Leopold II king of Belgium – Encyclopedia Britannica

Born: April 9, 1835 Brussels Belgium – Died: December 17, 1909 (aged 74) Belgium – King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909


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1 King Leopold II & Colonialism in the Congo Documentary

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4 feb 2024

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Top Questions

Although Leopold II established Belgium as a colonial power in Africa, he is best known for the widespread atrocities that were carried out under his rule, as a result of which as many as 10 million people died in the Congo Free State.

Leopold II implemented a forced-labour system in the Congo that was quickly copied by other European colonial powers. This brutal practice was a catastrophe for the population of the Congo, and Leopold was eventually forced to give up his hold on the colony.

While Leopold II did much to establish Belgium as an economically and militarily stable power in Europe, he is chiefly remembered for the nightmarish practices that were carried out in his name. He was the architect of one of history’s greatest, if lesser known, crimes against humanity.

Leopold II of Belgium was also head of state of Belgian Congo in Central Africa

Keen on establishing Belgium as an imperial power, he led the first European efforts to develop the Congo River basin, making possible the formation in 1885 of the Congo Free State, annexed in 1908 as the Belgian Congo and now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although he played a significant role in the development of the modern Belgian state, he was also responsible for widespread atrocities committed under his rule against his colonial subjects.

The royal coffers would become a central focus of Leopold’s life, and he once grumbled to German Emperor William II while watching a parade in Berlin, “There is really nothing left for us kings except money!” Leopold soon decided that the best way to acquire wealth would be by establishing an African colony, at a time when the great European “Scramble for Africa” was under way. In 1870 more than 80 percent of Africa south of the Sahara was under the rule of indigenous chiefs or kings. Forty years later virtually all of it had been transformed into European colonies, protectorates, or territories ruled by white settlers.

Leopold II and the Congo Free State

Presenting himself as a philanthropist eager to bring the benefits of Christianity, Western civilization, and commerce to African natives—a guise that he perpetuated for many years—Leopold hosted an international conference of explorers and geographers at the royal palace in Brussels in 1876. Several years later he hired the explorer Henry Morton Stanley to be his man in Africa. For five years Stanley traveled up and down the immense waterways of the Congo River basin, setting up trading posts, building roads, and persuading local chiefs—almost all of them illiterate—to sign treaties with Leopold. The treaties, some of which appear to have been subsequently doctored to Leopold’s liking, were then put to use by the Belgian monarch.

Although Belgium’s government felt that colonies would be an extravagance for a small country with no navy or merchant marine, that situation suited Leopold perfectly. He persuaded first the United States and then all the major nations of western Europe to recognize a huge swath of Central Africa—roughly the same territory as the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo—as his personal property. He called it État Indépendant du Congo, the Congo Free State. It was the world’s only private colony, and Leopold referred to himself as its “proprietor.”

The king then embarked on an ultimately successful effort to make a vast fortune from his new possession. Initially he was most interested in ivory, a material that was greatly valued in the days before plastics because it could be carved into a great variety of shapes—statuettes, jewelry, piano keys, false teeth, and more. For some years ivory was a principal source of the great wealth that Leopold and his associates drew from the new colony. In his novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, who spent six months in the Congo in 1890 as a steamboat officer, gives a searing picture of the brutal and voracious European quest for Congo ivory.

By the early 1890s a new source of riches had appeared. A worldwide rubber boom was under way, kicked off by the invention of the inflatable bicycle tire and spurred on by the rise of the automobile and the use of rubber in industrial belts and gaskets, as well as in coating for telephone and telegraph wires. Throughout the tropics, people rushed to sow rubber trees, but those plants could take many years to reach maturity, and in the meantime there was money to be made wherever rubber grew wild. One lucrative source of wild rubber was the Landolphia vines in the great Central African rainforest, and no one owned more of that area than Leopold. Detachments of his 19,000-man private army, the Force Publique, would march into a village and hold the women hostage, forcing the men to scatter into the rainforest and gather a monthly quota of wild rubber. As the price of rubber soared, the quotas increased, and as vines near a village were drained dry, men desperate to free their wives and daughters would have to walk days or weeks to find new vines to tap.

