Author Topic: Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13  (Read 2248 times)

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Offline bart

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Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13
« on: January 24, 2010, 10:27:58 PM »
This coin is one of a series of 3 (5,10 and 20 centimes), struck in 1909 in the name of Leopold II. Older issues were struck in the name of Leopold II as sovereign of the independent Free State Congo.
It is a 1-year type, as Leopold II died on December 17 of that year. Later coins were issued in the name of his nephew and successor Albert I.

It is a symbol of one of the darkest sides of our colonial history. Leopold II has founded the Congo Free State as his own property. He ruled the country brutally with the sole purpose to increase his own personal fortune. As he was put under severe international pressure, he had to cede the country to Belgium. The Belgian Parliament annexed unwillingly Congo on October 18, 1908 and established the country as a colony. The colony became independent as the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960.

Bart
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 06:16:01 PM by Afrasi »

RHM22

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Re: Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 04:01:55 AM »
Thanks for posting that very interesting piece! I don't imagine Belgium having dark moments in the 20th century (well, aside from the obvious), but it seems that no one is exempt from human greed. Great stuff!

Offline Bimat

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Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 02:48:17 PM »
That's a very nice coin :) I have always found Belgian Congo coins elusive.I like the later issues showing elephants.Sadly,I don't have any :'(

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 11:31:03 PM »
The star is the emblem of the Association Internationale Africaine, the legal instrument that Leopold used to rule the "Congo Free State". I am not sure if the gross mistreatment of the population was his conscious decision, but he did set up a system that got people to behave in an abhorrent way, he was responsible and he never took an interest in where his profits were coming from: he never set foot in the Congo Free State.

In all fairness, Leopold's system of "exploitation" was heavily inspired by the Dutch "cultuurstelsel", applied in what is now Indonesia. This was introduced in 1830. In essence, it set production targets, to be met by private farmers on their own land for the sake of the government. The system led to protests in the Netherlands from around 1848, as it became known that it led to to widespread abuse, malnutrition and poverty of the local population. In 1860, Eduard Douwes Dekker published "Max Havelaar", an event that is the subject of a commemorative coin this year. In 1870, the system was abolished. All of this does not absolve Leopold. On the contrary. He got hold of the Congo free state in 1876, when the cultuurstelsel had been exposed and abolished.

I mention this also, because there is a link with present day bonuses in the financial sector. These are also basically production (of value) targets that have led to the money being abused by exposing it to undue risk in order to reach the production targets.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Harald

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Re: Belgian Congo 10 centimes 1909 KM#13
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 02:09:26 PM »
I am not sure if the gross mistreatment of the population was his conscious decision, but he did set up a system that got people to behave in an abhorrent way, he was responsible and he never took an interest in where his profits were coming from: he never set foot in the Congo Free State.

Historians tell us that he did know (and probably did not care) and Leopold has spent substantial efforts for covering up and presenting himself as a philanthropist.
he has never said anything that comes close to regret. "King Leopold's Ghost" by Adam Rothschild gives a good insight into the matter.

cheers
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Harald
http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)