Monday, March 5, 2012
Our Great Kings, Part II, Leopold II
Like his father, King Leopold II was ambition for Belgium but also never over-stepped his authority as a constitutional monarch. What he did do was to take matters into his own hands in a private capacity when the government refused to act. This is why so many of the magnificent buildings that mark his reign were mostly paid for by the King out of his own pocket. In Belgium itself he showed great concern for the safety and wellbeing of his people and worked with determination to make Belgium a more prosperous, more beautiful and more secure country. All of these things he successfully accomplished too. In Africa his humanitarian aims were less successful but the expeditions he sent did wipe out the network of slave-trading and human trafficking going on in central Africa. He also brought a previously unexplored region to the attention of the world with all of the new cultures, wildlife and plants that came with that which no one had ever seen before. Also, his acquisition of the Congo was done peacefully by negotiation with local leaders. No Belgian army was ever sent to Africa to conquer and dominate native peoples.