This Day in History — King Leopold Decides to Claim The Congo as His ‘Personal Possession,’ and Everyone is OK With it For Some Reason
On this day in1885 some doofus from Belgium named King Leopold II decided to claim the Congo Free State -- a large area in Central Africa -- as "his," which is apparently something you could decide in the 1800s.
It's always the "do-gooders" who end up doing something crazy, isn't it? Leopold II touted himself as a humanitarian interested in philanthropy, and this self-proclamation was apparently enough to convince people to "give" him the Congo.
Surprise! He just wanted stuff! Leopold made quick work of abusing his power, mistreating the locals and stripping the land of it's natural resources of ivory, rubber, and minerals. Eventually people started to notice (especially after almost 10 million people had been killed) and The Congo Free State became one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century, inspiring Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness.'
Slight topic switch: Effective as of 3pm EST today, I will be taking ownership of the bar down the block (the name escapes me but it's under the Barnes and Noble at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 53rd Street on the East Side of Manhattan).
Please be advised that we will no longer be serving any gin-related products, because they are disgusting and I said so. Welcome to Jackieland, happy hour starts at 8am, no leggings as pants, smoking is mandatory.