The extraction of rubber from the Congo Free State by King Leopold II and the Belgians destroyed the lives of millions and stunted the economic development of the country. According to Hochschild, the economies of most pre-colonial African societies were developed and diverse.
Why was rubber so important?
Natural rubber is one of the most important polymers for human society. Natural rubber is an essential raw material used in the creation of more than 40,000 products. It is used in medical devices, surgical gloves, aircraft and car tires, pacifiers, clothes, toys, etc.
Is rubber indigenous to Africa?
Funtumia elastica is a medium-sized rubber tree native to tropical West Africa. It is considered an invasive species in forest understorey and naturally disturbed areas in Samoa and Martinique.
Was there rubber in Africa?
Rubber, also known as hydrocarbon polymer or latex, comes from plants and vines that once grew abundantly on the African continent. During the nineteenth century, French Guinea, Angola, the Gold Coast, French Congo, and the Congo Free State were among the five top rubber-producing states on the African continent.
What was the rubber from the Congo used for?
Congolese workers were sent out into the jungle to slash down vines and layer their bodies with rubber latex. Later they would scrape it off their skin – often taking flesh and hair with it.
How does rubber impact society?
All of these different things, in which rubber is or has been used, have played significant roles in the development of our society. The invention of vehicles made it significantly easier to travel longer distances, and as the technology of vehicles improved, there became many more uses for vehicles.
What are the disadvantages of natural rubber?
One of the biggest limitations of natural rubber is its poor resistance to hydrocarbons, fats, oils, and greases. Contact with these substances can cause swelling, softening, or complete dissolution of the rubber part resulting in partial or complete failure.
Why was Congolese painful for rubber?
To extract the rubber, instead of tapping the vines, the Congolese workers would slash them and lather their bodies with the rubber latex. When the latex hardened, it would be scraped off the skin in a painful manner, as it took off the worker’s hair with it.
What would happen to Africans unable to farm for rubber?
In the 23 years (1885-1908) Leopold II ruled the Congo he massacred 10 million Africans by cutting off their hands and genitals, flogging them to death, starving them into forced labor, holding children ransom, and burning villages. … Failure to meet the rubber collection quotas was punishable by death.
Why do they cut off hands in Africa?
To make up for the low production, troops began to use hands as currency – chopping them was a way of punishing workers who did not fulfill their quotas, and, at the same time, served to show that soldiers were doing their part in exerting pressure over the local population to ensure the fulfillment of these quotas.
How did Belgian rule Congo?
On February 5, 1885, Belgian King Leopold II established the Congo Free State by brutally seizing the African landmass as his personal possession. Rather than control the Congo as a colony, as other European powers did throughout Africa, Leopold privately owned the region.
What was rubber used for during imperialism?
By the middle of the eighteenth century, Europeans had begun to experiment with rubber as a waterproofing agent. In the early nineteenth century, rubber was used to make waterproof shoes (Dean, 1987).
Was there slavery in Belgium?
Recasting Belgium’s national narrative. … Generations of Belgian schoolchildren were told of Leopold’s “civilising” mission – a humanitarian king who abolished slavery, built roads and schools and introduced Christianity and democracy to Congo.
Where is rubber found in Africa?
Where rubber trees are grown
|Liberia||100 000 tons|
|Ivory Coast||18 000 tons|
|Cameroon||12 000 tons|
|Central African Empire||1 250 tons|
|Ghana||1 700 tons|
What were the effects of imperialism in Congo?
The effects of imperialism on the Congo were the depletion of natural resources and the severe mistreatment of the residents.