- "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"
- "I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake."
- "King Leopold II"
Leopold II (April 9th, 1835 – December 17th, 1909) was the second king of Belgium, ruling after his father, Leopold l.
Leopold II of Belgium was the King of Belgium from 1865 until his death in 1909. He is most infamously remembered for his acquisition of the Congo Free State, that was populated by around 20,000,000 Congolese at the time. He was widely met with critical acclaim for the decision, as he claimed to be helping them when he was, in reality, enslaving them in order to benefit his own empire.
Any Congolese civilian who showed the slightest hint of resistance was tortured and murdered. Under many circumstances, Leopold instructed his slaves to cut off parts of their children's bodies so they would not even consider rebellion against his authority.
By the time the treatment of the Congolese was exposed to the world, he had murdered approximately 50 % of the entire population, which would amount to a total of 10,000,000 people.
While the Congo Free State was under his tyranny, he forced many who were unwilling to work for him to be tortured or executed in gruesome fashion. This included having their hands, head, feet, ears, noses or legs chopped off as a method to scare others in the Congo Free State to do his bidding.
His Empire burnt villages, raped women, and cannibalized the natives in order to warn the other Congolese citizens to obey him.
Aside from premeditated genocide, many died under his regime due to starvation or disease. Many of the natives had to resort to eating human flesh and drinking their own urine in order to survive.
His main intentions behind the invasion of the Congo was his seen opportunity to make a significant amount of money. His forces collected a large sum of ivory within this destination. Not long before he perpetrated the invasion of the Congo, the 1890s has saw a large rise in the price of rubber. Leopold ordered his forces to make civilians harvest rubber for his own financial gain.
His atrocities did not come to the public attention until the death of between 10 and 15 million of the Congolese population. Due to an international scandal surrounding his tyranny in the early 20th century, he was forced to relinquish power of the Congo to the Civil Administration in 1908.
He died in 1909, one year removed after being forced to relinquish power of the Congo Free State. He was 74 years old.
Due to his tyranny now in the limelight, his funeral procession was booed.
Leopold II was the first cousin of both Queen Victoria of England and her husband Prince Albert. King Fernando II of Portugal and Leopold II were also first cousins.