- "The Congo Free State is unique in its kind. It has nothing to hide and no secrets and is not beholden to anyone except its founder"
- "King Leopold II"
King Leopold II was the King of Belgium From 1865 to his death on December 17th , 1909. He was also the owner of the Congo Free State from 1885 until his death. he is infamous for enslaving much of the Congolese population and forcing them to work for rubber, with often severe punishments for not doing so, such as cutting off hands, whipping, and even death.
Leopold II was born to Leopold I in Brussels on April 9th, 1835; being the heir to the Belgian throne. His mother would die In 1850 when Leopold was only 15 years old.
At the age of 18, Leopold married Marine Henriette, though they later split up. after becoming King In 1865, Leopold prepared for overseas colonization, believing it was the key to a country's success. He failed many times to make a colony, finally succeeding in 1876, establishing a holding company disguised as a scientific association named the International African Society, and begun colonizing the Congo area. In 1885, he established the Congo free state, ruling the "free" state with an iron fist.
The Native Africans did not respond well to the sudden military activity, causing many tribal revolts. This allowed Leopold to use these rebellions as an excuse to burn down entire villages that sometimes had nothing to do with the uprisings, and were completely innocent. After realizing the vast amount of rubber in his colony, Leopold put the native population to work, acquiring rubber in often dangerous environments. Natives that would refuse to do so were usually killed, and they would often be whipped for long periods for nothing at all. Entire villages were burnt to a crisp because one of its citizens refused. The people often had no time to feed their family.
Congolese soldiers working for Leopold, (often serving him at their will,) were frequently forced to kill their own people when they refused to work. This was all overseen and even encouraged by Leopold II, believing the Belgians superior to the "Negros". Eventually, due to pressure by the International Community, the Belgian king ceased the free state in 1908. At the end, 8 million Congolese People died from the Leopold reign of terror.
- "I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake"
- "King Leopold II"