King Leopold’s Ghost
As part of the honor’s curriculum, we will be reading King Leopold’s Ghost. You will be
required to answer all of the questions associated with each chapter (below) and you and your
classmates will be required to “present” a section to the class.
Powerpoint that summarizes the section. Please do not simply answer each question
on the slide. Use the answers to the questions to formulate a summary of the events
and characters. Use pictures to illustrate but please note that some pictures are very
graphic and may not be presentable for all people. Please ask if you are unsure!
Creative application: you and your partner must create a poem, Time magazine cover
or some other creative piece that illustrates the major ideas or themes from your
section. It must be presented as part of the presentation
Presentation should last only 3 – 5 minutes.
1. Describe the arrival of the first Europeans to the Congo (diary entry)
a. Describe the kingdom of the Kongo
b. Describe the monarch ManiKongo namded Nzinga Mbemba Affonso
c. Describe how ManiKong dispensed justice
d. Describe the relationship between the Portugese and the Africans
e. Describe the slavery that existed there and how it became big business
f. How many slaves were taken per year from the Kongo and where were they
g. Describe Affonso and his studies and his voice in history and the death of his
family members (or enslavement)
2. Chapter 1 Walking into Fire
a. Who is Stanley
b. Describe the ideas that outsiders had of Africa
c. What is the idea of civilization and its relation to Africa by Americans and
d. Who were the Arab slave traders? Why is the term Arab a misnomer?
e. Who is Livingstone?
f. Describe Stanley’s entrance into Africa and how he found Livingstone
g. Describe Stanley’s description of Africa
3. Chapter 2 The Fox Crosses the Stream
a. Describe Belgium and King Leopold
b. Describe Leopold’s quest for colonies
c. What was the mindset of people in relation to getting possessions in Asia and
d. Why was Africa the place to go for Leopold? Ripe for conquest or protection?
e. Describe the International African Association
f. What would Leopold have to do to get a colony
4. Chapter Three – The Magnificent Cake
a. Describe Stanley’s trips
b. Describe the Congo river
c. Describe the perils faced by the people on his trip
d. What did Stanley say about Africa, Africans and the Arab slave trade?
e. How did Leopold and Stanley come together
5. Chapter Four The Treaties Must Grant Us Everything
a. How many square miles does the Congo drain?
b. What type of transportation potential did it have?
c. Why would it be easy to subdue the Congolese according to Stanley (3 reasons)
d. What was the agreement made between Leopold and Stanley?
e. What was the use and value of ivory?
f. What was the International association of the Congo?
g. Describe the meaning behind the quote – “enough to make an American believe
in Kings forever.”
h. How did Stanley get the nickname Breakstones?
i. How did Stanley get the land from the chiefs?
j. Describe the people of the Congo – their habits and their art.
6. Chapter Five From Florida to Berlin
a. What was Sanford’s mission with President Arthur about?
b. Why was Senator John Tyler Morgan of Alabama interested in Sanford and the
c. How did Leopold win acceptance of the French?
d. Why did Bismarck allow Leopold the Congo?
e. What was the Berlin Conference?
f. What important land feature did Leopold get?
g. Why did Europeans believe the Congo to be an International Colony?
h. What as the Congo Free State and its anthem?
7. Under the Yacht Club Flag
a. “Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun, and they have not” Explain
b. What illnesses could be cured by Europeans?
c. What was the role of the steamboat?
d. What were his money problems?
e. What was the Anti Slavery conference and how did it help Leopold?
f. What did Leopold ask of the Belgian parliament?
8. The First Heretic Chapter 7
a. Page 109 – What did Williams say about Leopold in his open letter?
b. How did Leopold’s men convince Africans that they had supernatural powers?
c. What did Williams say about Stanley?
d. What did he say about the military bases and the officers?
e. What were the chain gangs?
f. Where are the schools?
g. What did some white traders do with African women?
h. What was the wager that led to the killing of an African in a canoe?
i. What was the effect of the Open Letter?
