Belgian Colonial Empire
Belgium acquired two large colonies in its history, namely Belgian Congo from 1908 to 1960 and Ruanda-Urundi from 1922 to 1962. Smaller colonization projects of Belgium were the Belgian colony in Santo Tomás in Guatemala from 1843 to 1854, the Belgian colony on the Rio Nuñez in Guinea from 1848 to 1858, the Belgian concession in Tianjin, China from 1900 to 1931 and the Belgian Colony in Santa Catarina in Brazil from 1844 to 1875. Belgium was also a co-administrator of the Tangier International Zone in Morocco from 1955 to 1956.
- A few years ago, these two authors produced a stimulating essay on the state of the art and the future perspectives of colonial historiography in Belgium, introducing a special issue of the Belgian review of contemporary history, consisting of several articles on Belgian colonial history. This is certainly the symptom of the fact that something is indeed changing in the Belgian historical world. But in comparison to other former imperial countries, Belgian colonial historiography is lagging behind. The heavy institutional and political weight attached to the Leopoldian heritage had something to do with this. Much remains to be done, but luckily, new perspectives and approaches (anthropology, cultural studies) undoubtedly will fertilize historical work on colonial Congo. The new generation of Belgian historians has never known colonialism. They do not want to “prove” anything and do not have any special feelings of guilt, nostalgia or justification towards what happened in the Congo under Belgian rule. In their eyes, there is only one thing left in eulogy and in national pride: these old fetters, which have influenced so deeply the beginnings of colonial historiography, have themselves become objects of scientific enquiry. Understanding and explaining colonialism, a complex phenomenon of societal contact: this is the huge task that lays ahead. If their new approach and the resulting new insights percolate through to public opinion, politicians and school children, these historians will not have wasted their time. If Vanthemsche is right, than perhaps we will be better able to know how long and fateful the shadow of Leopold I influenced Leopold II and Belgian colonialism.
- As early as 1855, the thought of the Duke of Brabant (Leopold II) seemed to be fixed on the subject of the initial form that any expansionist or Belgian colonial attempt must take: that of an international commercial company.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), Preface:A historiographical picture of Leopold II (1835-1909) ROEYKENS, A. Le dessein africaine de Leopold II: nouvelles recherches sur sa genèse et sa nature (1875-1876). Bruxelles, 1956, 10.
- His Majesty has long been imbued with the immense utility which would result for Belgium from the possession of some commercial establishment outside her territory, outside the European continent. This thought constantly preoccupied the King.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 4. Viceroys without colonial aspirations? Jules Van Praet (1806-1887) In a letter to consul Edouard Blondeel van Cuelebroeck in 1837 DUCHESNE, A. A la recherche d'une colonie belge: le consul Blondeel and Abyssinie (1840-1842): contribution à l'histoire précoloniale de la Belgique. Royal Belgian Colonial Institute. Moral and Political Science Section. Papers in-8 30.3. Brussels, 1953, 47. Blondeel would later also exert an influence in favor of Belgian colonialism on the heir apparent of Leopold I.
- Should it not, this essentially producing country, search all parts of the globe and seek to fight with other nations, by exploring in advance the countries likely to favor industries, by studying local needs and resources, by indicating the nature and time of the shipments to be made, etc.?
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 5. A prospectus by the military Chazal and Brialmont, The military centipede Henri-Alexis Brialmont (1821-1893) Brialmont in 1853 On The need for a stronger merchant fleet, protected by a naval force, he was amazed that it still did not exist in Belgium, despite the unbridled economic boom that Belgium had entered in, and that had one of the largest ports in Europe. CROKAERT, P. BRIALMONT, A. Brialmont, Eloge et mémoires, 399.
- The best way to create opportunities is to send, from time to time, expeditions to countries with which there is a chance to establish commercial relations.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 5. A prospectus by the military Chazal and Brialmont, The military centipede Henri-Alexis Brialmont (1821-1893) Brialmont and Leopold II speculate on controlling multiple trading posts, which would be more beneficial than a Colony under economic liberalism. BRIALMONT, H.A. Completion of the work of 1830: establishments to be created in the transatlantic countries: future of Belgian commerce and industry. Brussel, 1860, 65-66.
- The economic crisis which weighs on Europe since the industry took such a big development, carries the nations towards the colonial companies. Belgium could not remain a stranger to this movement without seriously compromising its material interests; our King (Leopold II) understood this, and this is what determined him to substitute his individual initiative for the persistent inaction of the government and the nation.
- One of the most industrialized countries in the world throughout the nineteenth century, Belgium needed the global market to export the products of its industry. Unlike most Western nations, and despite the ambitions of King Leopold II who, in a personal capacity, rushed into the colonization of Congo Free State, Belgium did not carve out a colonial empire for itself through military expeditions and “politics of the gunboat.” Based on capital, knowledge and engineering, Belgian imperialism was peaceful, such as the various universal and international expositions organized in Brussels, Antwerp, Liège and Ghent.
