- 1909- Prince Albert (later King Albert I), King Leopold's nephew and heir, tours the Congo, shortly after its annexation by Belgium (previously, it had been under Leopold's personal control.) He is intensely concerned with reform.
- 1925- Prince Leopold, King Albert's son and heir, follows in his father's footsteps by undertaking an extensive journey through the Congo, as part of his preparation for rulership. Like Albert, he returns with sharp criticisms of the colonial régime and suggestions for improvement.
- 1928- King Albert returns to the Congo, with Queen Elisabeth. This is the first time a reigning Belgian Sovereign has visited the colony.
- 1932- King Albert's third visit to the Congo.
- 1933- Prince Leopold's second Congo trip. He is accompanied by his wife, Princess Astrid, who enters wholeheartedly into his hopes and plans for reform.
- 1955- King Baudouin I makes his first state visit to the Congo. The young monarch takes a keen interest in colonial affairs, and, previously shy and reserved, appears to "blossom" on the tour. He is greeted by cheering crowds.
- 1959- King Baudouin's second visit. As Congolese demands for independence mount, the atmosphere is much more tense, even explosive.
- 1960- Belgium agrees to grant the Congo independence. King Baudouin attends the handover of power in the capital, Kinshasa/Léopoldville.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Royal Visits to the Congo: A Timeline
I am gathering information for a series of posts on the royal visits to the Belgian Congo (1908-1960). Meanwhile, here is a timeline of these occasions. Ironically, King Leopold II, who cunningly acquired the colony and shocked world opinion by exploiting it ruthlessly, never set foot in his distant possession.