; s to be an intermediary between the European proprietor & # 8217 ; s and the African worker. This was
good to the European because foremost the African would have less wage and secondly the
white proprietor would non hold to hold every bit much contact with the workers. This new place is
rather of import in Mongo history because for the first clip one African is in charge of another
African. Classs started to develop even among the Africans themselves. Work on the
plantations was contracted for periods of a few months. This allowed the load of subsistence
to be left with the local communities and non with the Belgium employers. In some instances full
small towns were moved closer to the plantations one time once more beliing the declared Belgium ends
of non impacting traditional life. ( Nelson 1994:185 ) Every facet of work at the plantation was
arranged to maximise production and to minimise cost but with no respect for the existent homo
engagement in the procedure.
The coloniser & # 8217 ; s relationship with the Africans was a consequence of the European & # 8217 ; s attitude
towards the settlement. Although officially their motivation was to convey development to a perceived
& # 8220 ; crude & # 8221 ; civilization, their actions contradicted their words. Forced labour and quotas made the
working environment a harsh and drab topographic point. The Africans worked out of fright of decease or
imprisonment more than for the chance to & # 8220 ; learn & # 8217 ; . The economic system was based on net income
maximization and non cultural maximization. The Mongo and the other autochthonal groups of that
country were forced to alter their full manner of life to suit the Europeans.
Although the colonial period is merely a short clip in the long history of the Mongo, many
important alterations took topographic point as a consequence of the colonial regulation. Many societal, economic and political
alterations have resulted from the colonial experience. First the chief societal alterations have been in
the manner of life including their Western manner of frock, the Gallic linguistic communication and the amusement
which resembles the European theoretical account. ( Nelson 1994:194 ) Equally good the societal organisation of the
communities has changed. A big part of people now work on plantations which operate
much the same manner as they did under colonialism. Economically since the plantations still exist
the common worker is still exploited to the full extent possible for the intent of maximising
net incomes. The political organisation is now an bossy absolutism but alternatively of Belgians being
in charge Africans are in charge. Not much has changed except for the people in charge.
Workers are still exploited for an increased net income. Some parts of the basin are still the same
basically as before colonisation, but the bequest still lives on.
Although the Mongo suffered greatly during the colonial period they have survived and
continue to be. They have non lost their traditional values, even if the values have changed
somewhat. This set of values and their ability to perserverence hold made them stronger and will
continue to make so every bit long as they can stress the importance of these values to the hereafter
coevalss. Hopefully these coevalss will non hold to confront the atrociousnesss which their ascendants
1975 & # 8220 ; The End of Red Rubber: A Reassessment. & # 8221 ; Journal of African History16: 73-88.
1954 L & # 8217 ; Oeuvre civilisatrice de la Belgique au Congo de 1885 a 1953. Bruxelless: ARSC.
1994 Women of the Past. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers.
1920 & # 8220 ; La state of affairs agribusiness au Congo belge en 1919. & # 8221 ; Bulletin Agricole du Congo.10: 1-23.
Nelson, Samuel H.
1994 Colonialism in the Congo Basin 1880-1940. Athinais: Center for International Studies.