HOME

TheInfoList



Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...
controlled 3 colonies and 3 concessions during its history, the
Belgian Congo The Belgian Congo (french: link=no, Congo belge, ; nl, Belgisch-Congo) was a Belgian colony in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally ide ...
(modern DRC) from 1908 to 1960, and
Ruanda-Urundi Ruanda-Urundi () was a territory in the African Great Lakes region, once part of German East Africa, which was ruled by Belgium between 1922 and 1962. Occupied by the Belgians during the East African Campaign (World War I), East African Campaign o ...
(Rwanda and Burundi) from 1922 to 1962. It also had a small concession in China and was a co-administrator of the
Tangier International Zone The Tangier International Zone ( ''Minṭaqat Ṭanja ad-Dawliyya'', , es, Zona Internacional de Tánger) was a international zone centered on the city of Tangier Tangier, ( ar, طنجة, ṭanja; ber, ⵟⴰⵏⵊⴰ, ṭanja) is a city in ...
in
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A con ...

Morocco
. Roughly 98% of Belgium's overseas territory was just one colony (about 76 times larger than Belgium itself) — known as the
Belgian Congo The Belgian Congo (french: link=no, Congo belge, ; nl, Belgisch-Congo) was a Belgian colony in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally ide ...
. This had originated as the personal property of the country's king,
Leopold II
Leopold II
, rather than being gained through the political or military action of the Belgian state. Sovereignty was transferred to Belgium in 1908.


Background in the early 19th century

Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...
, a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, received its independence in 1830 after a revolution against the Dutch government of the
United Kingdom of the Netherlands The United Kingdom of the Netherlands ( nl, Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; french: Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas) is the unofficial name given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands ) when they act as Kingdom Ministers, as for example with "Our ...

United Kingdom of the Netherlands
. By the time Belgian independence was universally recognized in 1839, most European powers already had
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...
and
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy over most internal affairs while still recognizing the suzerainty of a more powerful sovereign ...
s outside Europe and had begun to form
spheres of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military, or political exclusivity. While there may be a formal al ...

spheres of influence
. During the 1840s and 50s,
King Leopold I
King Leopold I
tentatively supported several proposals to acquire territories overseas. In 1843, he signed a contract with Ladd & Co. to colonize the
Kingdom of Hawaii The Hawaiian Kingdom, or Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, originated in 1795, when the warrior chief Kamehameha I, Kamehameha the Great, of the independent island of Hawaii (island), Hawaiʻi, conquered the independent islands of Oahu, Oʻahu, Maui, Moloka ...
, but the deal fell apart when Ladd & Co. ran into financial difficulties. Belgian traders also extended their influence in
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, ...

West Africa
but this too fell apart following the
Rio Nuñez Incident Rio or Río is the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Maltese word for "river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and b ...
of 1849 and growing Anglo-French rivalry in the region. By the time Belgium's second king,
Leopold II
Leopold II
, was crowned, Belgian enthusiasm for
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose thei ...
had abated. Successive governments viewed colonial expansion as economically and politically risky and fundamentally unrewarding, and believed that informal empire, continuing Belgium's booming industrial trade in South America and Russia, was much more promising. As a result, Leopold pursued his colonial ambitions without the support of the
Belgian government The Federal Government of Belgium ( nl, Federale regering, french: Gouvernement fédéral, german: Föderalregierung) exercises executive power ''Executive Power'' is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American a ...
.


Leopold I's colonial ambitions

The archives of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade show the following files opened at Leopold's request in terms of possible colonial interest: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Mexico-State of Puebla, Sandwich Islands, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, San Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Rio Nunez, Marie – West coast of Africa, Bolivia, Colombia, Guiana, Argentina – La Plata, Argentina – Villaguay, Patagonia, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kansas, Isle of Pines, Cozumel, St. Bartholomew Island, Haiti, Tortugas, Faeroe Islands, Portugal, Isle of Nordstrand, Cyprus, Surinam, India, Java, Philippines, Abyssinia, Barbary Coast, Guinea Coast, Madagascar, Republic of South Africa, Nicobar, Singapore, New Zealand, New Guinea – Papua, Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, Marianas Island, New Hebrides, Samoa.


