General Question

lanahopple's avatar

After the Berlin conference, how did King Leopold gain territory in The Congo?

Asked by lanahopple (455points) May 24th, 2010

After the Berlin conference, I learned that Congo gained about 2 million square km in the congo, but there were still others who gained territory as well.

How did he gain power over all of the congo? Or did he just make the Congo Free state away from the land the French and Portuguese owned?

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4 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

By fiat declaration per this wikipedia article

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The Berlin Conference gave Leopold II that power in 1885. The conflicting claims of Belgium, Portugal, France and Britain might have led to war over what all these powers generally considered useless territory. Except for Belgium, the contesting nations already held as much territory as they could administer. The conference create a compromise where Belgium, as a nation, would not possess this territory as a colony. A private corporation was established to administer and exploit the territory; Leopold was the sole owner of the corporation. Leopold was not permitted to transfer the territory to Belgian sovereignty, nor to run it as King of Belgium, but as a private individual. Thus the territory became the Congo Free State, with Leopold as dictatorial head of state. It would later pass into the hands of Belgium in 1924.

Leopold did not gain control over all of the Congo basin. Large territory to the north was given to France and to the south to Portugal by the Berlin conference. These territories are now the states of Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic and Angola.

lanahopple's avatar

thank you! it makes sense now haha

noodlehead710's avatar

If you are curious about this, and have time, you should read King Leopold’s Ghost. It’s a ridiculously good book about King Leopold and his influence over Congo.

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