Selling the Congo
A History of European Pro-Empire Propaganda and the Making of Belgian Imperialism
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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In 1984 my family moved to Brussels, Belgium; my brothers and I attended an international school in Waterloo where we could see the Butte du Lion — the monument to Wellington’s victory over Napoleon — from some of the school’s top-fl oor classrooms. One day, my science...
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One July afternoon in 2000, a group of people, including former colonials, walked through the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels and halted before the simply named Colonial Monument. The monument’s foreground depicted a...
1. The Inheritance: Leopold II and Propaganda about the Congo
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The Kingdom of Belgium, independent in 1830, saw Leopold II ascend the throne to become its second king in 1865.1 He was an intelligent and ambitious dynast who became a colonial genius in 1885 when the European powers recognized his authority over the vast...
2. Denying African History to Build the Belgian Nation: Imperial Expositions
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In some ways expositions of the Congo in Belgium changed little over the several decades of Belgian involvement in central Africa. In 1897 King Leopold II organized a huge display of empire in the village of Tervuren, just outside Brussels, in conjunction with the World’s Fair that year. At...
3. Curators and Colonial Control: Belgium’s Museums of Empire
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When Frans Olbrechts became the fi fth director of the massive Musée du Congo Belge in Tervuren in 1947, a position he was to hold until his death in 1958, he brought a fresher, more worldly, and arguably more learned background to the position than those of his...
4. Educating the Imperialists of Tomorrow
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From the vantage point of 1908, the idea of someone writing a history of Belgian imperial propaganda in the classroom a century later would appear strange, for why would the state or anyone else need to educate Belgians about the Congo? Leo pold II had established an empire...
5. Cast in the Mold of the eic: The Colony inStone and Bronze
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Scholars agree that Leopold II was the driving force of Belgian imperialism, and most would concur that in general Belgians were reluctant imperialists at best during the eic period from 1885–1908. During that time — an epoch of monument building in Europe — probably not more than...
6. Projected Propaganda: Imperialistic Filmmaking in Belgium
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Film as a means of pro-empire propaganda during the New Imperialism is different because motion pictures represented an entirely new medium. Whereas monuments, museums, expositions, and education had histories of signifi cant state involvement dating back to the nineteenth...
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As Frederick Cooper, Gary Wilder, and others have shown, the histories of Europeans and overseas imperialism are inextricably linked to the history of the world beyond Europe; therefore, before concluding, a note on Congolese reactions to pro-empire propaganda and the role they...
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Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 10 illustrations, 1 chart
Publication Year: 2012