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Africa Is Very Far Away. Belgium and its Colonial Past in Congo
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Our Colonial Legacy

Africa Is Very Far Away. Belgium and its Colonial Past in Congo

(Marc Reynebeau) The Low Countries - 2001, № 9, pp. 155-163

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The fact that Belgium embarked on an ambitious colonial adventure in the last quarter of the nineteenth century can be attributed to the initiative of King Leopold II. Congo literally became ‘his' colony. For the production of rubber, Leopold imposed a harsh regime of forced labour on the Congolese. This provoked international protest, and in 1908 Leopold transferred control of Congo to the Belgian state. During the half century that Congo remained a colony, Belgian politics showed practically no interest in it. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, after more than 40 years of independence in Congo, it is apparent that Belgium has become completely estranged from Congo.

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