King Leopold II's rule over the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908 is a stark example of the horrors of colonialism. Under Leopold's brutal regime, millions of Congolese people were subjected to forced labor, torture, and mutilation, resulting in a genocide that claimed the lives of an estimated 10 million people. Leopold's rapacious exploitation of the Congo's natural resources, primarily rubber, enriched him personally while devastating the country and its people. His reign of terror finally ended in 1908 when Belgium annexed the Congo Free State, though the legacy of Leopold's brutal rule continues to haunt the country to this day.
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