Other parts of the Congo economy, from road building to chopping wood for steamboat boilers, operated by forced labour as well. The effects were devastating. Many of the women hostages starved, and many of the male rubber gatherers were worked to death. Tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of Congolese fled their villages to avoid being impressed as forced labourers, and they sought refuge deep in the forest, where there was little food and shelter. Tens of thousands of others were shot down in failed rebellions against the regime. One particularly notorious practice grew out of the suppression of those rebellions. To prove that he had not wasted bullets—or, worse yet, saved them for use in a mutiny—for each bullet expended, a Congolese soldier of the Force Publique had to present to his white officer the severed hand of a rebel killed. Baskets of severed hands thus resulted from expeditions against rebels. If a soldier fired at someone and missed, or used a bullet to shoot game, he then sometimes cut off the hand of a living victim to be able to show it to his officer.

With women as hostages and men forced to tap rubber, few able-bodied adults were left to hunt, fish, and cultivate crops. Millions of Congolese then found themselves suffering near-famine, which made them vulnerable to diseases they otherwise might have survived. Furthermore, as in any society where men and women are separated, traumatized, or in flight as refugees, the birth rate dropped precipitously. No one will ever know the precise figures, but, from all these causes, demographers estimate that between 1880 and 1920 the population of the Congo may have been slashed by up to 50 percent, from perhaps 20 million people at the beginning of that period to an estimated 10 million at the end.

The forced-labour system for gathering rubber was swiftly copied by French, German, and Portuguese colonial officials with equally fatal results. Because the system’s effects in the Congo could so easily be blamed on one man, who could safely be attacked because he did not represent a great power, an international outcry focused on Leopold. That pressure finally forced him to relinquish his ownership of the territory, and it became the Belgian Congo in 1908. Leopold, however, made the Belgian government pay him for his prized possession. He died the following year. Because his only son had predeceased him, Leopold’s nephew Albert I succeeded to the throne.


By the end of his life, Leopold was unpopular with his people, but, ironically, that had much less to do with his actions in Africa than with his conduct of his personal life. He spoke contemptuously of Belgium’s small size, could not speak proper Dutch, the native language of more than half of its citizens, spent long winters in luxurious quarters on the French Riviera, and was estranged from two of his three daughters. Moreover, he had a well-known penchant for teenaged girls, and, when he was age 65, he began a liaison with a teenaged former prostitute who bore him two additional children.

He is remembered in Belgium for some of what he built with his Congo wealth, such as the monumental Arcade du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, and for his advocacy of strong fortifications in the eastern part of the country, which slowed the advance of German troops in 1914 at the beginning of World War I. His most important legacy, however, remains the human catastrophe that the rubber forced-labour system brought to the Congo—a heritage that continued to echo in that region more than a century after Leopold’s death.

Written by Adam Hochschild
Fact-checked by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

1 Brute dingen die “normaal” waren voor de dodelijkste koning uit de geschiedenis

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1 feb 2022

History has its fair share of brutal monarchies. Kings and Queens who put their royal subjects through wars, punish so-called traitors, and lived lavishly while their subjects starved. But there is one recent monarch who may be the most brutal in recent history. King Leopold II of Belgium may be remembered as “The Builder King”, but there is a side to his reign that was destructive to a whole country.

Hello, and welcome back to Nutty History. Today we’re talking about King Leopold II of Belgium, and why he’s known as history’s most evil ruler.
A quick note, today’s video deals with some sensitive subject matter, so viewer discretion is advised. The matter of colonialism and foreign sovereignty is one that many people are still learning about and examining today, and Leopold II is a major figure in this process.


