06/17/2017 by Douwe Blaauwe
Leopold II reigned as the second King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. He became known for the founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State as a private venture.
Born in Brussels as the second (but eldest surviving) son of Leopold I and Louise of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the Belgian throne in 1865 and reigned for 44 years until his death – the longest reign of any Belgian monarch. He died without surviving male issue; the current Belgian king descends from his nephew and successor, Albert I.