Congo Free State

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The Congo Free State was a former state in Africa, coextensive with the modern Democratic Republic of the Congo, existing between 1885 to 1908. It was privately owned by Leopold II of Belgium (not by the government of Belgium, of which he was the constitutional monarch).

Leopold was able to procure the region by convincing other European states that he was involved in humanitarian and philanthropic work and would not tax trade. However, by 1908, public pressure and diplomatic manoeuvres regarding stated atrocities led to the end of Leopold II's absolutist rule and to the annexation of the Congo Free State as a colony of Belgium.

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