Thursday, February 23, 2012

2011-2012 Challenges. Number 21

This week´s questions will discover you some other sides of colonialism. 

Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)

Rubber  (Hevea brasiliensis) is a tree originary from South America. When its important properties for industry were discovered, rubber became one of the most coveted raw materials in the 2nd half of the 19th century (rubber boom). Until 1885 rubber was only produced in South America and it was forbidden to export seeds or plants to other places, in order to preserve the monopoly and the big profits of its cultivation. How did rubber start being cultivated in other parts of the world?

King Leopold II of Belgium exploited the Congo Free State as a private property. The rubber plantations became something similar to hell for the indigenous workers. The subhuman conditions and the extreme abuses workers had to bear served as inspiration for a famous book written by a Polish writer in 1899. What was the title of this novel and who was its author?

The atrocities of rubber plantations  in Congo were denounced on a report issued in 1904. The author of this report also denounced the abuses over the Putumayo Indians of Peru in 1906. Who was the author of these reports against one of the darkest faces of colonialism?

What was the Fashoda incident? How did it end?

South Africa became part of the United Kingdom colonial empire, but inside this territory there were two independent republics called Orange and Transvaal until the last decades of the 19th century. What was the origin of these republics and who were their inhabitants? How did these republics finally become part of the British Empire?

The origin of modern concentration camps is closely related to colonial conflicts. Colonizers created the structure of modern concentration camps to confine those who opposed their authority. They were used  in two different colonial wars which took place at the end of the 19th century, one in the Caribbean Islands and another one in Africa. Where did modern concentration camps appear?


Javier Alberca said...

Question 1:
In 1876, a man called Henry Wickham took thousands of seeds of rubber tree from Brazil and he took them to Great Britain, these seeds were germinated in Kew Gardens. Then, the seedlings were sent to Indonesia, British Malaya, Congo Free State and Singapour.

Question 2:
The book was called “Heart of Darkness”, its author was Joseph Conrad.

Question 3:
He was Roger Casement, a humanitarian campaigner and an Irish person.

Question 4:
It was the climax of imperial territorial disputies between the British and the French when they tried to build large communications lines for their different colonies. It ended with a diplomatic victory for the Bristish

Question 5:
The origin of the Orange Republic was in 1848, when it was founded by the Boer (the African peoples) and the Transvaal Republic was founded also by the Boer, but these people came from the British colonies.
The British annexed these republics to their colonies when they won them in the Second Boer War, thanks to the Vereeniging Treaty.

Question 6:
I’m not sure but I think that the first modern concentration camp that appeared was one built in Cuba by the Spanish people, during the Ten Years’ War.

I think that’s all. Byee!

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Javi,

These are my comments:


The Fashoda incident was at the brink of provoking a war between France and the United Kingdom, but France backed out due to the British naval superiority. After this incident, France and the United Kingdom became closer and they signed the Entente Cordiale, the origin of theie allianca against Germany.


The founders of the republics of Orange and Transvaal were the Boers, the descendants of Dutch colonists who had settled down in Cape Colony. When the British occupiee Cape Colony, the Boers migrated to the North-East(Great Trek) and created these republics. When gold and diamond mines were discovered in Transvaal, the British tried to annex these territories. Two Anglo-Boer wars took place. Finally these republics were annexed to South Africa.


Modern concentration camps were "invented" during the Ten Years´War in Cuba and also during the Anglo-Boer Wars in South Africa. The Spaniards in Cuba and the British in South Africa used these horrible places against their enemies.

Good work again.