Notes of Lessons: History, Class IV

Notes of Lessons: History, Class IV

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: Contemporary Events Group: History Class IV Time: 40-45 minutes

By Hilda C. Biggar
The Parents’ Review, 1909, pp. 551-552


I. To give the children a new subject for composition.

II. To arouse their interest in, and their sympathy for, the Natives of the Congo Free State.


Step I.—Let the children find the Congo Free State on the map. Draw their attention to the course of the river Congo, give them some idea of its length, and the size of the State.

The Congo is the largest river in Africa.

The State is 1,000,000 square miles in area, or equal to the size of Europe without Russia and Spain.

Step II.—Tell them about the discovery of the Congo Basin and its subsequent acquisition by Leopold II., King of the Belgians. Compare the size of Belgium with that of the State.

The Congo Basin was discovered by Stanley in 1877.

Step III.—Give them some account of the different tribes in the Congo Free State, their characteristics and their religion.

(a) Those inhabiting the Lower Congo, energetic traders.

(b) Baluba people in the bendof the Congo, noted for their skill in iron and copper work.

(c) Those in Nassai district, very curious.

(d) Balolo people, “Men of Iron,” within horse-shoe bendof river.

(e) Batwa pigmies in the Nassai district.

(f) Small people, South of river Welle.

In East—Unkulunkulu or ancester-worship.

In West—Nature-worship.

Step IV.—Tell the girls about the International African Association, founded in 1884.

Let them read from Red Rubber, by Mr. Morel, some of the articles drawn up at the Berlin Conference.

Step V.—Let the girls read an account of the philanthropic aims expressed by Leopold, and the subsequent approval of Great Britain and the United States.

Step VI.—Tell them Leopold’s private aims in the Congo Free State, and how these aims succeeded:—

(a) The extermination of the Arab from the Congo Basin.

(b) The conquest of the Soudan.

(c) The conversion of the Congo Basin, all its wealth and inhabitants into the private property of Leopold.

Step VII.—Give the girls some account of the products of the Congo Basin and the wealth which Leopold has obtained from the Natives by taxation of rubber, at the cost of thousands of lives.

Step VIII.—Contrast the system of trade between Native and White man as it is in Southern Nigeria (B), Senegal (F), and Togoland (G), with the system organized by Leopold in the Congo Basinwhich is nothing short of a system of robbery.

Step IX.—Let the children read extracts (from Red Rubber, by Mr. Morel, and King Leopold’s Soliloquy) concerning the ill-treatment of the Native, his miserable condition, and the punishments imposed.

Step X.—Show the girls photographs illustrating the outrages committed.

Step XI.—Give reasons for Leopold’s enormous success, and show how such atrocities have continued so long without being brought before the public notice; and what becomes of the accumulated wealth.

Step XII.—Let girls read if time, if not tell them, the importance of the condition of affairs in the Congo at the present time, and the work proposed by the Congo Reform Association. Note the present action of the Belgian Government.