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Brazzaville – “The Origins of AIDS”  – Jacques Pepin

January 12th, 2012 · No Comments · Africa, Colonialism, Congo, History

Brazza signed a treaty with a chief on the north side of the river, and planted the French flag. The chief could not read French and did not realise that he had conceded a large piece of land to France rather than merely getting some kind of protection and trading rights. Meanwhile, on the south side of the river, Stanley signed a similar treaty with another chief. Stanley worked for an individual, Leopold II, who was to become sole owner of the État Indépendant du Congo (EIC, Congo Free State), the largest private property in history, while Brazza worked for France, a parliamentary democracy. Stanley was an adventurer motivated by greed, who killed hundreds during his journeys. Brazza was an atypical nineteenth-century explorer, motivated by humanitarian concerns, perhaps naively as France had other ambitions. These nuances were not lost on the local populations, and the city of Brazzaville still bears his name and erected a monument to honour Brazza’s memory, while across the border Stanleyville became Kisangani thirty-five years ago. The former Stanley Pool on the Congo is now known as the Malebo Pool.

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