- Michel Dumoulin, Vincent Dujardin, Emmanuel Gerard and Mark Van den Wijngaert (eds.), Nouvelle histoire de Belgique, Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 9 vol., 2005–2011 (Questions à l’histoire).
Belgian attempt to Colonize Texas
- The result of all these considerations is that the Government of Belgium has no interest in favoring the emigration of Belgian families to Texas, whether it be to produce more ample resources to them or to obey the instincts of the few rare ones who crave for adventurous undertakings.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 99 De Briey, Report against the Project of Colonization to Texas, 2 May 1843, AMAE 2013 and BL.
- Mexico entered the controversy by pointing out that she was about to liberalize her trade relations with Belgium, but would not do so if Belgium persisted in her dealings with Texas.
- Belgium, in the Texas affair, does not have all the liberty of action she desires. Considerations such as the pending negotiations with the Mexican and American Governments dictate the avoidance of potential evils… abandoning any measures with Texas completely.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 101 quoting the Belgian Foreign Ministry to the Chamber of Deputies, 18 May 1844. Laurent, 560.
- Although Pirson’s mission to Texas was not apparently known in Guatemala, the lesson of the Texas Rebellion was fresh on the minds of the opponents of the Belgian grant. “What was Texas when it began,” they asked. “and what is it today? Was it not a colony formed under the same illusions, with the same hopes, and with the same desire of accelerating time that has moved us in the approval of the contract with the Belgian company? And is it not today the cancer, the opprobrium, and the crowning evil that afflicts Mexico? Who assures us that our colony will not be for Guatemala what Texas has been for Mexico?”
- It is interesting to note however, that Leopold’s penchant for secrecy was also evident in the Texas project. Pirson was under strict orders not to reveal anything about his mission other than that he was sent to Texas to study the potential commercial and economic advantages of trade between the two countries. There was to be no mention of the colonial or loan aspects of his mission. “…(your ) mission must maintain a confidential character as much as possible…
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 103 ” Official Instructions to Victor Pirson, 13 November 1842, AMAE 2013.
- Constitutional government, especially in a small country, takes a great deal of time, and causes sight to be lost of the questions, which lone can secure to the country a political future. I have many a time that I saw you feeling more and more interest therein, and I am very anxious that it should be so, for it is time to be seriously occupied with those questions; otherwise Belgium will find herself at the tail of all other countries. I have heard that an association of German princes is actively occupied in an attempt at colonization in Texas…
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 109 Leopold to General Goblet, 27 February 1844 in Théodore Juste, Memoirs of Leopold I, King of the Belgians, from unpublished documents Translated by Robert Black. (London: Sampson Low, Son & Martson, 1868), 211.
- Because of the general fear that foreign colonists would ultimately wish to establish their independence on the pattern of Texas, the government insisted that all immigrant settlers in the future abjure the protection of their home governments and become Guatemalan citizens.
Belgian colony in Santo Tomás
- Santo Tomas was based on emigration and was therefore bound to fail, Belgians do not emigrate.
- Tu ne verras pas Verapaz? (Documentary about former Belgian colony in Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala.)
- There is some disagreement as to the actual number of colonists that settled in Santo Tomas. This is partly due to the ships’ manifest listing families as opposed to individuals. The population of the settlements is often given without differentiating between Belgians and Guatemalans.
- For the present time, I see only certain ruin for the settler; for the European who is not used and cannot get used to living like the natives, animal life is very expensive. 'He also insisted on the scarcity of cash and the resulting difficulty for traders who did not failed to get paid. The Belgians could sell Linen, sheets and cottons in Central America provided that they were manufactured in such a way as to withstand the English competition as much by their lightness and their smoothness as by their good.
- He concluded that the Verapaz, despite its fertility, did not present a good or secure future for colonization. The District of Santo Tomas, on the other hand, offered the same agricultural advantages as the interior province as well as additional advantages for commerce. He opined that a Belgian colony at Santo Tomas could avoid the mismanagement and disaster which had befallen the English at Abbottsville.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 118 Schwemmer, "The Belgian Colonization Company, 1840-1858." 111.
- The temperature is hot, but the country is healthy. Europeans can easily acclimatize there, live well there, and maintain their activity.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 119 Remy De Pudyt, Rapport de M. De Pudyt in Exploration L’Amérique centrale et particulièrement de la providence de Vera-Paz et du district de Santo-Thomas de Guatemala.(Brussels: La Compagnie Belge De Colonisation, nd), 112. AMAE 2027.
- Any family of settlers, he wrote, on arriving in Santo-Tomas, must find their home and their plantations. Men who leave their homeland to go and work in a foreign land always create more or less illusions for themselves; some precautions that we take to protect them against this tendency, some warnings that we give them, we cannot prevent them from imagining an Eldorado, at least one country where without great difficulty we find the comfort we enjoy in Europe.
