Taken for Granite > Intensive Porpoises


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There's always been a debate about the whole Stanley and Livingston meeting, and the famous greeting. They both destroyed the relevant portions of their journals and subscribed to Stanley's version of events in the book.

So I read deeper today... Stanley made a staggering 50,000 pounds off of the initial book deal. That's equivalent to a 4-5 million pound deal today. And, of course, he continued to make tons of money on the lecture circuit, and exploring other parts of Africa, and, ultimately, in 1885, securing an area larger than France, England, and Germany combined (what would become the country of Congo) for King Leopold of Belgium. Leopold turned the country into a privately owned corporatocracy, where his personal rubber company ruled over 30 million inhabitants, all of whom were forced to work the rubber trees and vines. His was the only colony in Africa that was not tied to a country -- he established the Congo as a "private colony" and as a citizen, not a reigning monarch, to dodge the laws back home.

Leopold's company had a special police force given carte blanche to enforce the company's rules. For every bullet they fired, they were obligated to take a human hand to "pay" for the bullet.

It's estimated that 50% of the population had been wiped out by the time Leopold was forced to surrender his control of the colony over to the state in 1908.

And, of course, Stanley was hip deep in the atrocities.  Burton (of Burton and Speke, contemporary explorers) had been laughed down by the media and the government when he condemned Stanley of being a genocidal maniac shortly after the meeting with Livingston. And Stanley still managed to scrape by the whole Congo venture with little trouble.

Yay! Lists!


That's me!

This site's full of fun stuff.


Not an adventurer, per se, but still interesting.


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