The Congo


Congo Free State (1885–1908)

Colonization of the Congo Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their or their ancestors' former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such links ...
began in the late 19th century.
King Leopold II * german: Leopold Ludwig Philipp Maria Viktor , house = Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , father = Leopold I of Belgium french: Léopold Georges Christian Frédéric nl, Leopold Joris Christiaan Frederik en, Leopold George Christi ...

King Leopold II
of Belgium, frustrated by his nation's lack of international power and prestige, tried to persuade the Belgian government to support colonial expansion around the then-largely unexplored
Congo Basin The Congo Basin (french: Bassin du Congo) is the sedimentary basin Sedimentary basins are regions of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface ...
. Their refusal led Leopold to create a state under his own personal rule. With support from a number of Western countries who saw Leopold as a useful
buffer Buffer may refer to: Science * Buffer gas, an inert or nonflammable gas * Buffer solution, a solution used to prevent changes in pH * Buffering agent, the weak acid or base in a buffer solution * Lysis buffer, in cell biology * Metal ion buffer * M ...
between rival colonial powers, Leopold achieved international recognition for the
Congo Free State ''(Work and Progress) , national_anthem = Vers l'avenir , capital = Vivi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vivi Boma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Boma , leader1 = Leopold II of Belgium , year_leader1=1885–1908 , title_leader = Soverei ...
in 1885. The Free State government exploited the Congo for its natural resources, first
ivory Ivory is a hard, white material from the tusks (traditionally elephants') and teeth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcification, calcified structure found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to Mastication, break down f ...
and later rubber which was becoming a valuable commodity. With the support of the Free State's military, the ''
Force Publique The ''Force Publique'' (, "Public Force"; nl, Openbare Weermacht) was a gendarmerie Wrong info! --> A vedette of the French Maritime Gendarmerie, ''Gendarmerie Maritime'' in La Rochelle harbour A gendarmerie () is a military force ...
'', the territory was divided into private concessions. The
Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company '' cartoon depicting Leopold II as a rubber vine entangling a Congolese rubber collector The Abir Congo Company (founded as the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company and later known as the Compagnie du Congo Belge) was a company that Exploitation o ...
(ABIR), among others, used force and brutality to extract profit from the territory. Their regime in the Congo used forced labour, and murder and mutilation on indigenous Congolese who did not fulfill quotas for rubber collections. Millions of Congolese died during this time. Many deaths can be attributed to new diseases introduced by contact with European colonists, including
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, '' Variola major'' and '' Variola minor''. The agent of variola virus (VARV) belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in Oct ...

smallpox
which killed nearly half the population in the areas surrounding the lower
Congo River The Congo River ( kg, Nzâdi Kôngo, french: Congo fleuve, pt, Rio Congo), formerly also known as the Zaire River, is the second longest river in Africa, shorter only than the Nile, as well as the second largest river in the world by discharge ...
. A sharp reduction of the population of the Congo through
excess death Mortality displacement is a temporary increase in the mortality rate (number of deaths) in a given population, also known as excess mortality, excess death, or an excess mortality rate. It is usually attributable to environmental phenomena such as ...
s occurred in the Free State period but estimates of the deaths toll vary considerably. Although the figures are estimates, it is believed that as many as ten million Congolese died during the period,Hochschild. roughly a fifth of the population. As the first census did not take place until 1924, it is difficult to quantify the population loss of the period and these figures have been disputed by some who, like William Rubinstein, claim that the figures cited by
Adam Hochschild Adam Hochschild (; born October 5, 1942) is an American author, journalist, historian and lecturer. His best-known works include ''King Leopold's Ghost'' (1998), ''To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918'' (2011), ''Bury t ...
are speculative estimates based on little evidence. Although the Congo Free State was not a Belgian colony, Belgium was its chief beneficiary in terms of trade and the employment of its citizens. Leopold II personally accumulated considerable wealth from exports of rubber and ivory acquired at gunpoint. Much of this was spent on public buildings in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brussel ...
,
Ostend Ostend ( nl, Oostende, ; french: link=no, Ostende ; german: link=no, Ostende ; vls, Ostende) is a coastal city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status ...
and
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
.