9. Chapter eight – Where there aren’t ten commandments
a. What was the deal with the vacant land and Leopold?
b. Who did he lease vacant land to and how did he profit?
c. “In dealing with a race of cannibals for thousands of years it is necessary to
use methods which will best shake their idleness and make them realize the
sanctity of work” Explain this quote
d. How did Leopold get ivory?
e. Who were porters and how were they treated?
f. On page 120, what happened to the children and why?
g. What was the chicotte?
h. Look at the picture of Nsala – whose hands are in front of him?
i. Look at the picture of the two boys. What happened to their hands?
j. Look at the two women held hostage. Why are they held?
k. What happened (pic) to the village of Baringa?
l. Describe the chicotte from page 121
m. How did the people of the Congo (whites) become “used” to the violence?
n. How did Africans become like the Kapos at Auschwitz?
o. Who were the Yaka and Chokwe people and what did they do?
p. Go to page 131 and recount Ilanga’s story.
10. Chapter Nine – Meeting Mr. Kurtz
a. Who was Joseph Conrad and how did he come to Africa?
b. What was his novel Heart of Darkness about?
c. Who is Marlow? Who is Mr. Kurtz?
d. What were the fenceposts on Kurtz’s house?
e. Why is Heart of Darkness so important to the history of Africa?
f. On page 143, describe the people he sees
g. Who is Captain Leon Rom of the Force Publique?
h. What did Rom do with 21 heads and where did they come from?
i. If Heart of Darkness is the most scathing indictment of imperialism, then why is
Conrad pro imperialist?
j. What were some of Rom’s most notorious actions?
11. Chapter Ten – The Wood That Weeps
a. Who is William Sheppard?
b. How did he end up going to Africa?
c. Go to page 156. How is his description of Africans different from others?
d. Who are the Kuba people and what did they produce?
e. Why was it hard to get access to the Kuba kingdom?
f. Who was Kot aMbweeky II?
g. How did the rubber boom begin?
h. Where does rubber come from and what kind of care do they need?
i. Between 1890 and 1904 what happened to Congo rubber earnings?
j. Describe a rubber tree and its branching. How did one gather rubber?
k. On page 161, describe how the natives were “compelled” to get the rubber.
l. What happened to the women who were held hostage?
m. What was the quota system?
n. On page 164 and 165, explain why hands were being cut off?
o. On page 166, how did Fievre defend cutting off one hundred heads?
12. Chapter 11 – A Secret Society of Murderers
a. What did Leopold do to make money – besides the rubber?
b. Go to pages 170 and 171 and describe the building of the railroad.
c. What were some of the accusations against Leopold’s Congo from the
missionaries and what was Leopold’s response?
d. How did the Stokes incident raise more eyebrows?
e. Go to page 176 – what was one of the major attractions. Describe the disturbing
f. What was Elder Dumpster and Morel?
g. Describe the three things that (179-180) that Morel found that raised his
suspicions about the Congo.
13. Chapter 12: David and Goliath
a. Why is Morel a more credible source on the Congo than the reporters,
b. How did Elder Dumpster react to Morel’s claims?
c. What was the West African Mail and why was it created?
d. Explain the quote: “To have sat still would have been temperamentally
e. What did Morel write?
f. Who was Kingsley and how did she describe Africans and their system of land
g. When Leopold claimed that there were no hostages being taken in Africa, how
did Morel refute that?
h. How did the missionaries help Morel?
i. Go to pages 192-3. Who were the Budja tribe and what was their punishment
after they killed 30 soldiers?
j. When Canisius’ troops were searching the jungle for rebels, what did they do to
them when they captured them?
k. What happened in 1903 in the English parliament in relation to the Congo?