- Disappointed expectations, naturally follow-up of nostalgia, the rigor of the old direction, the excessive and forced work, the military exercises right in the sun during the intended hours to rest and factions during the humid nights without the least shelter against rains, the bad food regime, the discouragement, the moral constraint, the deprivation during a certain emergency time of the religion, the total absence of distractions, the bad choice of a big number of colonists under the report of health and the constitution (imagine that one sends into a newly established colony, where the question of the healthiness is not entirely resolute, of families, of people reaches of the caries, idiots, the rickety, the lame, blinds, asthmatics and dunces?), the clutter and the humidity of homes, the big heats to which the most was not accustomed, the long and extraordinary rains, the stagnant puddles due to the defect of out-flow, different natural poisonous fumes that result from it, the poor state of roofing, the dirtiness, as much inside as outside, poverty and finally, in excesses of drink and food.
- Behr's (special diplomatic agent to Guatemala Baron de Behr) general impression of the colony was devastating. He wrote Brouckére (Belgian Foreign Minister) that the Belgian government had been ignobly deceived and misled by all reports. The colony was only a miserable village whose inhabitants lived for the most part from fishing. The actions of the Company agents had generated disgust everywhere and had disgraced the name of Belgium. All of the public works—roads, wharves, canals, municipal buildings were a mere fiction. The Company had squandered 3,200,000 francs without a trace. Any money put up by the Belgian government would disappear in the same fashion. The stocks backed by land lots in portfolio which the Company offered as guarantee against monies borrowed, were, in Behr's opinion, worthless. He thought that the Company courted Belgian government intervention in a speculator's venture which had miscarried.
- At the time when the government intervened in the Guatemalan affair, the European colonies were closed to Belgian trade by prohibitive laws or high differential duties ... We therefore had to think about creating our own bases of operations for trade. national. From this point of view, we can only applaud the idea of forming a Belgian colony on the vast American continent. Since this initiative, which our lack of initiative and perseverance alone failed, the situation has changed completely. Under the impetus of the great economic reform, led by the illustrious Robert Peel, ideas about free trade have gained ground in Europe, and the time may not be far off when all the powers will remove the barriers with which they have surrounded their transatlantic possessions. Therefore, the need to create agricultural colonies to promote the development of trade and national industry will no longer exist to the same degree.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 6. Baron Auguste Lambermont (1819-1905), A key figure in the background of early Belgian colonialism Henri-Alexis Brialmont In The Completion of the Work of 1830. BRIALMONT, H.A. Complètement de l’œuvre de 1830, 65-66.
Colonial projects in Brazil
Belgian Colony in Santa Catarina
- First plan, the mineral and commercial exploitation and, only in the second plan, the establishment of an agricultural colony alongside the Itajaí Grande.
- The grant from the Brazilian government specified a 6,000,000 francs capitalization which the company never was able to raise.
- Santa Catarina is established under the patronage of his majesty king of the Belgians and the strong protection of his majesty the emperor of Brazil.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 142 5 March 1844, AMRAHM
- If some colonies are still available, someone will populate them. I am sure that these colonists, although isolated, will thank your majesty. They will find some Belgians among them who work hard and persevere to advance the country despite the fact that distance to the market place reduces of their harvest the value by half.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 150 Langendonck to Emperor Don Pedro II, 21 November 1865, in Marie Langendonck, A Colony in Brazil. Translated by Paula Berinson.(np: Edunisc, 2002), 64.
Belgian Colony in Ilhota
- If life in Europe was difficult because of the various conflicts and poverty faced by European families, life in the Brazilian interior was anything but easy in the early decades of colonization, given the climatic conditions, the wildlife and the many snakes.
- Marc Storms, BELGIAN SETTLEMENT IN ILHOTA (SC) According to historians Ana Luiz Mette and Elaine Cristina de Souza, in the book Ilhota - Encanto dos Belgas no Vale do Grande Rio there were disputes about the compensation for the work performed - Brazilian workers received a higher compensation - and about the scarcity of food. There were regular revolts in the colony that made the Belgians known as fighters and villains. Several migrants therefore decided to leave, either to another region in Brazil or back to Belgium. Gonçalves, the grandson of a Belgian woman, describes the living conditions of immigrants.
- Philippe Fontaine burned all the colonial correspondence and all documents in 1847. Subsequently, the area was hit by floods several times, including in 1911. The church, built in 1845 by Van Lede, was spared. But she did not survive the next flood of 1925 and was completely destroyed. There are few visible traces. In this part of Brazil, the Belgians belong to the past but have not been forgotten. The adventures of Charles Van Lede and the Belgian-Brazilian Society for Colonization are still well known. The opening sentence of the advertising brochure of the town of Ilhota refers to the Belgian roots. Some street names have Belgian names and it was even the intention to establish a Belgian museum. Here too, the descendants of the Belgian settlers are the most important remains! They proudly use their typical Belgian surnames, such as Maes, De Gand or Castellain. In this way it remains a hard-to-erasable legacy of the Belgian-Brazilian adventure of the XIXth century, which is automatically passed on from generation to generation.