Chapter Timestamps
0:00 Intro to mid-roll ads
0:15 Wait, Who?
1:52 Host with the Most!
3:19 Mine! Mine! Mine!
4:40 But Why?
6:38 Ouch!
7:43 It wasn’t great…
8:51 It gets better…

2 King Leopold II & the Congo Free State Genocide | African Biographics

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11 nov 2020

We look at King Leopold’s II of Belgium rule of the Congo Free State, the territory now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
King Leopold II’s rule over the Congo was a horror story with a body count on par with that of Adolph Hitler’s. This empire known as the Congo Free State and was 76 times the size of Belgium.

Millions of Congolese were killed or maimed working in rubber plantations and in military expeditions while Leopold amassed a huge personal fortune.
In the space of 23 years, it is estimated that more than 10 million Congolese were killed. And the ironic part is that the King Himself never set foot in the Congo. This video gives an account of the atrocities of what led to these atrocities in the then Congo Free State.

3 History Of Congo free state

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18 mrt 2023

4 King Leopold’s Reign of Terror in the Congo (cutting off hands)

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11 nov 2022

King Leopold was a despotic Belgian king who ruled the Congo for 23 years. During this time he treated the Congo as his personal fiefdom, amassing fortunes from its natural resources all while casting its people into absolute tyranny and despair.

5 Leopold II – Belgium’s MAD King That Terrorized Congo

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In première gegaan op 24 jul 2022

Leopold the first looked at other examples in Europe and figure out that, just like them, to become a world power he had to colonize a nation in Africa. His son, Leopold II, in the other hand, got this message slightly wrong and did not try to conquer a nation in the name of Belgium, instead he wanted to have a country all for himself.
The problem with that is that the other European nations at the time would never allow just one man to simply acquire a whole country just because he wanted to, so he used the same excuse as Portuguese and Spanish explorers a few centuries prior and told the pope he would be determined to spread Christianism to the deep forests of the Congo, and well this did the trick.
In 1884, the infamous Berlin conference took place, after 104 days Europeans divided Africa into colonies without consulting African leaders and which the legal claim that all of Africa could be occupied by whomever could take it was established.
In it, many countries made wild claims of what they deserved to have under their control, the British and French Empire as they still had quite a big influence in world politics at the time claimed and received the largest portions of land, Spain remained pretty quiet seeing that they were busy in South America but then came the two wildest claims of the conference.
Portugal, out of nowhere claimed basically the entirety of the continent, referencing the 400 year old treaty of Tordesillas signed with Spain and approved by the pope where the world would get divided into two and Portugal’s half happened to include Africa. This claim was received by Europe as sort of a joke and Portugal, with their monarchy in decline backed off and tried again, this time only claiming the land between its two colonies Angola and Moçambique in order to form a massive, unified nation.
But Britain had other plans and ended up doing an ultimatum to Portugal seeing that it too wanted to use that region to build a railroad connecting its territories in the North and South. In the end neither country went to war, nor did they manage to successfully govern that region, but further north the story was different, and dare I say it, even more peculiar.
You see, during the lengthy conference, the great colonial powers couldn’t agree on who should get the Congo, so the King of Belgium at the time, Leopold II, stepped forward and told everyone that the country should go to him. As Belgium still hadn’t claimed any major land in the old world, everyone agreed, and it soon was settled who should get it.
The problem was, that Leopold, when convincing everyone that the country should go to him forgot to mention that he was being literal. He really was claiming the country to himself, not in the name of Belgium. As you might imagine this caused a stir, even in his own country, but the fact is that after the conference the free state of Congo did in fact become property of King Leopold II although the natives weren’t too pleased with that.
Leopold was obsessed with colonization and the dominance he could exert on native people, so much so that even other European nations used to slavery and other atrocities started feeling uncomfortable with the methods used by him and this lead the country of Belgium to reclaim the Congo to be part of its property in 1908, after pressure from Europe.
The guy was quite literally mad, when doing research on this topic I came across images of what he did to the native people that honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable in showing them blurred out. Just to give you an idea, archives from the Belgian ministry of foreign affairs and trades showed that he had interests in all of this territories worldwide.
Just look at this list, he seriously had plans to colonize, buy or conquer lands spread all over the world, from little islands with small populations, to big territories already governed by other European nations and even like the majority of some continents with the combination of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina into the mix. My personal favourite out of the bunch had to be Portugal though, he didn’t just want some former or current Portuguese colonies, no, he wanted the country of Portugal.
I mean, we have great cuisine, beaches and weather but there’s no way in hell this would ever happen, even Spain would step in to help their favourite enemy, but if that wasn’t the case, Portugal could always have used its secret weapon, the baker.
Now back to the topic, even before the Berlin conference, King Leopold had already showed interest in buying the territories of the falling nations of Portugal, Spain and Netherlands. In 1866, Leopold instructed the Belgian ambassador in Madrid to speak to Queen Isabella II of Spain about selling the Philippines to Belgium. And although his plan was unsuccessful due to lack of funding it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.

