Congo Free State/Belgian Congo 1904. King Leopold II's African Genocide in the name of Christianity and Capitolism. The king's new private colony became a massive labour camp, where he made a fortune for himself from the harvest of its wild rubber, and was responsible for the death of millions - estimates vary from 5 million to 13 million people. Anyone who failed to bring enough rubber for agents was killed. Those who failed to pay their taxes were condemned to slavery.
This photograph shows a Catholic father with some Congolese boys. The photograph was taken about 1902. Many of the reports about colonial abuses came from the Protestant and not the Catholic missionaries who the King was able to effectively silence.
Leopold's real motives for founding the Congo Free State, however, were far from altruistic: financial gain, regardless of the human cost, was the king's sole ambition. Leopold's attention had been drawn to Central Africa by a report in The Times (11 January 1876) headed 'African Exploration', which described the interior of Africa as 'a magnificent and healthy country of unspeakable richness' that would 'repay any enterprising capitalist that might take the matter in hand.'