- Marc Storms, BELGIAN SETTLEMENT IN ILHOTA (SC) Life in the colony flourished only thanks to the hard labor of the immigrants. In 1874 a new fact disturbed the peace of the inhabitants. The heir of Van Lede - the Hospital of Bruges - claimed to own the land. The Belgian Consul in Desterro, Henry Schutel, was also involved in the conflict by using a power of attorney from Van Lede to negotiate the sale of some sites. When the Belgian surveyor Van Dale began surveying the land in 1889, more than 80 residents of Ilhota and the surrounding areas forced him out with more force and destroyed his instruments. In the end, the Belgian ministry spoke out in favor of the settlers and the case was closed.
Belgian Colony in Campos dos Goytacazes
- The Belgian Ludgero José Nelis has committed himself to founding a small colony of his compatriots in the province of Rio de Janeiro, the main purpose of which is the cultivation of flax, cannabis and oil plants, as well as livestock; to then set up industrial production for the raw materials produced here. For the establishment of the colony, the entrepreneur received the necessary land from the President of the Province, and the Imperial Government provided his company with assistance by the constant manner of conditions approved by Decree of June 6 of last year.
- Belgian Colony in Pedra Lisa, Campos dos Goytacazes (RDJ) Brazil. Ministry of the Empire. Minister (Candido José de Araújo Vianna) Report for the year 1841 presented to the Legislative General Assembly at the 1st session of the 5th legislature. Published in 1843. p. 35
Belgian Colony in Porto Feliz
- In November 1887, the government bought land in the municipality of Porto Feliz with an area of 1,601 hectares, to allocate it to this settlement, at a cost of 23,000$000. According to the contract of November 18, 1887 by the government with Father João Baptista Vanesse, this land is intended for the housing of Belgian immigrants, whom the priest will recruit. The government commits itself to demarcate the land in lots of 25 to 30 hectares, as well as to carry out other works such as the construction of a building for divine worship, a school, temporary housing for the settlers, restoration of the existing residence for the residence of the director and Vanesse priest, and the construction of the necessary roads and paths.
- Belgian Immigration to Porto Feliz (SP), The Coffee Production and the European Immigration flow. 1888 Report presented to the Hon. Mr. President of the Province of São Paulo.
- The Ministry of Agriculture has ordered the Treasury to make the following payments, effective May 1. to the priest João Baptista Vanesse, a monthly bonus of two hundred thousand journeys.
- Belgian Immigration to Porto Feliz (SP), The Coffee Production and the European Immigration flow. At that time, the "colonial settlement" was subject to civil jurisdiction under the laws and regulations in force in Brazil. Priest Vanesse, as a "spiritual leader" would be considered a paid representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and Public Works. Correio Paulistano - 26 juli 1888.
- The twenty-five original families were chosen in their homeland by the priest Jean Baptiste Vanesse, who signed a contract with the Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil. This priest has been criticized from the very beginning, leaving him largely to blame for the colony's failure. He is accused of being authoritarian, despotic and drinking way too much. It is a fact that most of the settlers had a background in their homeland in the service sector, trade or industry, and had little affinity with agricultural activities. They were unfamiliar with the Brazilian weather, the jungle that surrounded the colony, and the hard work of felling reeds. Most returned to Belgium. A few families remained active in the region in mixed farming, animal husbandry and the production of brandies.
- Belgian Immigration to Porto Feliz (SP), The Coffee Production and the European Immigration flow. Porto Feliz Environmental Master Plan: Historical survey and elaboration of guidelines for the preservation and enhancement of the cultural and landscape heritage of the Municipality of Porto Feliz - August 2008
Belgian Colony in Botucatu
- We left Congo with my family after independence, in 1960”. We returned to Belgium for a few months before choosing to come here to Brazil in 1962. We came to work in agriculture, as in Congo. We were used to doing this. That was no longer possible in Belgium.
- The country was bought by Belgium to settle the Belgians returning from Congo at the time of independence
- I was born in Charleroi. I had lived with my parents in Congo for 8 years. At independence we lost everything and returned to Belgium. It was then that the Belgian government proposed to come to Brazil to start our lives over. Because we had lost everything in Congo, Belgium wanted to buy itself out.
- We called the first avenue of wooden houses where the first Belgians who arrived here lived 'Avenue Louise'. After that, the cooperative made other houses in other streets for those who came after. There was also a shop, bakery, post office and a single telephone with a single number
- Little by little the village of Monte Alegre grew. In the 60s and 70s we built a gas station, a well, an infirmary, two schools and a meeting room where we celebrated Saint Nicholas or the National Day of Belgium on July 21. We also set up a dairy farm called: BELCO for "Belgium-Congo".