6 Leopold II Of Belgium – The King Who Committed Genocide

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Leopold II Of Belgium – The King Who Committed Genocide: Leopold II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born on April 9, 1835 in Brussels and died on December 17, 1909 at Laeken Castle in Brussels, Belgium. He was Prince of Belgium until 1865, and succeeded his father Leopold I on the throne of the Kingdom of Belgium. He was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. Leopold was a supporter of colonialist ideas and founded the officially independent Congo Free State in Central Africa, of which he was absolute monarch and personal owner. At that time, mainly ivory and rubber were exported from the Congo. The local population was cruelly mistreated and exploited in the process.


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3 feb 2022

I took to the streets of Leuven to record a mini documentary on how people in the city feel about King Leopold II. After seeing a statue dedicated to him on my way to the grocery store one day, I was curious about what the overall perception of him was in the city. This video represents my attempt- and the attempt of my friend, Larissa- to get to the bottom of how he is perceived by people in the city, and what this means for the question of how to deal with controversial historical figures.

What is certain, is that we live in times where more people, from more parts of the world, (all with their unique global outlook) are able to chime in on conversations on figures like King Leopold II- and modern Europe’s diversity of viewpoint should never be undermined, or abandoned.

8 The Unspeakable things Leopold II did during his Reign

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19 jan 2023

In this video, we will explore the disturbing history of Leopold II, the King of the Belgians, during his reign. Despite his ambitious expansionist policies and desire to turn Belgium into a colonial power, Leopold II oversaw the deaths of millions of people and the pillaging of their natural resources in the Congo.

We will uncover the unspeakable things that Leopold II did, including his fraudulent treaties with local African leaders, his brutal system of forced labor, and the exploitation of the Congo’s resources. The impact of Leopold II’s rule on the Congolese people was devastating, leaving a lasting legacy that still affects the country today. Join us as we delve into this dark chapter of history and uncover the truth about Leopold II’s atrocities.

DISCLAIMER: All materials in these videos are used for entertainment purposes and fall within the guidelines of fair use. No copyright infringement intended. If you are, or represent, the copyright owner of materials used in this video, and have an issue with the use of said material, please send an email to properhistory@gmail.com

9 King Leopold II – Life of a Man, Death of a People

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Produced/Edited by Ariana S. Rudess and Brian J. O’Connor for the National History Day Competition (2010)

10 Blind History S5E6: King Leopold II

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We know you love the bad guys, but this one is close to impossible to like. The fact that he perpetrated his crimes against humanity only three generations ago makes it somehow more monstrous. When the story of humanity is told, King Leopold II of the Belgians will not find himself covered in glory. Join us on this journey into the Heart of Darkness.

11 King Leopold’s Ghost

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The true story of how one man’s greed led to one of the most horrific examples of European Colonialism.


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Belgium is not the first European country we think of when we hear the words “blood-soaked tyranny”. Yet one of Belgium’s leader’s, King Leopold II’s rule over the Congo was a horror story with a body count on par with Hitler’s, so why haven’t more people heard of him?