Belgian Congo (1908–60)

Leopold achieved international recognition for the Congo Free State in 1885. By the turn of the century, however, the violence used by Free State officials against indigenous Congolese and the ruthless system of economic extraction led to intense diplomatic pressure on Belgium to take official control of the country, which it did in 1908, creating the
Belgian Congo The Belgian Congo (french: link=no, Congo belge, ; nl, Belgisch-Congo) was a Belgian colony in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally ide ...
. Belgian rule in the Congo was based on the "colonial trinity" (''trinité coloniale'') of
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...

state
,
missionary A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, v ...
and
private company A privately held company, private company, or close corporation is a corporation not owned by the government, non-governmental organizations and by a relatively small number of shareholders or company members, which does not offer or trade its com ...
interests. The privileging of Belgian commercial interests meant that large amounts of capital flowed into the Congo and that individual regions became specialised. On many occasions, the interests of the government and private enterprise became closely tied, and the state helped companies break strikes and remove other barriers raised by the indigenous population. The country was split into nesting, hierarchically organised administrative subdivisions, and run uniformly according to a set "native policy" (''politique indigène''). This was in contrast to the British and the French, who generally favoured the system of
indirect rule Indirect rule was a system of governance used by the British and others to control parts of their colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located ove ...
whereby traditional leaders were retained in positions of authority under colonial oversight. During
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "The war to end war, the war ...

World War I
, Congolese troops participated in offensives against German forces in the area of modern-day
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in ...

Rwanda
and
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes reg ...
which were placed under Belgian occupation. The Congo had a high degree of
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into racial A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer t ...
. The large numbers of white immigrants who moved to the Congo after the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
came from across the social spectrum, but were always treated as superior to blacks. Congolese troops participated in World War II and were instrumental in forcing the Italians out of their East African colonies during the East African Campaign. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Congo had extensive
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000.">South_Karelia.html" ;"title="Lappeenranta, South Karelia">Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finla ...
, and the colonial administration began various
development Development or developing may refer to: Arts *Development hell, when a project is stuck in development *Filmmaking#Development, Filmmaking, development phase, including finance and budgeting *Development (music), the process thematic material i ...
programmes aimed at making the territory into a "model colony". One of the results was the development of a new middle class of Europeanised African "'' évolués''" in the cities. By the 1950s the Congo had a
wage labour Wage labour (also wage labor in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Current ...

wage labour
force twice as large as that in any other African colony. In 1960, as the result of a widespread and increasingly radical
pro-independence movement The independence movement in Puerto Rico refers to initiatives by inhabitants throughout the history of Puerto Rico to obtain full political independence for the island, first from the Spanish Empire, from 1493 to 1898 and, since 1898, from the Uni ...
, the Congo achieved independence, becoming the Republic of Congo-Léopoldville under
Patrice Lumumba Patrice Émery Lumumba (; alternatively styled Patrice Hemery Lumumba; 2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Cong ...

Patrice Lumumba
and
Joseph Kasa-Vubu Joseph Kasa-Vubu, alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, (''c.'' 1915 – 24 March 1969) was a Congolese politician who served as the first President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) ( french: Répub ...
. Poor relations between factions within the Congo, the continued involvement of Belgium in Congolese affairs, and intervention by major parties of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its sta ...
led to a five-year-long period of war and political instability, known as the Congo Crisis, from 1960 to 1965. This ended with the seizure of power by Joseph-Désiré Mobutu.


Ruanda-Urundi

Ruanda-Urundi was a part of
German East Africa German East Africa (german: Deutsch-Ostafrika) (GEA) was a German colonial empire, German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, the Tanzania mainland, and the Kionga Triangle, a small region later ...

German East Africa
under Belgian
military occupation Military or belligerent occupation, often simply occupation, is provisional control by a ruling power over a territory, without a claim of formal sovereignty.Eyāl Benveniśtî. The international law of occupation. Princeton University Press, ...
from 1916 to 1924 in the aftermath of
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "The war to end war, the war ...

World War I
, when a military expedition had removed the Germans from the colony. It became a League of Nations Class B mandate allotted to Belgium, from 1924 to 1945. It was designated as a
United Nations trust territory United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandates and came into being when the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946. All of the trust territories were administered through the United Nations T ...
, still under Belgian administration, until 1962, when it developed into the independent states of
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in ...

