As historians have known for a long time, the official archives of the Congo Free State (CFS) are very incomplete, due to both wilful destruction and neglect. The overall paucity of such records, as well as their top-down nature, has made it difficult to study in detail the everyday realities of hegemony-building and the multiple Euro-African relationships which underlay them. One of the most damaging results of this state of affairs has been to reinforce ‘Leopold-centric’ understandings of the CFS. Personal papers – beginning with the extensive and still altogether underutilized holdings of the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale (MRAC) – provide a viable alternative to historians of the colonial occupation of Congo. Their openness and comprehensiveness trump the limitations of official records and offer a more historically grounded picture of the CFS – one that reveals the extent to which its workings were shaped by the co-optation of pre-existing predatory polities and their armed personnel into its still inchoate structures. The central contention of this essay is that the Africanization of the CFS’s structures – itself a consequence of the State’s initial lack of resources and the ensuing imperative quickly to raise revenue – had much more to do with the exceptional violence that characterized it than Leopold’s famed greed. This essay seeks to illustrate these broader points by focusing on one specific archival collection: the personal records of Lieutenant (later Captain) Clément Brasseur, the Lofoi chef de poste between September 1893, the month of his arrival in Katanga, and November 1897, the month of his violent death outside the trader Kiwala’s fortified camp on the upper Luapula River.
'The Personal Papers of Clement Brasseur and the Africanization of the Congo Free State in Katanga', in corso di pubblicazione / Macola, G. - (2019).
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|Titolo:||'The Personal Papers of Clement Brasseur and the Africanization of the Congo Free State in Katanga', in corso di pubblicazione|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Citazione:||'The Personal Papers of Clement Brasseur and the Africanization of the Congo Free State in Katanga', in corso di pubblicazione / Macola, G. - (2019).|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||02a Capitolo o Articolo|