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O’Ballance describes how European colonizers viewed the Congo as having lucrative economic potential with vast mineral deposits and rubber plantations. Starting with the King of the Belgians, Leopold II, who attempted to establish his authority and lay claim over the Congo, the region had witnessed only domination and exploitation by foreigners. This totalitarian state of mind was witnessed as early as King Leopold who declared himself as head of the Congo Free State while maintaining the boundaries in the region. The Belgian government helped Leopold develop the Congo by providing funds in return for annexing the state after 1901. After the Congo fell under Belgian rule, negative practices such as forced labor were reduced and economic development such as construction of rail roads was commenced. Many of the local natives were employed for the labor work with their European masters managing the operations. Mining became a mainstay for much of the population and small towns were set up to accommodate the workers. The Africans moved away from the countryside into the urban areas that had greater employment potential.
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