What is a good thesis statement for King Leopold II's reign in the Congo?
The European colonialism of the African continent in the late 1800's was a dirty business. Lost in the history of this human rights devastation is the story of Leopold II, the king of Belgium from 1885-1908. He laid claim to a vast area in sub-Saharan Africa that is today the Democratic Republic of Congo. He did not claim this for the country of Belgium as much as he did to make it his own private fiefdom. He was personally responsible for the demise of millions of indigenous people. Leopold did this out of pure avarice as he stripped the land of its natural resources. He first exploited the people for the profitable ivory trade and as rubber became in high demand, he stole every last ounce of sap from the land. He executed this with a secret military unit that made slaves of the people that lived there. When production quotas were not met, soldiers would brutally butcher and maim the natives. Leopold is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans. The Belgian king was one of the most corrupt leaders in world history and perhaps the greatest criminal of genocide in the history of the 19th Century.