Congo Free State

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Congo Free State
État indépendant du Congo
Personal union with the Kingdom of Belgium
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
French: Travail et progrès
(Work and Progress)
"Towards the Future"
Capital Boma
Languages French (de facto official),
more than 200 indigenous languages
Government Absolute monarchy
Ruler and owner
 •  1885-1908 Leopold II of Belgium
 •  1885–1886 Francis Walter de Winton (first)
 •  1900-1908 Théophile Wahis (last)
Historical era New Imperialism
 •  Established July 1[1] 1885
 •  Annexation by Belgium November 15, 1908
Currency Congolese franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
International Association of the Congo
Belgian Congo

The Congo Free State (French: État indépendant du Congo) was a large area in Central Africa. It was privately owned by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Leopold convinced the international community that he was involved in humanitarian work. He attracted scientific and humanitarian backing for the International African Association (French: Association internationale africaine), which he formed during a Brussels Geographic Conference of geographic societies, explorers, and leaders he hosted in 1876. Leopold used the Association and the defunct "Committee for Studies of the Upper Congo" (French: Comité d'études du Haut-Congo) as a way to claim most of the Congo Basin.

Leopold created the International Association of the Congo (French: Association internationale du Congo) as a new organization. The entity was officially recognized by the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 and various governments. On May 29, 1885, the king named his new colony the Congo Free State (French: État indépendant du Congo). The Free State fought against the slave trade in order to get full control and force the natives to work at extracting resources, mainly rubber and ivory, for the State.

The Belgian government took control in 1908 and made the Belgian Congo.

References[change | change source]

  1. Encyclopædia Britannica