Democratic Republic Of The Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Spinning the wheel of history, it could be seen that colonial masters were ruling over numerous countries. Apparently, they came for civilizing the natives as they used to believe that it is the ‘white man’s’ responsibility to guide and civilize the savages. Congo is one of the countries that remained colonized for years. Both the natural and human resources of Congo were the most fascinating elements that held the attention of colonizers. The Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville) is located on the western coast of Central Africa. It was under the rule of France and got independence on August 15, 1960. Although it got independence years back, still there could be effects seen of colonialism on it and its people.
In 1883, some parts of this land (Congo) became a French protectorate as it joined French Equatorial Africa in 1910. Slave trade transformed the African societies and Congo was one of the countries where the slave trade depopulated and damaged the familial relationships. Depopulation and fractured familial relationships were one of the devastating effects of the slave trade due to which people experienced the worst social and economic conditions. Congo was the last part of the continent to be colonized and, even today, people of Congo are psychologically oppressed because they were made to realize that their lives are regarded as much less than their colonial masters. Colonization affected their personal and familial lives as muscular men and attractive females were taken to other European countries as a result of the slave trade. Colonization fractured the lives of the people as they were parted from their families (Good, 2019). For example, most of the West Africans who used to live near the river - Gambia, Volta, and Congo, were primarily identified as extended families and clans but after the invasion of France, chattel slavery became common in which people were treated as personal property.
Due to colonization both France and Belgium spread their language throughout Congo and influenced the natives to adopt a new language which caused the tribal languages to diminish. Colonization affected the culture of this part of Africa as Christianity spread like wildfire that made them question their culture and traditions. Slave trade could be seen as one of the threatening and lasting effects of colonization and able-bodied people, ranging from 18 to 40, used to be uprooted from their land and forced to make European societies socially and economically strong. Colonization affected the mental set up and development of people living in colonized areas i.e. Congo, as after colonization they were programmed to consider themselves as savages. Another major effect of colonization is the degradation of natural resources (Bewaji, 2019). For example, Congo's benign climate and rich soil made it fertile land, beneath which there were abundant deposits of diamond, gold, copper and oil, and all these resources were the main elements due to which French administration invaded Congo.
It won’t be wrong to say that colonization virtually changed every aspect of Congo and its people, starting from modes of trade, hunting, and personal property. In general, it could be said that the French administration was much bureaucratic, interventionist and centralized than other colonizers i.e. British, Germany, and Spain, etc. France is also blamed for distorting the social and political systems of Congo and undermining moral authority and political legitimacy, at the time. So as a whole it could be said the French rule over Congo enslaved the natives physically and psychologically. Still today, there could be seen, the impact of colonization on their behaviors, way of living, culture, language, and trade. Colonization has damaged the effects on Congo’s culture, language, and mindset of its people that are evident, even today.
Bewaji, T. (2019). Entrepreneurship: The Effect Of Colonization. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 24(01), 1950003.
Good, A. (2019). The Dark Continent? Images of Africa in European Narratives about the Congo.
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