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Africa during the Scramble: Belgians in the Congo part 1

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
Good article. I'm not sure if I agree with the idea that you'd need to go back to the 17th century to produce a stronger polity capable of resisting external encroachment - I always find statements like that problematic from an AH point of view, because in other timelines they'd probably say that about regions which in OTL saw a new unifying conqueror or a revitalising leader. One way I use this in LTTW is to have Japan be one of those "well obviously them becoming someone else's colony was inevitable" regions.
 

Redolegna

Champagne Socialist
Moderator
Published by SLP
Location
Paris
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A grim read.
And it's only going to get worse.




The corvée had been a thing in Europe until very recently: it was one of the most hated part of the Ancien Régime and featured heavily in list of grievances, and it was abolished in the Night of August 4th, although this was partly rowed back and it was not until 1793 that it was entirely gone with no need from peasants to buy it back. It got abolished wherever the French Empire's writ ran in Europe and kings slowly followed even after 1815. It being put in place by the empires in Africa really shows the contempt on racial lines that the colonists and the metropoles had for Africans: not worthy of enjoying what had been proclaimed as part of the Rights of Man. It's not surprising Vichy went at it with a vengeance.
 

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
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Out of curiosity, how many articles do you intend to devote to the Congo? When it comes time for the great PR battle to be written about, I've got scans of a Free State propaganda pamphlet that I found in the State Library of Victoria I could put up for anyone who's interested.
 

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
And it's only going to get worse.

The corvée had been a thing in Europe until very recently: it was one of the most hated part of the Ancien Régime and featured heavily in list of grievances, and it was abolished in the Night of August 4th, although this was partly rowed back and it was not until 1793 that it was entirely gone with no need from peasants to buy it back. It got abolished wherever the French Empire's writ ran in Europe and kings slowly followed even after 1815. It being put in place by the empires in Africa really show the contempt on racial lines that the colonists and the metropoles had for Africans: not worthy of enjoying what had been proclaimed as part of the Rights of Man. It's not surprising Vichy went at it with a vengeance.
Corvée labour is the term always used in describing what the Chinese Empire got up to, which makes me wonder if this is due to 1) it being written about by French-speakers/French being the international diplomatic language or 2) it being written about by English-speakers who wanted it to compare it to Bourbon practices to show how bad it was.
 

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
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Good article. I'm not sure if I agree with the idea that you'd need to go back to the 17th century to produce a stronger polity capable of resisting external encroachment - I always find statements like that problematic from an AH point of view, because in other timelines they'd probably say that about regions which in OTL saw a new unifying conqueror or a revitalising leader. One way I use this in LTTW is to have Japan be one of those "well obviously them becoming someone else's colony was inevitable" regions.
It's a fair point. Ethiopia would be an OTL example, the speed in which it bounced back from the anarchy of the early 19th century to unify the region is remarkable and had it not happened, I might well write the same thing about needing to avoid the 18th century decline of the emperors in order for them to be capable of resisting external encroachment.

Out of curiosity, how many articles do you intend to devote to the Congo? When it comes time for the great PR battle to be written about, I've got scans of a Free State propaganda pamphlet that I found in the State Library of Victoria I could put up for anyone who's interested.
The plan was for just one more article on the Congo itself though it'll be touched on in other articles. I wasn't going to go too much into the PR battle except as an aside, it's fascinating but a bit tangential, but I might change my mind on that. I'd be delighted to see that pamphlet regardless.
 

Alex Richards

She needs an artificial Mountain, not AV
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Derbyshire
I do promise that there will be articles in this series that aren't just a list of colonial atrocities but it might be a little while before we get there.
It's the problem with a period that's essentially 'Africa is full of people carving their own empire out from the neighbours, who will successfully move from exploitation to state building? Oh wait, never mind, Europe's decided they want it all for themselves.'
 
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