Antiquarenbeurs Mechelen


Dr. Ingo Fleisch Manuscriptum
Hauffstrasse 3
10317 Berlin


Dr. Ingo Fleisch


+49 (0) 30-55 15 56 74 +49 (0) 30-55 15 56 74


Rubber plantations in the Congo Free State
[Congo atrocities] "Caoutchoutiers". Portfolio with 114 original photographs Belgian Congo, c. 1909. Clipped folder with contemporary mounted and labelled original photographs, on 50 plates (each c. 33.5 x 23cm), some min. foxing. The photographs show various rubber and gum plant species, including Manihot (glaziovii), Ficus elastica, Funtumia elastica, Landolphia owariensis, Guttapercha tree and others, partly in larger plantations, partly single trees, partly only saplings, branches or single leaves. The photographs of the individual trees often show indigenous people, occasionally also Belgian colonial officials. Rubber extraction, growths or scarred tree wounds can also be seen. In one case, a marketplace in Kitobola is depicted. The vast majority of the photos are from the Congo (Avakubi, Bandaka-Kolé, Basankusu, Banzyville, Bena Dibele, Bokala, Bomaneh, Coquilhatville (Mbandaka), Duma, Dundu-Lana, Eala, Kalamu, Kasai, Katako-Kombe, Kitobola, Kutu, Lowa, Libenge, Lukolela, Mobwasa, Mogandjo, Musa, Sampwe, Stanleyville, Waka, Zobia/Uele), in some cases from Uganda (Entebbe, Kiruma, Kisala). There are also a few additional photos of plants from Singapore and Java. Some of the photographs bear the names of Belgian cultivation and plantation managers, agronomists, foresters, officials and explorers, some of whom published botanical studies, collected new species or catalogued them: Jean Claessens (1873-1949), Stefano de Giorgi (1879-1932), Theodore van den Heuvel (1846-1902), Paul Janssens (1882-1938), Octavien Lamboray (1884-1947), Charles Lemaire (1863-1926), Louis Nélis (1873-1919), Louis Reding (1866-1898), Lucien Robyn, Amedeo Sparano (1879-1956). The photos were presumably taken by them and compiled in the present folder by an unknown compiler. As he has marked some of the photos in pencil and labelled them with numbers, it can be assumed that he intended to publish them, but this was probably not done - possibly due to the war. - Probably a unique collection of photos of the Belgian rubber plantations in the Congo. These brought the Belgian king immense wealth, which was nevertheless generated through the systematic plundering of the Congo Free State, under slavery and forced labour ("Congo atrocities").

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