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Congo Free State

État indépendant du Congo
1885–1908
Flag of Congo
Flag
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Coat of arms
Motto: French: Travail et progrès
(Work and Progress)
Anthem: "Towards the Future"
Location of Congo
Status Personal union with the Kingdom of Belgium
Capital Boma
Common languages French (de facto official),
more than 200 indigenous languages
Government Absolute monarchy
Ruler and owner  
• 1885-1908
Leopold II of Belgium
Governor-general  
• 1885–1886
Francis Walter de Winton (first)
• 1900-1908
Théophile Wahis (last)
Historical era New Imperialism
July 1 1885
November 15 1908
Currency Congolese franc
ISO 3166 code CG
Preceded by
Succeeded by
International Association of the Congo
Belgian Congo

The Congo Free State (French: État indépendant du Congo) was a large area in Central Africa. It was privately owned by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Leopold convinced the international community that he was involved in humanitarian work. He attracted scientific and humanitarian backing for the International African Association (French: Association internationale africaine), which he formed during a Brussels Geographic Conference of geographic societies, explorers, and leaders he hosted in 1876. Leopold used the Association and the defunct "Committee for Studies of the Upper Congo" (French: Comité d'études du Haut-Congo) as a way to claim most of the Congo Basin. Leopold created the International Association of the Congo (French: Association internationale du Congo) as a new organization. The entity was officially recognized by the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 and various governments. On May 29, 1885, the king named his new colony the Congo Free State (French: État indépendant du Congo)

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