The Crime of the Congo [NOOK Book]

Overview

Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Crime of the Congo was widely read in the early 1900s and was active in exposing the activities of the Congo Free State.

The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine. Using first the ...
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The Crime of the Congo

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Overview

Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Crime of the Congo was widely read in the early 1900s and was active in exposing the activities of the Congo Free State.

The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine. Using first the multi-national AIA, and finally the International Association of the Congo, Leopold secured control of most of the Congo basin. Unlike the multinational AIA, the AIC was Leopold's personal vehicle. As the sole shareholder and chairman, he increasingly used it to gather and sell ivory, rubber, and minerals in the upper Congo basin (though it had been set up on the understanding that its purpose was to uplift the local people and develop the area). He gave the AIC the name Congo Free State in 1885. The state included the entire area of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo and existed from 1885 to 1908. The Congo Free State eventually earned infamy due to the increasingly brutal mistreatment of the local peoples and plunder of natural resources, leading to its abolition and annexation by the government of Belgium in 1908.

Under Leopold II's administration, the Congo Free State became one of the greatest international scandals of the early twentieth century. The report of the British Consul Roger Casement led to the arrest and punishment of white officials who had been responsible for killings during a rubber-collecting expedition in 1903 (including one Belgian national for causing the shooting of at least 122 Congolese people).

The loss of life and atrocities inspired literature such as Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and raised outcries, even from such upholders of the colonial mission as Winston Churchill. One view is that the forced labour system directly and indirectly eliminated 20% of the population.

European and U.S. reformers exposed the conditions in the Congo Free State to the public through the Congo Reform Association. By 1908, public pressure and diplomatic manoeuvres led to the end of Leopold II's rule and to the annexation of the Congo as a colony of Belgium, known as the Belgian Congo.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940015691740
  • Publisher: Balefire Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/17/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 140
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.

Conan Doyle was involved in the campaign for the reform of the Congo Free State, led by journalist E. D. Morel and diplomat Roger Casement. During 1909 he wrote The Crime of the Congo, a long pamphlet in which he denounced the horrors in that country. He became acquainted with Morel and Casement, and it is possible that, together with Bertram Fletcher Robinson, they inspired several characters in the 1912 novel The Lost World.

In 1882 he joined former classmate George Turnavine Budd as his partner at a medical practice in Plymouth, but their relationship proved difficult, and Conan Doyle soon left to set up an independent practice. Arriving in Portsmouth in June of that year with less than £10 (£700 today) to his name, he set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. The practice was initially not very successful. While waiting for patients, Conan Doyle began writing stories and composed his first novels, The Mystery of Cloomber, not published until 1888, and the unfinished Narrative of John Smith, which would go unpublished until 2011. He amassed a portfolio of short stories including "The Captain of the Pole-Star" and "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement", both inspired by Doyle's time at sea.

Doyle struggled to find a publisher for his work. His first significant piece, A Study in Scarlet, was taken by Ward Lock & Co on 20 November 1886, giving Doyle £25 for all rights to the story. The piece appeared later that year in the Beeton's Christmas Annual and received good reviews in The Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald. The story featured the first appearance of Watson and Sherlock Holmes, partially modelled after his former university teacher Joseph Bell. Conan Doyle wrote to him, "It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes. Round the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man."
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