White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908.

Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber.

Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children’s hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries.

The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a “tendentious diatribe” for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo.

Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.

What the Belgians did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. It’s a shocking, astonishing story. In a way, it’s a horrifying prelude in European history to the Holocaust.

Between 1870 and 1900 the Congo was pillaged – it was valuable as a source of rubber. King Leopold created his own colony in the Congo over which he ruled unchecked.

Peter Bate’s film is a marvelously made reconstruction of those days – it features footage of Congolese villages and explains with actors exactly what happened. It’s really a memorable film – the painfulness of what is described is counterbalanced by the great skill in the storytelling. via

Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is?

Most people haven’t heard of him.

But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in your stomach as when you read about Mussolini or Hitler or see one of their pictures. You see, he killed over 10 million people in the Congo.

His name is King Leopold II of Belgium.

Watch on

White King, Red rubber, Black death is a BBC documentary about King Leopold II of Belgium, his colonization of Democratic Republic of Congo. He killed, chopped off the hands of humans and told his people to rape the Congo people physically and literally. Millions died. The result of his bullshit is still being felt and orchestrated  in Congo, this time by Africans on Africans and of course, we know who benefits from it all and who finances it all. Congo is like a Garden of Eden, it has vast raw materials, from cocoa to products used to make cellphones and some electronic devices to diamonds. It is now considered the rape capital of the world. Six million Congolese have died over the past few years because of the civil war rampaging that beautiful land yet the media doesn’t give a damn. It is Africa, who cares, right?


Congo History: 1885 - 1908 - King Leopold II Rule

Leopold’s regime began undertaking various development projects, such as the railway system which took years to complete. The goal of almost all projects was to increase the financial capital of Leopold and his cohorts, e.g. rubber production for use in making tires. Exploitation and abuse of people and land in order to obtain maximum profits at minimum financial cost. Leopold’s profits used to build several buildings in Brussels and Ostend to honor himself and his country.

10 million - 15 million Congolese died within a 23-year period due to exploitation and diseases as a result of King Leopold’s natural resources profiteering ventures.

Learn more and share Congo’s history at

Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II (French: Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor, Dutch: Leopold Lodewijk Filips Maria Victor) (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was the King of the Belgians, and is chiefly remembered for the founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State. Born in Brussels the second (but eldest surviving) son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and remained king until his death. Due to his many female lovers, he was also called “The Belgian Bull”.

Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf. He used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe committed the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. From the beginning, however, Leopold essentially ignored these conditions and ran the Congo using a mercenary force for his personal gain. Some of the money from this exploitation was used for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period.

Leopold extracted a fortune from the Congo, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forcing the population to collect sap from rubber plants. Villages were required to meet quotas on rubber collections, and individuals’ hands were cut off if they did not meet the requirements. His regime was responsible for the death of an estimated 2 to 15 million Congolese. This became one of the most infamous international scandals of the early 20th century, and Leopold was ultimately forced to relinquish control of it to the Belgian government.

In 1885, King Leopold II of Belgium declared himself the dictator of DR Congo, then called the Congo Free State. Leopold was supported because his people bought into propaganda that he would Christianize and modernize the country, while his true intent was to force men, women, and children into labor for rubber and ivory. When the Congolese people failed to meet quotas set by the king, their hands would be cut off or they would be killed. The population declined due to these practices and the new European diseases. In 1908, the king sold the colony to Belgium. The Belgians couldn’t stop the deaths of 5-8 million Congolese people over the course of two years (1908-1910) because of Leopold’s army. By 1903, the rubber industry fell through, so they looked to the Katanga province for copper, diamonds, and oil. Again, labor was forced and taxes were high. Families were torn apart. During WWII, the demand for copper rose, creating markets for household goods like soaps and sugar. During this time, the economy and education improved, but the Belgians were still authoritarian and used local chiefs as figureheads. In 1960, the Congo gained independence.

After the Congo Free State was formed as a private state under the control of King Leopold II, he exploited the land’s people and resources as much as possible, especially rubber. Workers who failed to meet their rubber collection quotas were often punished with death.  Their hands were chopped off by forces of Leopold and shown to superiors to prove punishment had been dealt. Victims of this torture were either killed before the severing or simply had their hand chopped off and left to die. Some of the victims who had been left for dead managed to survive and share their story.