14. Chapter 13 Breaking into the Thieves’ Kitchen”
a. Who was Roger Casement?
b. Go to page 200. Casement was going to make an investigative trip to the
rubber producing areas. How did he go about doing it?
c. Go to page 201 and explain Casement’s quote: “that system, Monsieur le
Gouverneur General, is wrong…Instead of lifting up native populations
submitted to and suffering from it, it can, if persisted, lead only to their final
d. How had Casement broken into the thieves’ kitchen?
e. Look at this notes on page 202 and explain what he saw in the Congo.
f. What was said in his report, and how did the British react?
g. What was the meeting like between Morel and Casement? What did they start?
15. Chapter 14 To Flood his Deed with Day
a. How did Morel feel about the British Imperial system in Africa?
b. Who was Shanu and how did he help Morel?
c. Who was Caroline and how does this relationship cause Leopold more
unpopularity than the Congo?
16. Chapter 15 A Reckoning
a. How long did the Etat Independent du Congo last?
b. Why was this not considered a genocide according to the author?
c. On page 226 – what is the four part calculation for population losses?
d. Was murder one of the major causes of death in Leopold’s Congo?
e. Describe what happened in 1899 according to Simon Roi.
f. What is so alarming about the 159 firearms and 40,355 rounds of ammo?
g. Read the diary entry from Leclerq and describe
h. Page 229: “Inform the natives that if they cut another single vine, I will
exterminate them to the last man” Respond
i. Starvation, Exhaustion, Exposure: What happened to some of the children as a
result of fleeing Leopold’s men?
j. Where did the natives go who were trying to escape?
k. What were the estimates of people living in the forests who were trying to
escape Leopold’s men?
l. Page 230: “Every village has been burnt to the ground, and as I fled from the
country I saw skeletons, skeletons everywhere and such postures – what tales
of horror they told” What was this quote about?
m. Why were many villagers starving?
n. Disease: What were the illnesses that were killing the Congolese? Why did they
die from it?
o. What is sleeping sickness?
p. According to the author, on page 231, Leopold apologists blame sleeping
sickness for the huge losses in population. How does the author respond to
q. Plummeting Birth Rate: Why were there lower birth rates between 1896 – 1903?
r. What did the official Belgian government commission say about the Congo
population in 1919 on page 233?
s. How many millions died?
t. What is the comparison between the Congo and Stalin’s Russia?
17. Chapter 16 Journalists Won’t Give You Receipts
a. What was The Truth About the Congo and where was it distributed?
b. How did Leopold manipulate the media to his own defense?
c. Who was Mountmorres and what was he commissioned to do? How about Mary
d. Describe some of the pro Leopold books and the main work of the Press bureau.
e. How did Leopold use bribes to get some good press?
f. What was Leopold’s reputation in America?
g. What was the incorruptible Kodak?
h. How did Leopold try to save his reputation in America?
i. How did Leopold appeal to the Catholic church?
j. Who was Colonel Henry Kowalsky?
k. What was he hired to do (by Leopold)?
l. How much was he paid?
m. How did Kowalsky fall from grace? Did he try to get back in the loop?
n. What did Kowalsky do to Leopold? Did it work?
o. On page 249, what was the condition of the monetary promise to Kowalsky?
p. What was the new commission of inquiry? What was its job?
q. What was significant about Chief Lontulu’s statements?
r. What did the 150 page report say and what was its effect?
s. How did Leopold combat this report? Was he successful?
18. Chapter 17 No Man is a Stranger (A – I)
a. How do we know that the findings of this commission were accurate?
b. Who was Raoul Van Calcken and what did he do to Lilongo and Ifomi? What
were these two Africans trying to do?
c. What was the story of Witness Ilange Kunda of M’Bongo?
d. What was the story of Witness M’Putila of Botoke?
e. Why has the rest of the world seldom heard the stories of Africans?
f. Why did no one read these African stories?
g. What was the Belgian solution? Why weren’t reformers calling for
h. Why did the Belgian govt have to purchase the Congo?
i. What happened to all of the money that Leopold borrowed?
j. What did he do with all of his riches?
k. What did the Congo cost the Belgian government?
l. Describe on page 261 the lives of the Kuba people before the rubber terror.
