Document Type



Bachelor of Arts

Thesis advisor: Peter Thompson



The empires of the past spanned vast horizons, covering all corners of the world and setting the course for modern day culture, politics, and conflict. The influence of these historic empires are very prevalent in contemporary global society. Carving up the world for honor and power, these empires drew borders still present today and left their influence deeply ingrained in foreign regions. This was seen significantly throughout the continent of Africa by European powers. Francophone powers of the 18th through early 20th centuries participated heavily in this imperialist agenda. In particular, The Kingdom of Belgium notoriously ran poorly governed colonies based upon economic exploitation without regard for the governed people, their cultures, or previously established settlements. The imperialist goal was to expand the Belgian empire while bringing fortune and abundance to Belgium through the harvest of natural resources and oppression of local peoples. This thesis aims to compare specific differences between Belgian direct colonial administration, and the British indirect colonial administration, with the former leading to significant post independence and neocolonial difficulties including ethnic conflict, poor government, and stunted economic development in previously Belgian colonial territories.