HIST 150 Congo Relationship with the Wider World Century Discussion Questions

Discussion board #2

These questions ask you to consider the development of the Congo’s relationship with the wider world through the early twentieth century. Answer each of the following questions with answers of at least one paragraph:

1. How did slavery function in sub-Saharan Africa prior to the arrival of Europeans (in 1491)?

2. How did the slave trade transform the relationship between Europeans and Africans? What were the prevailing ideas about race held by Europeans that justified the slave trade?

3. According to Francisco Bethencourt, how were the racial hierarchies of the Portuguese and Spanish colonies, where most enslaved people from the Congo were shipped, different from those of other New World colonies?

4. From what Morel describes in Red Rubber, how did Belgian companies acquire rubber from the Congo? Who harvested the rubber from trees? What motivated them to harvest rubber? Who were the intermediaries between the harvesters and Belgian manufacturers?

5. What infrastructure did copper mining require? How did this development change the landscape?

6. How does Birchard describe the role of laborers and labor practices in the copper regions? How did the treatment of Congolese workers differ between the copper and rubber industries?

7. Returning to Bethencourt, why might Birchard have had the perspective he did about Congolese laborers? What stereotypes did he hold about Congolese people?

8. What does the exploitation of rubber and copper in the Congo reveal about European attitudes about the natural environment in the Congo? How did they view the Congolese natural world?

After submitting your post, respond to two different classmates’ posts. Provide supporting or contrasting evidence to at least one additional question in their post. Your responses should each be at least three sentences in length. I will share class material, only based on which you’ve to write.

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