13 Congo Harvest – Wealth Of The World (1950)

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13 apr 2014
An Associated British Pathe Series.


Logo of hand holding a globe. Africa – various scenes: Jungle, trees, swamp, elephants, a deer, a monkey, a snake, snow-capped mountain, fast flowing river, barren landscape. Man beating drum. Camera pans around an African village. Camera pans along a row of seated African natives. The witch doctor dances in the centre of the group. A waterfall. Wildlife. A small paddle boat on a river. MS the natives and white safari man on-board. Men carrying boxes on their heads through the jungle. Several vies of the Conga river. Man climbing palm tree and cutting down the fruit. Boy fires bow and arrow. Men carry palms through the jungle. A man lights a fire by rubbing sticks together. Natives at work extracting palm oil from fruit by traditional methods.

Painting of William Lever (later Lord Leverhulme). A map of the Belgian Congo. The “white man” in consultation with tribesmen. CU the faces of tribes men. CU a handshake. Various scenes as the villages build a mill: Unloading goods from a barge, carring boxes through the jungle, workers on the site. Belgians, Britons and the men of the Congo work together. Men haul a huge boiler using ropes made from creepers. Palm trees. Women carrying baskets of fruit on their heads. Market trading. The bosses do deals with the locals.

Trees falling – clearing jungle. Men carrying burning torches. They set fire to trees and bush. Clouds of smoke. A view of large area of tree trunks not burned away. The tree trunks are levered and moved. Palms are planted.

Map of the Congo showing copper mines, roads, airports etc. Aerial shot of palm fields. Palm trees from the ground. African children at school sing a song and hold their fingers in the air. Older children going to school and doing physical exercise in playground. Classroom scenes, learning to write and type. Diving and swimming in a river.

Trucks carrying men to work in the plantations. Recruiting staff. Some have goats or dogs with them. Men are weighed and have their chests checked by doctor with stethoscope. Money is counted. Thumb print marks their receipt. Food being issued and clothes. Houses for the workers.

Men at work in the plantations. Working in mills, typing, woodworking etc. Trucks carrying fruit. Shovelling coal into furnaces. Factories and machines processing trees to make palm oil. Freight trains and ships.

School scenes. Mathematics lesson. Men picking up their wages. Mountains. Families in the jungles. Medical care for the local children. Doctors and nurses. Lake. Traditional music and dance. A child yawns. End titles: “Wealth of the World Series… in Association with Sofidoc and Film Centre. Music Composed and Conducted by Francis Chagrin”.

This seems to be a duplicate of 1677.05. Check for best quality.

Note: with hindsight the commentary for this film seems rather patronising and jingoistic. The local people are described as being “backward” and of not being able to exploit the potential of their country’s resources without the help of the white man. Safety print exists.
FILM ID:3262.11

14 Jungle Yachts in the Belgian Congo (1940)

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Commander Attilio Gatti leads an expedition, including his wife, engineers and a cameraman, into the Congo with a caravan of vehicles including the luxurious “Jungle Yacht’ trailers to explore the native culture and search for okapi. 

To purchase a clean DVD of this film for personal home use or educational use contact us at questions@archivefarms.com. To license footage from this film for commercial use visit: www.globalimageworks.com

15 Belgian Congo

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16 Belgium in the Congo Genocide

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a project for World History of Genocide

17 Blind History S5 Ep6: Leopold II

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We know you love the bad guys, but this one is close to impossible to like. The fact that he perpetrated his crimes against humanity only three generations ago makes it somehow more monstrous. When the story of humanity is told, King Leopold II of the Belgians will not find himself covered in glory. Join us on this journey into the Heart of Darkness… 

Brought to you by Taylor Blinds & Shutters.

