Congo Free State


After trying unsuccessfully to make a move into the Philippines, Leopold set his sights on controlling the Congo. He came in with promises of helping the native inhabitants, and became the sole owner of the Congo Free State. His secret goal: to quietly pillage the natural resources, including the inhabitants. After finding the returns a disappointment in the collection of ivory, Leopold made a killing by hiring a private army assigned to force locals to collect sap from rubber plants at a time when that business was booming. Leopold essentially enslaved the locals and kept quiet the atrocities that became part and parcel of his rule. When villagers did not meet quotas, his forces cut off their hands. His regime was responsible for the deaths of millions of Congolese.


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