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  • Writer's pictureBeth Duff-Brown

History's Deadliest King

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

As I work on my book about one village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I like to weave in a bit of politics and history about the Central African nation. I came across this fantastic, short video about the atrocities of Belgian King Leopold II's rule over the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908.) The summary lays out it:


In 1904, Chief Lontulu laid 110 twigs in front of a foreign commission. Every twig represented a person in his village who died because of King Leopold’s brutal regime in the Congo. His testimony joined hundreds of others to help bring an end to one of the greatest atrocities in human history.


The video was part of a TEDEd history lesson by African and Afro-American history professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Directed by Héloïse Dorsan Rachet.



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