18 WC documentary-King Leopold II and the Belgian Congo

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HIST 1112 Documentary King Leopold II and the Belgian Congo

19 The Congo’s colonial history

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Did you know that between 1880 and 1920, Belgium’s King Leopold II murdered 50% of the Congo’s population, for which Belgium has never formally apologised?

20 Leopold II & Congo – Summary and short history

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28 jan 2022

Leopold II & Congo – Summary and short history

Leopold II (French: Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor; 9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was the second King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909 and, through his own efforts, the owner and absolute ruler of the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908.

Born in Brussels as the second but eldest surviving son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the Belgian throne in 1865 and reigned for exactly 44 years until his death—the longest reign of any Belgian monarch. He died without surviving legitimate sons. The current Belgian king descends from his nephew and successor, Albert I.

Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf as a personal union with Belgium. He used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe authorized his claim and committed the Congo Free State to him. Leopold ran the Congo using the mercenary Force Publique for his personal gain. He extracted a fortune from the territory, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of natural rubber in the 1890s, by forced labour from the native population to harvest and process rubber.

Leopold’s administration of the Congo Free State was characterised by atrocities and systematic brutality, including torture, murder, and the amputation of the hands of men, women, and children when the quota of rubber was not met. In 1890, George Washington Williams used the term “crimes against humanity” to describe the practices of Leopold II of Belgium’s administration of the Congo Free State. Colonial accounts typically emphasized Leopold’s modernizing changes in the Congo and not the mass death he facilitated.

These and other facts were established at the time by eyewitness testimony, on-site inspection by an international commission of inquiry, and the 1904 Casement Report. Modern estimates range from 1 million to 15 million Congolese deaths, with a consensus growing around 10 million. Some historians argue against these figures, citing the lack of reliable censuses, the enormous mortality caused by smallpox and African trypanosomiasis, and the fact that there were only 175 administrative agents in charge of rubber exploitation. In 1908, the reports of deaths and abuse and pressure from the Congo Reform Association and other international groups induced the Belgian government to take over the administration of the Congo from Leopold as a new territory, Belgian Congo.

21 Belgian King’s ‘deep regret’ over Congo suffering

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Belgium’s King Philippe expressed deep regret on Tuesday for the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted on the Democratic Republic of Congo during its 75 years under Belgian rule.

22 Belgium’s Chocolate Of Severed Black Hands Are Mocking The Victims Of King Leopold II

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In première gegaan op 13 apr 2021

Wongel Zelalem reports on Belgium’s black hand-shaped fetish and why these hand – shaped chocolates mock chopped African hands.

23 This Man Killed 10,000,000 Africans in a few years | King Leopold II

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In première gegaan op 20 mrt 2023

In this video, take a look at King Leopold II, the man who killed 10 Million Africans in 23 years.

The actions of King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were simply horrific. Under the guise of “civilizing” and “Christianizing” the people of Congo, Leopold created a brutal regime of forced labor, mutilation, and murder that resulted in the deaths of millions of Congolese. We examine the details of the atrocities committed by Leopold’s agents, the role of Western powers in supporting his regime, and the eventual exposure of the atrocities to the world. This is a disturbing but important story of colonialism, greed, and the fight for justice.


24 King Leopold and the Congo Genocide

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11 nov 2020

We look at King Leopold’s II of Belgium rule of the Congo Free State, the territory now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
King Leopold II’s rule over the Congo was a horror story with a body count on par with that of Adolph Hitler’s. This empire known as the Congo Free State and was 76 times the size of Belgium.

Millions of Congolese were killed or maimed working in rubber plantations and in military expeditions while Leopold amassed a huge personal fortune.
In the space of 23 years, it is estimated that more than 10 million Congolese were killed. And the ironic part is that the King Himself never set foot in the Congo. This video gives an account of the atrocities of what led to these atrocities in the then Congo Free State.


King Leopold and the Congo Genocide


King Leopold II is one of the most destructive genocidal leaders in history, but why don’t people know about his legacy of murder, exploitation and destruction? We look at the Belgian leader’s ravaging of the Congo and discuss the continued ignorance about the African genocide in this clip from the Buzzsaw news with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.

