King Leopold's Ghost Characters

Adam Hochschild
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Leopold II (1835 - 1909), was King of the Belgians; in the text and in this summary, he is referred to as "Leopold." The second, but oldest surviving, son of Leopold I, he succeeded to the throne in 1865. He was the brother of Empress Carlota of Mexico and cousin of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Described as pencil thin and possessing a large nose, Leopold demonstrated an early fascination with trade and power. He was particularly interested in wealth derived from trade, an overt trait unusual in royalty during the period. From the first days of his rule, he felt that the new nation of Belgium needed colonial possessions to effectively compete with other European states. From 1865, Leopold unsuccessfully attempted to gain colonial possessions by purchase or subterfuge—the political mood in Belgium and Europe preventing outright seizure by force. The catastrophic failure of his sister and her husband to...

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This section contains 3,119 words
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