Leopold II. (Belgium)

Leopold II. (* 9. April 1835 in Brussels; † 17. December 1909 on lock Laeken, Brussels; actually Louis Philippe Marie Victor) from the house Saxonia Coburg and Gotha followed its father Leopold I. on the throne and was from 1865 until 1909 king of the Belgians. It was considered as outstanding diplomat and businessman. The most remarkable at its regency were its activities in the Congo, where it created the independent Congo state, whose owner was he starting from 1885 for a while. In this time became - under employment ofForce - above all ivory and rubber export. Estimations to consequence died thereby approximately ten million inhabitant the Congo. (This number comes from the American author Adam high sign, S. Literature, and is in the height disputed.) 1908 became the Congo property of the Belgian stateand in the course its in the Belgian Congo renamed.

Leopold II.
Leopold II.

Table of contents

work on

] personal record already in recent years of the Belgian army. To 22. August 1853 he married Marie Henriette Anne of having castle Lorraine, ore duchess of Austria, the daughter of ore duke Joseph ofAustria (1776 - 1847), the son by emperor Leopold II. (1747 - 1792).

To this connection four children come of:

In addition Leopold witnessed two not-conjugal sons - Lucien Philippe Marie Antoine (1906-1984) and Philippe Henri Marie François (1907-1914) - to their nut/mother, its Mätresse Blanche Zélia Joséphine Delacroix (1883-1948, also admit Caroline Lacroix under the name), it five days before itsDeath to 12. December 1909 married. The wedding ceremony, which was not legitimized after Belgian right, took place in the palm pavilion of lock Laeken.

As Leopold to 17. December 1909 died, was it a Paria, with neither the other European monarchs nor its subjects or itsown family something to do to have wanted. It had offended its daughters, its brothers and sisters regarded the relationship with its loving as a Mesalliance and which concerns the international community - which read “The Time” and was informed about the genocide in the Congo. On the thronehis nephew Albert I. follows it. after. Leopold II. in the crypt of the dear woman church to Laeken, Brussels was buried.

König Leopold II., letzte Aufnahme
King Leopold IITH, last admission


colonies - the birth of an idea

Belgium is a small country, in the EuropeanPower structure insignificantly. One says Leopold II. after, he judged of its compatriots: “Petit pays, petit ESPRIT” - small country, small at spirit. In this small country it had besides still little power. In it - perhaps also therefore - a strong interest developedat colonies. However at one time, at which the world was divided by existing colonial powers already to a large extent. Neither the Belgian government nor its to subjects seemed however very in colonies interested and as a constitutional monarch had he little power to implement its ideas. From its coronation/culminationtried it to convince the Belgian parliament of its vision colonial power. It suffered several defeats and looked for other ways.


1871 began Henry Morton Stanley (actually John Rowlands, 1841 - 1904) an expedition journey to Africa. The expedition became from the new one York Herald paid, its task was it to find the famous David Livingstone what also succeeded to it in the proximity of the Tanganjikasees. Stanley published its travel notes also as book. Leopold II. pursues his activities. 1874 applied Stanley to a second expedition, this time to Central Africa. It traveled 11,000 kilometers far, from East Africa to the Atlantic coast, and. A. on the Congo river. Its travel notes were published again in the New York Herald and in Europe in the DAILY telegraph.

Leopold II. if Stanleys reports read, its acquaintance searched and supported and promoted it thereupon it.This came Stanley to property, which competed to 1879 with the French discoverer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza for the requirement on the Congo region.

1876-1885: The Congo, colonization

1876 financed Leopold II. an international geographical conference in Brussels. It struck the establishment of a non-profitCommittee forwards for the “spreading of the civilization among the peoples of the Congo region by scientific investigation, legal trade and fight against Arab slave traders”. The “Association international africaine” was created, with Leopold as a president. It engaged itself against the slave trade. In addition it called later the “Brussels conferences” inLife, which fought the slave trade.

1878 created Leopold II. the “Comité of d'Études you skin Congo (CEHC)” - the committee for the investigation of the upper run of the Congo. It assigned Stanley to accomplish the investigations. While the official mission of scientific or philanthropischer nature was, it assigned Stanley secretlywith acquiring country and to bring along ivory. 1879 the committee renamed into the “Association international one you Congo - international combination of the Congo”.

Stanley created some settlements, under it Leopoldville (today Kinshasa) and began with the building of a runway of the delta the Congo along thatThe cases of Congo, 200 km long, to Stanley pool (today pool Malebo). Starting from there the Congo is navigable. With this project many died the obligatory recruited native one. In addition it locked with approximately 450 master princes of contracts, in those these its country Leopold II. overwritten. Stanleys inconsiderateTo proceed into England strongly and brought to it the African pointed name Bula Matari ( “that the stones breaks”) was criticized.

1884/85 took place in Berlin the conference of Congo , organized from Otto von Bismarck. Leopold II. participated not personally. But through skillful TAC animals succeeded it to it,that the 14 European states and the USA confirm that the “budget indépendant you Congo” into the private property from Leopold changed. The state was with approximately 2.34 millions Square kilometers over seventy times as largely as the Kingdom of Belgium. To 5. February 1885 explained the Congo to Leopoldto its private property.

1885-1908: The Congo Free State

König Leopold II.
king Leopold II.

The Congo belonged now to Leopold II. It hired mercenaries on and exploited the Congo.

1888 issued three decrees to Leopold. First forbade arms traffic, second put the conditions for the occupation more nativeWorker firmly and third formed the basis for the creation of the Force Publique, for a kind army. It convinced the Belgian parliament to before-supply to it 10 million Franconia for its projects in the Congo. It became with the building of a railway from the Flussmündung to StanleyPool begun, which was finished 1898.

