Archives I Presume?
Traces of a colonial past in the State Archives
The State Archives preserve a large number of archives on the colonial history of DRC and the history of mandated Rwanda and Burundi. In this exhibition, the State Archives wants to place this raw diamond into the spotlight. Based on two central themes, we see you through the records and the stories they contain.
125 years ago, in February 1885, the bilaterally recognised ‘International Congo Society’ of King Leopold II made its appearance on the international scene. The “new Congo state” was predicted a bright future at the Berlin Conference. The way was paved for the exploitation of this marvellous piece of the African continent. A colonial economic empire was built and the so-called untouched Heart of Africa was opened up to Western science. But what were the consequences for the indigenous population?
The second part of the exhibition deals with the ambitions of the triumvirate consisting of state, church and business world to create a model colony. The Belgians turned out to be fully-fledged colonists and invested in numerous social and medical initiatives among others. But which agenda was hiding behind these investments?
In each main theme we shed light on some specific aspects of the colonial history allowing you to page through our collection with the help of the photo galleries.
Do you want to know more? Then have a look at ‘Congo in general’, ‘Sources on Congo preserved at the State Archives’ or ‘About the State Archives’.
Do you have a question? In the section ‘Contact’ you will find the information you need.
Sources: Protocoles et Acte Général de la Conférence de Berlin, 1884-1885, quoted in: STENGERS J., Congo: Mythes et réalités, Paris and Louvain-la-Neuve, Editions Duculot, 1989, p. 86-87; Brussels, 2005. Letter of Leopold II to baron Solvyns of 17 November 1877, quoted in: JOYE P. and LEWIN R., Les trusts au Congo, Brussels, Société populaire d’éditions, 1961, p. 13.
- Profit motivations
- Benefits not for everyone