Pierre de Brazza

by Lisanne Schuller
Class of 1997

 Pierre Paul Francois Camill Savargna de Brazza was a French explorer who made a name for himself during the Scramble for Africa during the late 1800's. His expedition fueled the French public's desire for heroic activities of imperialism, and helped develop the French Congo.

Brazza became a French citizen in 1874, thus all land claimed by him was under the French flag. Brazza traveled up the Congo river. In addition to obtaining land around the banks were he sailed, he acted as a colonial administrator to help control the natives. Brazza's achievements also led him to fame because they were compared to those of Stanley's by the European press.

Brazza's adventure up the Congo involved many trials and tribulations. In one incident, he had to dismantle his boat in order to forge parts of the river. He overcame this problems in the name of culture, wealth, and Christianity. The people of Europe loved his journey up the Congo because it helped them to romanticize imperialism as a noble conquest.

Brazza established the French protectorate along the Congo in 1880, which later, in 1891, became the French Congo. Brazza also found Brazzavile, a town which is important because of its links to different ports, and to the Congo river itself. Brazza'a town was under French Control until 1960, when it became capital of the now independent Congo Republic. Brazza himself died in 1905, after a career that aided imperialism in the way of exploration, obtaining land for France, and keeping Europe happy with heroic tales from the "dark continent."