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Zaire/Congo- Industrialization Era

             This photograph is of a little boy obviously severely harmed in the Congo. His right arm and left foot were cut off as punishment for not being able to get his share of rubber in the forests. It was taken by an English photographer, E. D. Morel, in 1906 in the village of Illnega in what was then the Congo Free State under the rule of Leopold the II of Belgium. The purpose of this photograph was to prove the harsh mistreatment of the Africans by the white men working under Leopold, and gain support for the Congo Reform Association trying to improve conditions upon hearing of the cruelties; men, women, and children, frequently had their hands and feet cut off for not collecting enough rubber or making other minor errors in the other industries.
             That photograph reflects the impact of the Industrial Revolution on my country in many ways. Although it did not impact the former Congo Free State till the late nineteenth century due to the fact that the Congo was one of the last areas explored by Europeans, Leopold II got control after the Berlin Conference in 1885 and the impact hit right away. Because European countries were competing economically, it was necessary for Leopold II to try to extract as many natural resources from his territory as possible. The Congo had a vast supply of many of these resources needed for industrialization, especially rubber and ivory. Leopold II exploited the Africans and used harsh tactics to gain as much wealth as possible. Also, he sold a lot of the land to private companies that rose with the Industrial Revolution so that they could exploit the mineral wealth of their territory and give the state (Leopold II) a percentage of their profits. They used this forced labor system as well, also for building railroads, which helped with the industrialization of the Congo.

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