- This Belgian company made the first pasteurized milk packed in plastic bags in all of Brazil. They also made cheese and butter here before the dairy became a brewery. In the 1980s, the company Cervejaria BELCO produced massive beer while it was still brewed by Belgians. Today the brand has been bought out, but it still exists and BELCO beers are still sold in stores in the state of Sao Paulo.
- When we arrived it was a culture shock. Not because we were Belgians, but because we were Congolese. We were used to the situation in Congo. In Congo, the Belgians were the big masters. And here in Brazil, despite the attention we've attracted... we weren't the big masters. I think that was the biggest shock. Our arrival here was quite an event”
- When I was in university, there were young people who said to me: 'You come to eat the bread of the Brazilians'”, I had to explain that we got credits from Belgium, that the school was paid for by Belgium, and that one day we have to pay this back, neither the Brazilian government nor the municipality here has intervened financially.
- I adapted very quickly. I immediately started learning Portuguese in the wooden school in Monte Alegre, built by the Belgians. The Brazilian teacher had come directly from the city of Botucatu for this. It was more difficult for our parents to learn Portuguese. Often we, the children, were the interpreters for our parents when they had to communicate with the Brazilians. In Congo we arrived in our country, it was Belgium. here not at all. And the customs were very different also. We had to integrate. We got to know the local customs and the Brazilians wanted to know ours too.
- The land was worth nothing, it was sand. The land here is badly bought. Much of it was difficult to cultivate and there was disappointment. For example, my father left the fazenda to work in a factory in Itapetininga.
- After a few years, the financial aid stopped. Some cooperatives have bought back their land. Others bought it and then sold it before leaving the place. Of the approximately 130 Belgian families who had settled in Monte Alegre, only a handful of houses still have descendants. The others have rebuilt their lives in Belgium or elsewhere in Brazil.
Belgian colony on the Rio Nuñez
- The need was developing for oil for industrial machinery, but there was a very heavy trade imbalance in favor of the Rio Nunez.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 158 Maselis, 148 and Massinon, 8
- The area was a strip of land along both sides of Rio Nunez from the coast and included the two small towns of Victoria and Rapass, also spelled Ropass.
- Our operations will be aimed at principal orders and consignments, we shall give all our care there. The creation of new networks of important plants on both continents.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 164 Cohen to M. Ministère ( ?) 1 June 1853. AMAE. 2024 Also see Cohen to D’Hoffschmidt, 10 July 1849. AMAE 2024
- The Foulahs come from the high mountains of the interior of the country where the big rivers, Senegal, Gambia, have their source. Those are the most beautiful Negros that one meets on the coast. They are reddish brown, have many Arabic features and resemble them by the shape the shape of the skull and the development of their intelligence. They are superior to all Negro types. One would be able to call them the Indians of Africa, as one gives the name Indians to the Redskins of America.
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Page 171 AMAE 2024, and P. Lefevre, "Les Voyages De La Marine Royale Belge ...Au Rio Nunez (À Suivre)," Revue Belge d'histoire militaire XXII-7, (1978). 574.
- All the most disadvantageous conditions one might think of can be found together in the land adjacent to the Rio Nunez. This is especially so in the area around Debocca, where the bed of the river, narrow and snaky, is densely compacted between two very heavily wooded banks which comprise an insurmountable barrier to the gentle winds of the open sea…It is this that causes a rejection of any idea to undertake at some point on this coast, the formation by Europeans of an agricultural colonization center. Attempts that one would make towards this goal would only serve to condemn some poor wretches sent to this inhospitable place to an unavoidable death. The formation of a commercial establishment would be far from presenting the same dangers and would be able to have some chances of success. The rivers of the Rio Nunez by virtue of the importance and the variety of their products, by the easiness of communications that they offer with the central market of Africa, with the different points of the coast, could become for Belgium a source of income as well as an important outlet. But again, in this case the care of the maintenance of those of our nation that agreed to go into this fatal climate to serve as pioneers to Belgian trade, would call for all the government's concern. We take for granted the proposition that Belgium judges it appropriate to establish in the Rio Nunez either a commercial counter or military stations. In both cases, it would be good not to send to occupy and especially to found these establishments anything but the absolutely minimum necessary number of Belgians. The first work to clear the area could be performed by natives under the direction of some capable men, appointed to this position by the government. Would one not also be able to use for rest of the work, which Blacks would be unfit, some of the numerous convicts that clutter our prisons? If the government judged it necessary to protect our trade on the river by the establishment of military posts, it would be easy to recruit among the natives, of the islands of Cape Vert, the necessary soldiers to form the garrison of these posts. This method of recruiting would have the double advantage of procuring for us men already acclimated to the climate and sparing the health of our nationals. It would be sufficient of put at the head of these posts a small number of Belgians to maintain our influence on the river. In general, men of a weak constitution should be separated out. Those that one would send into the Rio Nunez…
- Early Belgian colonial Efforts: The long and fateful shadow of Leopold I, Pages 174-175 AMAE 2024 and Ibid., 678.
