Leopold II of Belgium
|King of the Belgians|
|Reign||17 December 1865 – 17 December 1909|
|Born||9 April 1835|
Royal Palace, Brussels, Belgium
|Died||17 December 1909 (aged 74)|
Royal Palace, Laeken, Belgium
|Spouse||Marie Henriette of Austria|
|Issue||Louise Marie, Princess of Kohary|
Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant
Stéphanie, Crown Princess of Austria
Clémentine, Princess Napoléon
|House||House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Mother||Louise of Orléans|
Leopold II (Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor) (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was King of the Belgians. Born in Brussels the second (but oldest surviving) son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans. He succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and was king until his death.
Biography[change | change source]
Leopold is mainly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State. He lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He treated the people badly in order to make money. His harsh rule was responsible for the deaths of between five to 10 million Congolese people. The Congo became one of the most infamous international scandals of the early 20th century. As a result, Leopold II was forced to give control of it to the government of Belgium. Despite owning and ruling it as a dictator, Leopold II never visited the Congo Free State and Africa.
Personal life[change | change source]
On 15 November 1902, Italian anarchist Gennaro Rubino tried to assassinate Leopold. Rubino fired three shots at the King. The shots missed Leopold and Rubino was immediately arrested. Leopold II had a wedding ceremony with Caroline Lacroix, a prostitute, on 14 December 1909, five days before his death. This was not legal under Belgian law.
He was succeeded as King of the Belgians by his nephew Albert, son of his brother Philippe.
Titles and styles[change | change source]
- 9 April 1835 – 17 December 1865 His Royal Highness The Duke of Brabant, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Duke in Saxony.
- 17 December 1865 – 17 December 1909 His Majesty The King of The Belgians. Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke in Saxony.