First ivory was supplied to Europe. Soon rubber was added , because 1844 had received and so could Charles Goodyear a patent for the curing from rubber to tires be manufactured - the need constantly grew. 44 years after itself Goodyearthe curing of the india rubber to patent left, invented John Boyd Dunlop to the rubber tire. It was in view of the paved roads at that time and the impact holes on the highways an enormous success. These inventions led to an enormous demand for rubber. The troops of the king pressed rubber raw material from thatInhabitants the Congo. Villages were attacked and the inhabitants received the order to collect a certain quantity rubber otherwise the whole village was down-burned. Who tried to flee, one shot. As proof for the consumption of rifle bullets the troops for each used up ball those hadHand of the victim submit. The hands were therefore chopped off also living persons, somehow had to explain one used up balls. Another interpretation of the practice, which is to be chopped off hands, according to the technical periodical “Message” that pressure was exerted on the suppliers: Who does not supply enough india rubber, one getsHand chopped off.

The methods, with which the soldiers of the king extorted the rubber, are among other things to reread in Joseph Conrads book heart of the darkness (1899 publish) described. Conrad (1857 -1924) had hired 1890 as a captain of a riverboat. It became however already soon after its arrivalill - and which it had to also regard, let it return as soon as possible to England. Among other things he saw, like the soldiers baskets of full decaying hands to their bases created, for counting. He looked up also, as at a base the heads of executingStakes were issued.

1891 led the Canadian discoverer and British commander of military William Stairs on behalf Leopold II. an expedition on, which secured Belgium control of the copper areas of Katanga.

crimes and loss the Congo

gives different computations, like many human livesLeopolds rule were sacrificed. Between 1880 and 1920 the population the Congo was halved, Adam high sign speaks of 10 million victims. However it takes into consideration there also unborn children, who did not come to the world, because its parents died before. The number is in thisHeight therefore disputed. Many humans were also mutilated, could nourish itself and their family any longer and did not die at malnutrition.

1890 became on the 33. It decided meeting of the Brussels conference that an end was to be made for the slave trade in Africa. Starting from 1904 those showedCampaigns of some mission acres and Zeitungsmacher of successes to denounce those the bad states publicly. Large newspapers reported regularly, the churches condemned the treatment of the population. The campaign of Edmund Dene Morel, it was initiated for a shipping company had worked, those on behalf Leopolds goods of and afterbrought the Congo. It became attentive, because the ships from the Congo loaded were with ivory and india rubber, on the way back however only weapons and ammunition fully were transported. That seemed to it a strange exchange of goods. It gave a regular circular out with reports from the Congo,which it received from mission arene and traveler.

1908 condemned the governments of Great Britain and the USA the rule system Leopolds. On pressure of the parliament it agreed a law that from the Congo a colony made, the “Belgian Congo”, and overwrote this independent Congo state at Belgium.

Even thoseInternet side of the Belgian king house writes “due to the excesses committed by the Europeans in Africa the call by Leopold as well as its overseas work in question is placed”.

Supplement: The 1967 on instruction of the president at that time Mobutu Sese Seko dismantled six meters high rider fixed image Leopolds in Kinshasa was again set up in February 2005 by the government the Congo.

See also: Further foreign policy during the French-German

war 1870/71 it

expressed history

of the democratic Republic of the Congo [work on] for the neutrality of its country and it succeeded oneself to it, its country outto hold out the martial actions.

activities in Belgium

the beginning of the reign Leopold II. is coined/shaped by parliamentary arguments over right to vote and education questions. After the French-German war Leopold put large value on the military defense as a condition for the neutrality, but those it knew compulsory military service only on its dead bed to 14. December 1909 implement.

Leopold used the money from the Congo for buildings. He built its residence, the Laekener lock, over and put on in the lock park large greenhouses. He let the Avenue Louise build, that Rejoicing park with Triumphbogen (to 50. Birthday of Belgium 1881), the Avenue de Tervuren, who likewise lead approximately 10 km to the Africa museum in the Tervuren, lain built by him, as well as buildings in Spa in the Ardennen, the Gileppe - dam and other more.

1900 it changed this possession ina royal donation over and handed it to the state over, which had to be responsible now for the receipt. In the donation conditions it is among other things fixed that the people has entrance to the royal greenhouses, which it finances only during two weeks in the year.

writingsover Leopold II.

Many prominent writers took part in the international condemnation of the exploitation of the independent Congo state by Leopold II. The most well-known are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Booker T. Washington as well as

  • Joseph Conrad: In Heart OF Darkness becomes king Leopolds Belgian the Congo asColonial rule described, in which slave work, rapes and mutilating on the agenda are.
  • Mark of Twains King Leopold's Soliloquy is a Politsatire written with biting Sarkasmus.

Been added in more recent time:

  • Adam high sign: King Leopold's Ghost describes the history and brutality of the regency Leopold II. in the Belgian Congo.

That US-American poets Vachel Lindsay wrote:

Lists ton the yell OF Leopold's Burning
in bright ghost for his hand maimed host
Hear how the demons chuckle and yell
Cutting his hands off, down in bright.

Roughly translated (who can improve the translation, perhaps even gereimt?):

Listens to thatCry of Leopolds spirit,
which scorches for its handmutilated masses in hell.
Hear like the Dämonen to glucksen and cry,
if they chop off its hands, down in hell.


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Leopold I.
List of the Belgian regents
Albert I.


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