Generations are numbered by descent from Duke Francis. In more than 80 percent of Africa south of the Sahara was under the rule of indigenous chiefs or kings. Leopold II of the Belgians (April 9, – December 17, ) succeeded his father, Leopold I of Belgium, the first king of the independent Belgium, to the Belgian. King Leopold II is known today as one of the most brutal colonial rulers of the 19th century for his policies in central Africa. He succeeded his father to the throne. The ultimate fate of the girls is not known.
The Assassination of President Kennedy. History and Biography Reading Suggestions Hundreds of 'Em, By Category. King of Belgium, Mass Murderer By Bob Frost Biography magazine, King Leopold II of Belgium created an image for himself as a fine fellow, a humanitarian, a solid citizen of the world. In fact he was a monster, terrorizing and pillaging a large section of Africa for a quarter-century.
How did this crime happen? And how did humanity put a stop to it? Born in Laeken Palace albert anker biography Brussels on April 9, iii, Leopold grew up sullen and obnoxious. His father, King Leopold I, was a chilly old coot; his mother, Queen Louise, thought her son repulsive because of his huge trowel-shaped king leopold ii biography.
Leopold's king leopold ii biography cousin, Queen Victoria of England, noted the prince's tendency to blurt out "disagreeable kings leopold ii biography. The boy's sense of woe leoopold as he pondered his future. He was fated, it seemed, to be a minor actor on the world stage, far less grand than his lucky cousin in England.
How to avoid this bleak destiny?
He began to dream of acquiring an overseas colony — a vast land that would relinquish its bounty without much of a fight, as India gave her king leopold ii biography to Britain.
Imperial suzerainties, Leopold convinced himself, would mean greatness for himself and Belgium. This yearning came to rule his life. Colonial expansion was in its heyday in the 19th century. Europeans gained control over loepold people at gunpoint. Similarly, Americans, Canadians, Australians, and South Africans assailed native tribes.
People often rationalized their aggression by saying they wanted to "protect" and "Christianize" the locals, help the race "grow up," but the core driving forces were racism, power lust, brighton mhlongo biography a craving for raw materials to feed the factories and furnaces of leoopld Industrial Revolution.
Historian Stephen Kern summarizes: Europe's colonial effort represented a collective mystification about value that at once magnified material and concealed human misery.
It glossed over the suffering of native populations and glorified the prize of empire. The rhetoric varied slightly from country to country, but the idea that large national territory betokened greatness was, as even that optimistic pacifist Norman Angell conceded, a "universal assumption.
Leopold became king of Belgium in at age 30 with the death of his father. By this time, he had developed a surface charm, a biographj and convincing political patter. His personal life continued to be odd and benighted. In he married an Austrian archduchess named Marie-Henriette; the union was arranged for diplomatic reasons.
Queen Victoria learned of the king leopold ii biography when the young couple visited England several weeks after the king leopold ii biography ceremony; Victoria and her husband, Prince Albertspoke quietly to the pair about the facts of life and their royal duty.
The results were positive. Marie-Henriette gave birth to Louise inLeopold inStephanie inand Clementine in Because King Leopold believed that only males should ascend to the throne, his son became the most important person lleopold the world to him. Sadly, the boy died at age 9 in after falling into a pond and kkng pneumonia.
Queen Marie-Henriette spent most of her time winston chao biography far away from her husband as possible, but she couldn't escape completely. By her sahar jozani biography 30s people commented about how miserable she looked. She hung on grimly until Leopold kept a series of young mistresses. According to sworn testimony in a London courtroom inhe paid a regular fee to a British procurer for a supply of virgins for his bed.
Some of these girls were apparently as young as ten years old, kidnapped or purchased in Britain, perhaps in alleyways in London's East End, a few miles from the courtroom. Leopold never appeared in London to respond to the testimony, and the trafficking case was swept under the rug, possibly because men of high position were involved.
The ultimate fate of the girls is not known. A new occupation emerged among Europeans in the late s — the African king leopold ii biography. Henry Stanley, the most ambitious of these, followed the Congo River in the s from its kings leopold ii biography to the Atlantic Ocean, a 1,mile trek that opened the region to Europe. From toStanley signed contracts with hundreds of tribal chieftains, giving Leopold unchecked power over a territory of more thansquare miles, as large as the U.
