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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Belgium: a colonial power becomes a federal State
Author:Spaandonck, Marcel VanISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Abstract:Decolonization has brought no real changes in depth to the mechanisms and dynamic forces governing the relationship between Belgium and Zaire, although it may have contributed to the fragmentation of the colonial power into a federal State. In order to explain this view, the author first considers the factors which moulded colonization. Of these, the Monarchy, the Bank (Banque de la Société Générale de Belgique) and the Catholic Church constituted a dominant triad. Other forces included the economic situation in Belgium, the underlying wealth of the Congo, the new possibilities for long-term scientific research which came with colonization, and the development of new and the strengthening of old stereotypes and prejudices about black Africa. The author then considers the role of these factors in the decolonization process. Africanist research in Belgium has come to a standstill, colonists have been replaced by development workers and NGOs, prejudice remains, and the Triad is still in evidence. However, returning Flemish colonists may possibly have played a role in the final stage of the Flemish Movement leading first to cultural autonomy (in the sixties) and finally to federalism in Belgium. Ref.