Colonial projects in China
- Mistrust of the foreigner is still at the bottom of the minds of the Chinese. One way if not to destroy, at least to mitigate these prejudices, would be to put the study committee under a neutral banner. The committee would be made up of capitalists and industrialists eager to prepare for the success of lucrative enterprises or of politicians willing to serve the cause of civilization with their help.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 6. Baron Auguste Lambermont (1819-1905), A key figure in the background of early Belgian colonialism Baron Lambermont proposes to set up a study and research committee to start explorations in the Far East for a possible Belgian colony. WILLEQUET, J. Le baron Lambermont, 66.
- I'm still working, but we have to start by putting forward a diplomatic arrangement. This point obtained, we would have a good chance of success. For the moment, the Belgian shipping word in China should not be used at any price.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 5. A prospectus by the military Chazal and Brialmont, The Importance of General Chazal in Colonial Politics. Minister Chazal, who had little ambition in an almost impossible Chinese adventure, Confronting the French practicalities and the British stubbornness of that expedition was most likely the last thing on his mind. Even the experienced king had already given up all hope. The enthusiastic young Leopold did not give up and started to advise the minister himself. KMLKG, Papiers Chazal, 111/13, the Duke of Brabant to Chazal, October 4, 1859.
- The civil ministers, supported by the main newspapers of the country, were of the opinion that it was difficult to reconcile with the international statute of neutrality which was that of Belgium.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 5. A prospectus by the military Chazal and Brialmont, The Importance of General Chazal in Colonial Politics. Captain Brialmont reported that the colonial project in China had failed, he said. CROKAERT, P. HYMANS, P. BRIALMONT, A. Brialmont, Eloge et mémoires. Brussel, 1925, 427.
- Although China attracted Belgian investors and missionaries from the 1860s, it is especially after 1900 that major investments began to take place in various industrial, financial and commercial sectors, such as banking, railways, metallurgy and real estate. The most famous companies were the Banque sino-belge, the Compagnie financière belgo-chinoise, the Société belge d’entreprise en Chine, the Compagnie générale des chemins de fer en Chine and the cfeo. The Beijing-Hankou (present Wuhan) railway line, the mines of Lincheng, the trams of Tientsin and the steel mills of Hanyang were among the most successful results of the Belgian “informal empire.”
- Ginette Kurgan-Van Hentenryk, Léopold II et les groupes financiers en Chine. La politique royale et ses prolongements, Brussels: Palais des Académies, 1972 (Mémoires de la classe des lettres, 2e série 61-2).
- For three or four Chinese coppers, I could ride in a rickshaw from my home, in England, to Italy, Germany, Japan, or Belgium. I walked to France for violin lessons; I had to cross the river to get to Russia, and often did, because the Russians had a beautiful wooded park with a lake in it.
Belgian attempt to Colonize New Guinea
- Mr. Devaux said His Majesty had repeatedly spoken to him on the subject and he himself looked upon the project as undesirable and unpractical and had stated that opinion very frankly to the King. It was with great satisfaction he found that it coincided with the views expressed in Your Lordship’s letters, the arguments in which were so convincing and unanswerable that he was certain they would put an end to the scheme at once.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 4. Viceroys without colonial aspirations? Jules Devaux (1828-1886) Devaux uses British arguments to get Leopold II to give up any further action on the failure of a colonial project in New Guinea in July 1875. Lord Derby, British Foreign Secretary (1874-1878) and Deputy Colonial Secretary (1882-1885). STENGERS, J. “Leopold II between the Far East and Africa 1875-1876”, 322.
- Everything you say about Tonkin is very fair. This one is a dangerous toy.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 4. Viceroys without colonial aspirations? Jules Devaux (1828-1886) Jules Devaux on June 28, 1876 In a letter to Beyens about the later French protectorate in North Vietnam, where Leopold II had hatched a colonial plan together with a docile baron Beyens. STENGERS, J. “Leopold II between the Far East and Africa 1875-1876”, 348. Zie ook infra: hoofdstuk 8, 95-97.
- The King decreases his alms. All of this. All the money saved goes to Africa. What will it be like when you have conquered Tonkin?
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 4. Viceroys without colonial aspirations? Jules Devaux (1828-1886) Jules Devaux told Baron Eugène père Beyens in March 1877 that the financial aspects of the colonial story could well become a bitter pill to swallow. STENGERS, JEAN. “Leopold II between the Far East and Africa 1875-1876”, 349.
- Beyens for Tonkin, certainly did not encourage him, he just obeyed.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 8. The Short Colonial Careers of Jules Greindl, Eugène père Beyens, Eugène Napoléon Beyens and Maximilien Strauch, Eugène père Beyens (1816-1894) Jean Stengers, who for the time being was the only one who examined father Beyens's papers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his colonial ideas, concluded that the ambassador mainly played a passive role. STENGERS, J. “Léopold II entre l’Extrême-Orient et l’Afrique”, 349.
