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Word Count: 1,428
King Leopold of Belgium writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history did not much care for his native land or his subjects all of which he dismissed as small country small people Even so he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people a death toll Hochschild writes of Holocaust dimensions Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber yielding a fortune for the Belgian king who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world Hochschilds fine book of historical inquiry which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists savagery brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light The Berlin Conference of 1884 established the ground rules amongst the Europeans for partitioning the resources of Africa At this conference King Leopold II of Belgium was granted permission to take over and claim the Congo as long as his reasons were purely philanthropic King Leopold II was a world known Philanthropist and he had no problem convincing the world that his intentions were good His good deeds of the past acted as a perfect cover for his undisclosed intentions Leopold II 18351909 was the king of the Belgians from 18651909 He was the son and successor of Leopold I He was born in Brussels and originally named Louis Philippe Marie Victor At an early age he entered the Belgian army and in 1853 he married Maria Henrietta daughter of Joseph archduke of Austria His nephew Albert I succeeded him In 1876 King Leopold
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