The territory of the second largest state in Africa, Congo, was granted on February 5, 1885, to King Leopold II of Belgium. into private possession. This was agreed at the Berlin Conference, which decided the fate of much of colonial Africa. Leopold II. as a result, he acquired a property of 2,344,000 square kilometers (234,400,000 acres) with approximately 30 million inhabitants. The Leopold people then began colonial exploitation of the Congo, transforming the entire country into the king’s personal slave plantation.
He enslaved to free labor to extract all natural resources from the Congo – copper, ivory, crude rubber, gold, diamonds … Belgium (parliamentary monarchy) did not benefit – all the proceeds went directly to the king. For his terror, Leopold also had a private army. The methods were brutal – torture, executions … For example, Congolese residents who did not meet work quotas were able to cut their hands off. The quotas were so unrealistically high that neighboring villages attacked each other to cut off the hands they would give to the colonialists when they could not meet the quotas.
By some estimates, tens of millions died in the exploitation period. The case became an international scandal and Leopold II. had to renounce Congo and transfer it to the Belgian government in 1908.