Leopold named his colony the Congo Free State. The region would go through several names over the next century: Leopold backed biographj his contracts king leopold ii biography the most lethal weaponry of the day. Meanwhile he hid details of his effort from the Belgian parliament. He assured his fellow citizens, and the world, that his interest in the Congo was benevolent, that he would tread lightly and encourage the spread of civilization.
He lined his pockets with the profits and financed Belgian public works, bought real estate, built a fabulous villa in the south of France, and achieved what he regarded as greatness. His regime forced Africans, at gunpoint, to work brutally hard at the tasks of empire: People who tried to avoid slavery were whipped, starved, and shot.
Families were held hostage. People were raped and held as sex slaves. A Belgian officer named Rene de Permentier was kimg untypical in his conduct. Hochschild writes, "If he found a leaf in a courtyard that women prisoners had swept, he ordered a dozen of them beheaded.Leopold II of Belgium
If he found pasha bocarie biography path in the forest not well-maintained, he ordered a child killed in the nearest village.
Tens of thousands of natives were murdered in cold blood. Many thousands more were worked to death. Millions of people succumbed to diseases brought by Belgians, or illnesses that they might have survived had they not been under the Belgian fist.
It was, says writer Algis Valiunas, "wickedness kint Leopold merits a place among the great modern enemies of civilization. Novelist Joseph Conrad was "so horrified by the greed and brutality among white men he saw in the Congo," writes Hochschild, "that his view of human nature was permanently changed.
In the wake of the trip he developed a brooding fascination with the darkness of the human soul - with what critic Adam Kirsch, reviewing a Conrad biography, calls "the cruelty and existential void lurking beneath the surface of advanced European civilization. Leopold knew biography anton boisen was happening in the Congo but was unconce rned.
Leopold's greed "could not be contained," biographyy historian Barbara Emerson. Shortly after British newspapers began publishing stories about the Belgian regime based on the remarkable detective work of a solitary individual, an Englishman named E. These accounts were not the first biograpuy reports from the Congo, but they were the most sustained and effective, and in their king leopold ii biography an international protest movement formed, enlisting thousands, including Mark Twain, Booker T.
Washington, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Leopold tried to stamp out the fire of outrage by enlisting powerful new voices of support. He hired well-connected kings leopold ii biography to get him a good press, and granted lucrative Congo business licenses to the Rockefellers, the Guggenheims, and others. But the reform movement eventually achieved a measure of success. In the king was forced to sell his colony, transferring it from his personal control to the national government, ensuring somewhat more oversight by the parliament.
The level of human misery gradually decreased but the effects can still be felt. The Congo today is called "the worst place on earth" by bioography Lisa Ling, reporting for The Oprah Show, and "the worst place on earth to be a woman" by author Lisa Shannon, biographyy rape and murder are common occurrences.
Neighboring Rwanda also suffered from the Belgians. The film "Hotel Rwanda" suggests that some of the roots of the massacre of Tutsis and Hutu moderates by Hutu extremists can be found in Belgian depredations on the culture after World War I which does not for a moment lessen the guilt of the Hutu butchers. As scholar Manus I.
It was under colonial rule that the distinctions between the Tutsi and Hutu were hardened into virtually hermetic racial categories. King Leopold died in his bed at Laeken Palace on December 17,age 74, sanguine that the world would assess his course as proper. Amazing, really, how many of history's villains have died with full confidence that they would be judged noble. Leopold was also wary at the end - eager to continue his long public relations campaign.
Before he died he ordered the burning of his Congo files, putting to the flame every scrap that could be collected. The fire lasted for eight days. He hoped to cover his tracks, but ming high court of history has found him out. Go to Top of Page. Go to Table of Contents. Table of Contents Romulus my father biography Us Search Contact Us A Few of Our Biographies: King of Belgium, Mass Murderer By Bob Frost Biography magazine, French biography of michael jackson Leopold II of Belgium created an image for himself as a fine fellow, a humanitarian, a solid citizen of the world.
Then came the disclosures.