The Belgian king Leopold II reigned over the so-called Congo Free State as a private colony between 1885 and 1909. His reign was extremely violent and tyrannical, and an estimated 10 million Congolese people died during that period. King Leopold’s atrocious reign is synonymous with exploitation and mass murder.
Photo: Alice Harris [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1883 the merchant Adolf Lüderitz bought land in Angra Pequena, which was placed under German protection in 1884. The colony Deutsch-Südwestafrika, today Namibia, was established.
Photo: „Deutsch-Sudwestafrika“. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons
In science, especially in the field of genocide studies, there is an intense discussion as to whether the crimes committed in the course of colonialism fall under the concept of genocide. The ‘situation coloniale’ in (but not just) Africa was marked above all by massacres, deportations, oppression and forced labour, as well as the destruction of soil, livelihood and cultural and social institutions of indigenous people. The violent crimes against the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa (known as Namibia) as well as the Aborigines in Australia and the indigenous peoples in North America are mostly classified as genocide.
Picture: creative commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Africa1898.png
Nigeria is a federal state in west Africa and with its more than 180 million inhabitants, it is a country full of cultural and religious diversity: more than 514 languages and dialects are spoken, in addition to the Islam and the Christianity, countless other West – African religions can be found and a great number of various ethnics collide with each other, which oftentimes lead to conflicts.
The biggest and, politically spoken, most powerful nations are the Hausa and the Fulbe from the north (both Islamic). Together they make up 29% of the population. The Yoruba from the southwest and the Igbo from the south both follow closely with 22% and 18% (both Christian). In addition, up to 400 smaller ethnic minorities join them, for example the Ijaw, Kanuri, Tiv and the Umon.
Over 40 million people belonging to more than 20 different ethnic groups live in Sudan and South Sudan today. Roughly 39% of these people are Arabian and roughly 53% of them are of black African origin. More than 70% of the population are Sunni and approximately 30% belong to African religions or are Christians. According to the 1998 constitution, Sudan has been an Islamic Republic under sharia law since 1983.
The south of Sudan has been an independent state since 2011, despite being blighted by decades of civil war. The province of Darfur (Dar Fur = Land of the Fur people) is roughly the size of France and home to approximately 7 million people. Darfur will be the focus of this article.
Rwanda is a small, densely populated country in Central Africa that is surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Resulting in up to 800,000 deaths within 100 days, the genocide in 1994 is viewed as one of the deadliest to have ever occurred. The perpetrators killed their friends, neighbours and sometimes even their own families with the simplest weapons.