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King Leopold II

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by

Dana Boe

on 11 February 2014

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Transcript of King Leopold II

King Leopold II
Who was King Leopold II?
Leopold Victor was born April 9 1835, heir to the Belgium throne
Married Marie Henriette of Austria in 1853
Four children were born to the couple, the only son and heir died of pneumonia at age 9
Reigned for 44 years, from 1865 to his death in 1908
He had many mistresses, ranging from as young as 10 years of age
Ideology
Maintained a strong focus on economic and military gain as a means to build a strong Belgium
Believed that overseas colonies were especially important for gaining power
Little regard for law, therefore many of his business ventures were illegal
Utilized slave labor and exploitation of others for personal gain
Held the power of the monarchy above the power of the people
Did not support the Roman Catholic Church
Involvement in the Congo
Organized the International African Society as a philanthropist front to create an opportunity for colonization.
Was recognized as soveriegne of the area of the Congo that he had colonized at the Berlin Conference of 1884
Sole ownership of the Congo Free State was given to King Leopold as of 1885
Ownership of the land also granted him ownership of the Congolese
Amassed an enormous personal fortune and fortune for Belgium from the ivory and the collection of sap from rubber plants to feed the newly industrialized Europe
Known as the "Builder King" for the large number of public projects funded by the wealth from the Congo
Atrocities and Exploitation
Forced the Congolese people to work, using methods of torture such as whipping, starvation, taking hostages, and mutilation, especially the cutting off of the hands
Villages were burned, citizens were raped and sold into human trafficking
Killed roughly 10 million Congolese Africans during the late 1800's, amounting to half the original population
King Leopold passed many reforms to improve human rights in Belgium, restricting child labor and giving workers compensation. However, the people of the Congo were treated as less that human and not given any of the same rights.
Freeing of the Congo
Observation of missionaries and European powers led to a mass human rights movement
The Catholic Party and Labour Party pressured the Belgium parliament to act, and the control of the Congo Free State was given over to the government in 1908
Died on 17 December 1909
Full transcript