- Did he believe in Tonkin, and in the advantages it could offer for Belgium? It is permissible to doubt it, and even to believe the contrary.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 8. The Short Colonial Careers of Jules Greindl, Eugène père Beyens, Eugène Napoléon Beyens and Maximilien Strauch, Eugène père Beyens (1816-1894) Stengers doubted whether father Beyens actually agreed with Leopold II's Tonkin plans. STENGERS, J. “Léopold II entre l’Extrême-Orient et l’Afrique”, 349.
Belgian attempt to Colonize the Philippines
- The Philippines was the gateway to China and Japan! No one would allow a great Power to come and settle there.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 8. The Short Colonial Careers of Jules Greindl, Eugène père Beyens, Eugène Napoléon Beyens and Maximilien Strauch, A Skeptical Jules Greindl (1835-1917) During the second Carlist War (1872-1876), which eventually gave the throne to Alfonso XII. At that time, Spain was completely immersed in anarchy and chaos with accompanying political instability, as a result of which the colonial empire also began to show signs of disintegration. Leopold II saw an opportunity and aimed for the Philippines. WILLEQUET, J. Le baron Lambermont, 74.
- The stay in Madrid having made me lose the few illusions I still had about the Philippines affair, I asked and already obtained, several months ago, permission to no longer deal with it and since then, I had never heard of it again.
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 8. The Short Colonial Careers of Jules Greindl, Eugène père Beyens, Eugène Napoléon Beyens and Maximilien Strauch, A Skeptical Jules Greindl (1835-1917) The Philippine colonization project became an illusion. Indeed, the Catholic Belgian government under Malou refused to cooperate, and neither Greindl nor Leopold II himself were able to raise the required capital. Their attempts to borrow money from the London city banks failed because their plans for the British bankers seemed too vague without guarantees from the Belgian state. When peace gradually returned to the Spain of Alfonso XII in 1875, Leopold II had to resign himself to his failure. EMERSON, B. Léopold II¸ 62.
- But it would not be reckless to say that from the start the King dreamed of founding a Belgian colony. Many times I have heard him say, when the Independent State emerged from its swaddling clothes like a newborn baby trying to walk: "I work there for Belgium".
- All the King's Men' A search for the colonial ideas of some advisers and "accomplices" of Leopold II (1853-1892). (Hannes Vanhauwaert), 8. The Short Colonial Careers of Jules Greindl, Eugène père Beyens, Eugène Napoléon Beyens and Maximilien Strauch, Eugène Napoléon Beyens (1855-1934) BEYENS, E. “Souvenirs sur Léopold II et la cour de Belgique”, 713-714.
- This part of the State, that is to say the east of the Congo, is inhabited by happy blacks who often and without bringing them there, compared before me the happy present with the misery and the terror of when the Arabs had established themselves as slave traders in the region.
- Pierre Vercauteren: A king unjustly maligned. (Page 6) Sir Harry Johnston, former Governor of the Uganda Protectorate, 1908.
- The Tambatamba, Bokusu, Batetela, and other followers of Arab families are congregated at Stanley Falls on both banks as far down as'La Romee. These two latter tribes live in large mud wall houses, detached, with yards or courts. They are both farmers and stock breeders. The former are clean, clothed, and polite, while the latter are like the Arabs, superior in appearance, dress, and manners in fact, the aristocracy of the land. Their fields are tilled by women and dependents and slaves. They are not true Arabs, though there are a few of these too among them. In all things except religion the Tambatambas follow their Arab conquerors of earlier days, but of religion they have only the superstitions without the bonds, rules, or system of worship of the Mahommedans.
- Belgian Congo, Great Britain. Foreign Office. Historical Section, London, H.M. Stationery off., 1920. (Page 48) British Consul MacKie in a report after travelling to the Eastern Congo in 1911.
- Having a proper sense of her duty, and the means to carry it out, Belgium has mapped out her own course, and intends to keep to it. It entails a policy of humanity and progress. To a nation whos only aim is justice, the mission of colonization can only be a mission of high civilization: a small nation proves it greatness by carrying it out faithfully. Belgium has kept her word.
- Brilliant reception at the station. Children are tidied up as soon as they enter the mission grounds. There is perfect order. The mission makes a big impression.
