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Leopold II (1835–1909) was the second King of the Belgians, 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 throne on 17 December 1865, reigning for exactly 44 years until his death. This was the longest reign of any Belgian monarch.
Leopold extracted a fortune from the Congo, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s. Under his regime millions of Congolese people died; modern estimates range from 1 million to 15 million, with a consensus growing around 10 million. Reports of deaths and abuse led to a major international scandal in the early 20th century, and Leopold was ultimately forced by the Belgian government to relinquish control of the colony to the civil administration in 1908.
Engraver: Alphonse Michaux (1860–1928). He was a Belgian coin engraver and medallist. Michaux was appointed chief engraver of the Brussels Mint (La Monnaie de Bruxelles) in 1895. As a coin designer, he is best known for engraving dies for a series of Belgian coins with a distinctive hole in the centre. Michaux also engraved coins for Luxembourg, Persia, Romania, and Colombia. These coins are signed either "A. Michaux" or "A.M." on the obverse.
Depicts the crowned royal monogram, surrounded by the inscription "Kingdom of Belgium" in French. Date below.
ROYAUME DE BELGIQUE ★
On the left side, an olive branch accompanies the facial value on the right side.