In the Rubber Coils

A Political Cartoon


In the Rubber Coils is a political cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne in Punch Magazine. It shows the pain and sufferings of the Congolese people inflicted by King Leopold II of Belgium.
The Political Cartoon is a secondary source recounting the actions that occurred in the Congo. We can learn a lot about what happened there from the cartoon. Firstly the Congolese man was being strangled by a snake headed by King Leopold II. This can show how the British 'strangled' or depressed the Congolese way of life and replaced it with theirs. Also in the background there are some more people running away from the scene. This could show that some of the Congolese people ran away from the British and their ways.
In the Rubber Coils comes from a very 'Pro-Imperialism' culture. Sambourne was British so naturally the perspective comes from the British side saying that Imperialism is good. The cartoon may have been published because many people didn't know or understood what was happening to the countries who were taken over. A drawing is something everyone can understand and so that is why it may have been published.
In the case of the cartoon a view on imperialism is seen. While Sambourne is from a 'Pro-Imperialism' culture this cartoon has the opposing view. It seems that the cartoon says imperialism is 'strangling' and oppressive. After looking at this information we can see that there are conflicting things. The cartoon may not be trusted because this is not a first hand account of what happened so things maybe wrong or omitted from the drawing. Also living in Britain could have introduced some bias into what was shown and it might have been rejected by the British government if it conflicted with their views too much.
Finally I think the cartoon is a layman's way to understand about what was happening to countries Britain imperialised. While not being first-hand or unbiased it gives you a rough idea on what happened in the Congo.

Below is a Qrafter code to a helpful website on this topic:

My Overview of In the Rubber Coils (Download Only):


Amrita; Colonization to Exploitation – For Materialistic Profit; Blogspot; updated 19/04/2009; blog; 15/05/2013