- The reception was enthusiastic and brilliant. The city appears largely mapped out, too bad there are so many ugly buildings that make it look like a city in the American Far West.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert about his entry in Elizabethville (today Lubumbashi) on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- A real city, well laid out, with pretty houses, 1500 whites, it makes an excellent impression, better than Elisabethville. Here they are serious people, harnessed to a grandiose enterprise.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert about his visit of Panda-Likasi on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- Visit of the incomparable and impressive installations of Union Minière. We go up the hill. The sight is prestigious: the station, one of the most important in Africa, the buildings, the Europeans with the houses surrounded by gardens, the vast chessboard of the native city. The Negro workers that we see do not look unhappy, they are in good health.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert about the mining operations in the Katanga region on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- The chief comes to greet us, he is a handsome Baluba negro, dressed as a European with a white helmet; shame.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert meets an indigenous Congolese chef at the town of Kikondja on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- What a beautiful breed these Wagenias and how friendly.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert meets the indigenous Congolese Wagenia fisherman tribe at Stanleyville (Today Kisangani) on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- I am struck that quite a few black workers do not greet us and watch us pass by with folded arms. There are dances in the evening, not very lively. We feel that the strain of hard woodworking weighs on the morale of the natives.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert when visiting Leopoldville (Today Kinshasa) on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- The companies are complaining, but they have not done what is necessary to retain their workforce. They have relied too much on the obligation that the administration placed on the population.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. King Albert when visiting the town of Buta on his 1928 trip to the Belgian Congo.
- The negro workers are still unaware of the force that can give them union organization; happy industrialists.
- It is indisputable that the blacks have benefited from certain benefits of civilization.
- In short, there is a great deal of stagnation among the settlers and the medium-sized enterprises. The native there is often mistreated, exploited and has no medical care. In the Menteau farm, we observed a considerable number of varicose ulcers, which hardly exists at UM and La Forminière. There is no dispensary on this farm. The small settler can succeed in the Congo, one can doubt it, he lives by the exploitation of the native whom he makes work like a convict and moreover, he takes back his meager salary by selling him bad goods. The settler is often doubled as a trafficker, they complement each other, the system truck. Besides, the whole colonial edifice rests on the negro's shoulders. He alone is the source of profit, thanks to the excessive exploitation of which he is the object. In a colony, where there are few transport routes, where those that exist demand exorbitant prices, where there is little or no mechanical handling, no workhorse, only the degradation of the workforce - work can maintain the commercial level of the cost price. Large companies have the merit, through their tools, their medical assistance, their works of providing more treatment and of not wasting manpower.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. Reflections of King Albert I on his visit to the Belgian Congo in 1928.
- In view of the rapid changes taking place in the world today, it seemed to me desirable to preserve in picture and sound some reflection of the surviving vestiges of the ancient life of the Congo, there is a communion between the man of the forest and his natural surroundings which inspires us in a sense of respect a recognition of spiritual heritage, I thank all those who have helped me to achieve this task which combines beauty and scientific truth.
- Masters of the Congo Jungle. (1958 Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants of the Belgian Congo.)
- Production is ensured by the native working no longer as an employee, but as a free peasant, owner of his land.
- The visit of King Albert I to the Belgian Congo in 1928. Between propaganda and reality. In July 1933, in a noted speech to the Senate, Leopold made a plea for the development of paysannat or indigenous agriculture in then Belgian Congo.
- For eighty years Belgium has sent your land the best of her sons, first to deliver the Congo basin from the odious slave trade which was decimating its population. Later to bring together the different tribes which, though former enemies, are now preparing to form the greatest of the Independent states of Africa.
- The Belgians are setting about the task of combating the shortage of labour with almost Teutonic thoroughness and far-sightedness.
- The natives while working on the mines are very well treated. They live in compounds, which appeared to be run on model lines. I was told that there had been cases of brutality and ill-treatment, but the compound managers concerned had been instantly dismissed. The Union Minière are strongly opposed to anything in the nature of brutal treatment of the natives.
- Speaking generally, it may be said that the authorities of the Union Minière are in advance of the Mining Companies in this Territory [Rhodesia] in the care and attention they give to recruited labour.
- One of the consequences of the Second World War was the collapse of the colonial system. All the old colonies, often under pressure, obtained the recognition of their independence. Belgium also granted autonomy to Congo.
- Our mission has been favorably impressed by the material develpment brought about the native welfare fund. I have personaly observed how the native population apreciates Belgium"s efforts in this direction and how it has understood the benefits of derived by Ruanda-Urundi from the activities of this institution.
- Social Action in the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi Mr. de Marchena, President of the visiting mission of the U.N's trusteeship council, 1951.
- After having elaborated a vast plan of action for the benefit of the native but, to a large extent, outside his knowledge and comprehension, we must gradually obtain his acceptance and make him ever more conscious of it, as well as actively engaged in his own uplift. Gaining the native conscious and active acceptance of our civilizing ideal must be the primary object of our task of teaching and education in Belgian Africa.
- Social Action in the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi Quoting the Ruanda-Urundi 10 year plan.
- The British exploited differences between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the sub‐continent, creating deep resentments and divisions that persist today due to the 1947 Partition. Similarly, differences between the Hutus and Tutsis that led to the Rwandan genocide were created and exploited by Belgian colonizers.
- Burundians, Rwandans, and outside specialists of the region disagree almost totally on the nature of precolonial social…[and on] the impact of colonization...There is no scholarly consensus on answers to these questions.
- The Case for Colonialism: A Response to My Critics, Page 16 Uvin, 1999, p. 254
- Belgian Colonial Empire travel guide from Wikivoyage