Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Belgian King Leopold II

Born five years after Belgium’s independence from the Netherlands, Leopold II (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909.

Born in Brussels as the second but eldest surviving son of Leopold I (former Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) and Princess of Louise of Orléans (daughter of King Louis Philippe of the French). He ascended the throne at the death of his father on Dec. 10, 1865 and reigned for 44 years until his death.

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. The infamous Berlin Conference of 1885 concluded with an agreement to recognize Leopold’s sovereignty in the Congo Free State, his private colony.

He also played a significant role in the development of the modern Belgian state.
Belgian King Leopold II

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