King of the Belgians (1865–1909). His reign saw considerable industrial and colonial expansion, due in large part to the wealth gleaned from the Congo. The Berlin Colonial Conference (1884–85) had recognized Leopold as independent head of the newly created Congo Free State and he proceeded to amass great personal wealth from its rubber and ivory trade. Thanks to the report of an Englishman, Edmund Morel, his maltreatment of the Congo native population became an international scandal (1904) and he was forced to hand over the territory to his parliament in 1908.
Subjects: World History.