We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is King Leopold II?

By Phil Shepley
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

King Leopold II was the king of Belgium from 1865 to 1909, and was the founder of the Congo Free State. He was born on April 9, 1835 in Brussels, Belgium, and died on December 17, 1909 in Laeken, Belgium. He was heir to the throne to his father, Leopold I, and his mother Louise was the daughter of King Louis Philippe of France.

Belgium was a relatively new country that ran under a constitutional monarchy, initially under Leopold I. When Leopold II was born, he was a sickly child and was thought to have tuberculosis, and he had a defect in his sciatic nerve that caused him to walk with a limp. He did not have a particularly good relationship with his father because of his lack of discipline, often needing to make appointments just to meet with him. At the age of 9, King Leopold II received his first title as Duke of Brabant, and became a lieutenant in the Belgian army when he was ten.

In 1853, he married Archduchess Marie-Henriette of Austria-Hungary for diplomatic purposes, and succeeded his father as king when Leopold I died in 1865. By this time, King Leopold II had traveled widely throughout the world and became an advocate for the expansion of Belgium, an opinion that differed of which Leopold was the chairman, he forged an agreement with an American named Henry Stanley to bring the Congo Basin under the control of Europe by way of unfair trade and slavery. Eventually this would become King Leopold’s Congo Free State, which existed from 1885 to 1908. This colony earned a bad reputation because of the brutal mistreatment of its people, which left millions dead, and the relentless pillaging of the region’s natural resources that included ivory and rubber.

King Leopold II was condemned for his actions in the Congo, and eventually control of the region was handed completely over to Belgium from Leopold II. Nonetheless, he has been regarded as an exceptional historical figure because of his involvement as a king at a time when such positions were increasingly becoming simple figureheads with little control versus the government. During his reign, King Leopold II also successfully pushed for military modernization and expansion, and his successor to the throne was his nephew, Albert I.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.