25 The Colonization Of The Congo Pt 1

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26 The Colonization Of The Congo Pt. 2

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27 The Colonization Of The Congo Pt. 3

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King Leopold II and his crimes against the Congolese

28 The Colonization Of The Congo Pt. 4

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King Leopold II and his crimes against the Congolese

29 The Colonization Of The Congo Pt. 5

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King Leopold II and his crimes against the Congolese

30 When Belgium committed a holocaust in Africa

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This is how the story of Leopold’s regime colonised, exploited, murdered, enslaved, and maimed the people of the Congo and how Brussels’ dark colonial past is catching up to it today.

31 A Super Quick History of the Congo (DRC)

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Main Sources: “Congo: The Epic History of a People” (2014) by David van Reybrouck, Harper Collins, London.

32 Untold Story Of The European King Who Killed Over 10 Million Africans

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12 uur geleden in première gegaan

Today, we’re going to delve into one of the darkest chapters of European colonialism, a story of exploitation, greed, and inhumanity that is still haunting us today. Today, we’re going to talk about the notorious King Leopold the Second of Belgium and his brutal rule over the Congo Free State.
Now, some of you may think that history can be dry and boring, but the story we’re about to unfold is anything but that. This is a story of a king who was driven by his insatiable lust for power and wealth, and who saw an entire nation as nothing more than a resource to be exploited.

Under Leopold’s rule, the Congo Free State became a hell on earth for the local population. Millions of Congolese people were forced into labor camps and subjected to brutal working conditions, while others were killed or maimed for resisting or failing to meet the king’s quotas. The exploitation was so severe that the population of the Congo fell from 20 million to 10 million during Leopold’s reign.

And yet, this dark chapter in history is still not widely known. Many people have never even heard of King Leopold the Second, let alone the atrocities he committed in the Congo. But as we’ll see today, the legacy of his reign is still felt in the Congo and throughout the world. It is a story that deserves to be told. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the horrors of King Leopold’s rule over the Congo Free State. Before that, do not forget to like and hit the subscribe button to catch more content like this.

To understand the horrors that took place in Congo under King Leopold the Second, we need to start at the beginning of his reign.
In the late 19th century, European powers were on a scramble to colonize Africa, exploiting its resources and people for their own economic gain. King Leopold the Second of Belgium, a cunning and ambitious ruler, saw this as an opportunity to build his own personal wealth and power
Being a shrewd monarch, he saw the need for Belgium to have a colony like other European powers. He was also a ruthless businessman who saw the potential for enormous wealth to be gained from the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources.

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From the harrowing legacy of the Atlantic slave trade to the powerful impact of black literature and the black narrative, we shine a light on the unwritten history and the stories that have been overlooked or suppressed. We celebrate the black legacy and the resilience of the African diaspora, as well as the activism and political history of African Americans in their ongoing fight for justice and equality.
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33 Leopold II’s Congo genocide of 10 Million Africans, Except not Really!

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A popular claim floating around the internet is that King Leopold II, between the years 1885 and 1908 when he ruled the area of the modern Democratic Republic of Congo, killed 10 million people. This area was known as the “Congo Free State”, and in 1908 the Belgian government formally took over the area. This is based on claims in a book by Adam Hochschild, who is a co-founder of the publication Mother Jones. If there was a massive genocide, it appears to have been lower than the natural population growth rate. The population growth rate of the Congo from 1950 to 2016 has been around 2.8%. This results in a doubling roughly every 27 years. G-B’s estimate for year on-year growth averages to 2.3%.

