Memorial

Large_placeholder_br Congo Monument

Monument: Congo Monument

{Below the low central figure:}
The Congo River
{Below the right-most section of relief:}
The Explorers
{Below the central section of relief:}
The Missionary
{Below the left most section of relief:}
Belgians in the Congo
{Above the relief:}
I have undertaken the work of the Congo in the interests of civilisation and for the good of Belgium. Leopold II. 3 July 1906.
{Below the top group of figures:}
The black race welcomed by Belgium
{Below the figures at the left:}
Belgian military heroism crushes the Arab slaver
{Below the figures at the right:}
The Belgian soldier sacrifices himself for his wounded commander

Original inscription:

{Below the low central figure:}
LE FLEUVE CONGO

{Below the right-most section of relief:}
LES EXPLORATEURS
{Below the central section of relief:}
LE MISSIONNAIRE

{Below the left most section of relief:}
LES BELGES AU CONGO

{Above the relief:}
J’AI ENTREPRIS L’OEUVRE DU CONGO
DANS L’INTERET DE LA CIVILISATION ET
POUR LE BIEN DE LA BELGIQUE. LEOPOLD II. 3 - JULY - 1906

{Below the top group of figures:}
??NOIR?? ACCUEILLIE PAR LA BELGIQUE

{Below the figures at the left:}
L’HEROISME MILITAIRE BELGE
ANEANTIT L’ARABE ESCLAVAGISTE

{Below the figures at the right:}
LE SOLDAT BELGE SE DEVOUE
PUR SON CHEF BLESSE A MORT.

This is a rather dismal photograph of a rotting monument to a shameful subject. Its full title is "Monument to the Fallen of the Belgian Colonial Effort".

The modern information plaque beside the monument gives the following:
"The monument to the Congo (1911-1921) is typical of the colonial spirit of the age, which has since been called into question by History. In the lower section, a young black man represents the River Congo. He is surrounded by two groups: on the right, a Belgian soldier sacrifices himself for his fatally wounded captain; on the left, a Belgian soldier overcomes the slave-dealer. In the central strip, the African continent, now open to civilisation, advances towards the group of soldiers around Léopold II. Above, Belgium receiving the black race is depicted as a proud young lady."

In the lettering at the left, the section of stone carrying the phrase "L’ARABE" has been recently inserted (in both the French and the Flemish text). Marc Brans tells us that it always read "l'arabe" but it was vandalised and had to be repaired.

Site: Congo Monument (1 memorial)

1000, Parc Cinquantenaire, north-west section

Go to map of other memorials in this area

Subjects commemorated

Show all 6

1041

explorers

"Explorers" could be read as a euphemism for "exploiters of the Congo colony".

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754

King Leopold II

Leopold's cruel exploitation of the Congo was carried out in his name and und...

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