[Our Fake History] Episode #81- What Went Down in the Congo Free State? (Part II)

Episode #81- What Went Down in the Congo Free State? (Part II)

30/01/2019 by Sebastian.Major

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=62717295
Episode: http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/ourfakehistory/Episode_81-_What_Went_Down_in_the_Congo_Free_State-_pt_2.mp3?dest-id=367678

The creation of the Congo Free State was one part cheap hustle and one part military occupation. King Leopold II managed to convince Europe he was a noble humanitarian while he was secretly building one of the most exploitative colonial states in Africa. With the help of the explorer Henry Morton Stanley and a well placed endorsement from the President of the United States the Congo Free State came into being. Sadly for the natives of the Congo river basin, this new regime would prove to be uniquely sadistic. Tune in and find out how red toilet paper, fake names, and the Goodyear tire guy all play a role in the story.

Listen Date: 2019-03-21


  • Learned that Henry Morton Stanley was a fabulous liar; including about where his own name had come from. And that when he got angry his American accent would slip and the Welsh accent would come out. And that he had been sold to a workhouse, which brought to mind the In Our Time episode on them.
  • Leopold II setting up a charitable association to do one thing; and a similarly named corporation to do the exact opposite sounds positively Marwari / desi.
  • I wonder if that trick would still work in this day and age; or if it’s just a question of not technology or experience; but being able to waltz away with it in the absence of enough scrutiny, especially if you’re obscure enough.
  • Oho, rubber makes an appearance. I did not know about rubber vines.
  • The cheap tricks described to swindle the Congo basin chiefs out of their land are the sort of things that would be done for applause in Tintin or Enid Blyton books.
  • I was very geographically confused about where exactly the Congo Free State was located. Which was the coast from which a road had to be built to Stanley Pool? Must look on Wikipedia.


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