And another reason to think this is that the Congo’s share of the population of Africa has increased from 1950 to 2016. And so the Congo’s population relative to the rest of Africa was probably lower in 1885 to 1900 than it is today. If someone was given an assignment to estimate the population of the Congo Free State in 1900, and didn’t know about the “10 million” killed by Leopold and thus what the population had to have been for that to be possible, they wouldn’t come anywhere near 20 million. They would come to a mid-range estimate of 7 million, with the highest plausible being around 10.7 million, with an absolute maximum of 15.2 million, a low estimate of around 4 million, and an absolute minimum of 3.1 million.

There are two more important facts to consider. The first is that there were roughly 200 Europeans in the Congo Free State administration at any one time, versus around 13,000 black FP troops at any one time. And so the mutilating, raping and killing that was done had to have been done overwhelmingly by the black FP troops. Secondly, there were no orders or policy to mutilate, rape or kill without cause any of the Congolese. And while there may have been some white people who engaged in these acts, it was almost certainly lower on a per-capita basis, but even if all 200 of the whites were vicious killers and sadists who traveled to the Congo because they knew they could get away with it there, there’s only so much 200 men could have done.

Between 1892 and 1894, the Congo Free State was at war with Tippu Tip, and had begun advancing westward, using an incident at a fort in which Tips forces attacked and defeated an FP garrison due to a dispute over a slave girl. And so if a dishonest or ignorant newspaper editor got some pictures or description of a battle in that war, he would have plenty of gory pictures and gruesome details, and he could then say, “this is Leopold’s Congo” to dishonestly seed the idea that this was normal Congo Free State policy for all Congolese.

In addition, if say some men in the FP chopped off the hands of 20 people, well, 20 images can fill up an entire page, and would make it look like mutilation is happening all the time; and he could then say, “this is Leopold’s Congo”. Leopold’s Congo did not have any form of population statistics. And so there is no record of how many people died in the Congo; this makes it easy for people to pull numbers out of there. Moreover, it is the Congo, it is a place where people die all the time for horrible reasons and live in conditions that Europeans even at that time would consider torture. 200 Belgian administrators are not going to change that.

In addition, some journalists can come in and take photos of people with their hands cut off, and then say “look, this is going on in King Leopold’s Congo” and the reader is then to make assumptions. The rubber quota was just a form of taxation. In fact, throughout history, labor rendered to the state was the most common way in which people paid taxes, since most people didn’t have currency. And that is how most of the Congolese paid their taxes, and Leopold’s policy was that no man’s tax should be over 40 hours per month.

In terms of cutting off limbs, that was a practice that predates and postdates Leopold’s Congo. In addition, several of the photos of Africans with limbs chopped off have Europeans posing with them; do you imagine that they would pose with them if they had done it themselves? Do you think they would want to take photos because they were proud of doing that themselves?

And activists, looking for a flashy number, say “10 million” and quickly cobble together imagery, anecdotes and personal accounts, without doing the first level of research and ask “is this possible” or try to figure out if indicators of past population showed a decline or increase in population over the period. A similar thing happened in Britain during the industrial revolution as politicians learned of the frightful conditions of factories, ignorant of the fact that it was an improvement of the even more frightful conditions of peasant life.


King Leopold II Killed 8-10 Million People | Hotboxin with Mike Tyson


Mike Tyson talks about King Leopold II killing millions of people with Justin Wren.

34 Belgian Princess Condemns Her Family’s Brutal Colonial History in Congo & Calls For Reparations

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Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. have sparked a reckoning about racism and colonialism across the world, including in Belgium, where a growing movement is demanding the country address systemic racism and make amends for its violent colonial legacy. King Philippe issued an unprecedented statement “expressing regret” for Belgium’s brutal colonial rule in Congo under Leopold II, who ran the country as his personal fiefdom and under whose command millions of Congolese were enslaved and killed. “It’s an erased history,” says Belgo-Congolese journalist and activist Gia Abrassart. We also speak with Princess Esméralda, a member of the Belgian royal family and great-grandniece of Leopold II, who says the country has taken an important first step, but adds that “we have to go much farther.”

35 Public Toilet Threesome Prank

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4 dec 2015


4 dec 2015


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