What happened to their way of life and why?
m. Why were Sheppard and Morrison on trial?
n. Was America interested in this court case? Why or why not?
o. Look at the quote on page 266-67 and respond
p. What happened to Leopold?
q. How did Casement draw upon his Irish heritage to understand the plight of the
people of the Congo?
r. What was the problem with Morel’s insistence on African land rights?
s. On page 273, Morel wrote, in 1909, a warning that “far reaching consequences
over the wider destiny, not only of South Africa, but of all Negro Africa” that
would flow from the fact that Britain had set up an all white legislature in the
Union of South Africa. What did he mean?
19. Chapter eighteen – Victory? ( A – M)
a. How much profit did the king get from the Congo?
b. Did anyone argue that some of this wealth should have been returned to the
Congolese? Why or why not?
c. Did the Congo reform movement do any good?
d. Why did reports of abuses drop off in 1908 after the Belgian takeover?
e. What did the heavy tax imposition on natives force them to do?
f. How do we know that the system of forced labor stayed in place?
g. How did the growth of copper, tin and gold mining affect natives in Africa?
h. What was the technique for gathering laborers for the mines? Was it very
different than in Leopold’s time?
i. How did the Great Depression bring relief to those in the Congo?
j. Where did most of the uranium for the Hiroshima bomb come from?
k. Give examples of the suffering in other European held territories.
l. In the French Congo, the Bastille day celebration by two white men leads to a
commission of inquiry led by the famous explorer DeBrazza. Describe his visit
and what he found.
m. What happened to his report and why?
(n – v)
n. Who owned many shares in the French Congo and the German Cameroons?
o. What happened to the Hereros in Namibia? What did General Lothar von Trotha
p. What happened to the estimated 80,000 Hereros?
q. What was the US doing in the war in the Philippines?
r. Where were all of the protestors for these actions?
s. Explain the quote – “All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz”
t. What happened to Casement and why?
u. Why was Morel sent to prison?
v. Why was Morel vindicated?
20. Chapter Nineteen – The Great Forgetting ( A – N)
a. Describe the museum in Belgium. What is missing?
b. How is the Congo a striking example of the politics of forgetting?
c. Why did the Belgians burn the state archives?
d. Why is forgetting one’s participation in mass murder an active deed?
e. Read the passage on page 295 of Raoul de Premorel. Why does he think that he
f. Who is Marchal. Why did he become interested in the history of the Congo?
g. What kinds of trouble did he face when he tried to research?
h. What memory of the Congo did Marchal now remember in a new light?
i. How did the Belgians re write their own history in the Congo?
j. On page 301 – describe the legacy left by Europeans in Africa.
k. How did the Congo become free (and when)?
l. How many educated Africans were there in the Congo at that time of freedom?
m. Were there African army officers, engineers, physicians etc?
n. Of the five thousand management level positions in the civil service, how many
were filled by Africans?
(O – Y)
o. Who was Lumumba? What did he say about African independence and the
economic status of Africa?
p. Why did America have Lumumba killed?
q. Who was Mobutu and why was he so liked by Americans? What did Kennedy do
r. How much money did America give to Mobutu after he was dictator of Zaire?
s. Why are the French and the Americans to blame for the failings of Zaire’s
t. What did Mobutu do with all of the money of his government? What happened
to the country?
u. How much money did he possess at one point?
v. How are Mobutu and Leopold similar?
w. Respond to the quote on page 304 – “those who are conquered always want to
imitate the conqueror in his main characteristics….”
x. What is the legacy of Morel?
y. Describe the legacy that dates back from the French Revolution?
Write a five paragraph paper that reviews the following:
How Leopold masks his true motives in the Congo
How individuals (must discuss at least 2) exposed cruelty and terror
_______Paper Reaction due _____________________
1-2 paragraphs: Explain how this book has contributed to your understanding of our modern
_______Portfolio due ______________________
All materials assembled in order and bound in some fashion.