ROMANIAN PRESENCE IN COLONIAL CONGO
Abstract: Congo, one of the largest and richest countries of Africa and of the world is, paradoxically, among the countries
with the lowest living standards, a place where war, violence, rape, atrocities and death are common words and daily routine.
Many analysts claim that horror started a long time ago when journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley got most of the
native chiefs to sign a number of ‘official papers’ giving Leopold II king of Belgium the total right of property upon their
lands. The territories thus appropriated were officially assigned to Leopold II by general international consent mostly during
the Berlin Conference of 1885. That year the Congo Free State was born, a state which became a forced labour camp, in
total contradiction with its name, as it is estimated that almost ten million people died because of the atrocious treatment they
received from their masters. Some Romanians also witnessed different episodes of that reality and shared from their colonial
Congolese experience, thus adding to the international testimonies provided by writers such as Conrad and Gide, by official
employees, Catholic representatives and many others, in their attempt to unveil and prevent the endless horrors.
Keywords: Congo, Stanley, Leopold II, Conrad, Romanians
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