Rwanda
and
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes reg ...
. After Belgium began administering the colony, it generally maintained the policies established by the Germans, including indirect rule via local
Tutsi The Tutsi (; ), or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group of the African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake ...
rulers, and a policy of ethnic identity cards (later retained in the Republic of Rwanda). Revolts and violence against Tutsi, known as the
Rwandan Revolution The Rwandan Revolution, also known as the Social Revolution or Wind of Destruction ( rw, muyaga), was a period of ethnic violence in Rwanda from 1959 to 1961 between the Hutu The Hutu (), also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu peoples, Ban ...
, occurred in the events leading to
independence upright=1.0, Pedro I of Brazil, Pedro surrounded by a crowd in São Paulo after breaking the news of Independence of Brazil, Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822. Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state ...
.


Minor possessions


Santo Tomás, Guatemala (1843–54)

In 1842, a ship sent by King
Leopold I of Belgium french: Léopold Georges Christian Frédéric nl, Leopold Joris Christiaan Frederik en, Leopold George Christian Frederick , image = NICAISE Leopold ANV.jpg , caption = Portrait by Nicaise De Keyser, 1856 , reign = 21 ...

Leopold I of Belgium
arrived in Guatemala; the Belgians observed the natural riches of the department of Izabal and decided to settle in Santo Tomas de Castilla and build
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An eco ...

infrastructure
in the region.
Rafael Carrera José Rafael Carrera Turcios (24 October 1814 – 14 April 1865) was the president of Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America bordered by Me ...
gave them the region in exchange for sixteen thousand pesos every year from the government of Guatemala. On 4 May 1843, the
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to th ...

Guatemala
n parliament issued a decree giving the district of Santo Tomás "in perpetuity" to the , a private Belgian company under the protection of King
Leopold I of Belgium french: Léopold Georges Christian Frédéric nl, Leopold Joris Christiaan Frederik en, Leopold George Christian Frederick , image = NICAISE Leopold ANV.jpg , caption = Portrait by Nicaise De Keyser, 1856 , reign = 21 ...

Leopold I of Belgium
. It replaced the failed British Eastern Coast of Central America Commercial and Agricultural Company."New Physical, Political, Industrial and Commercial Map of Central America and the Antilles"
, Library of Congress, World Digital Library, accessed 27 May 2013
Belgian colonizing efforts in Guatemala ceased in 1854, due to lack of financing and high
mortality Mortality is the state of being mortal, or susceptible to death (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain a living organism. Brain death is some ...
due to
yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, Anorexia (symptom), loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. Symptoms typically improve within ...
and
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for ...

malaria
,
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest grou ...
diseases of the tropical climate."Santo Tomas de Castilla
, ''Britannica Encyclopedia


Status

While the ''Compagnie belge de colonisation'' was granted the land in perpetuity, the concession did not become a colony in the political sense. Article 4 of the May 1842 ''Acte de concession'' clearly stated that the cession of the territory to the Belgian company did not involve, implicitly or explicitly, a cession of sovereignty over the territory, which would forever remain under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Guatemala. Article 5 stated that upon their arrival on the territory, the settlers would become Guatemalan natives (''indigènes de Guatemala'') fully subject to the existing constitution and laws of the country, relinquishing their former Belgian or other national birthright, as well as any claim to any privileges or immunity as foreigners. Justice was to be administered by judges named by the government (art. 40). No foreign troops were to be allowed on the concession and Guatemalan troops were to garrison two forts that were to be built near the projected new town. (art. 18–22)


Tianjin Concession (1900–31)

The city of
Tianjin Tianjin (; ; Mandarin: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality and a coastal metropolis in North China, Northern China on the shore of the Bohai Sea. It is ...

Tianjin
(Tientsin), a
treaty port Treaty ports (; ja, 条約港) were the port cities in China and Japan that were opened to foreign trade mainly by the unequal treaties forced upon them by Western powers, as well as cities in Korea opened up in similar fashion by the Japanese ...
in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
(1860–1945) included nine foreign-controlled concessions (). In the years following the
Boxer Rebellion The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement, was an armed and violent xenophobic, Persecution of Christians#China, anti-Christian, and anti-imperialist insurrection in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dyna ...

Boxer Rebellion
, the diplomat Maurice Joostens negotiated a
concession Concession may refer to: * Concession (contract) (sometimes called a concession agreement), a contractual right to carry on a certain kind of business or activity in an area, such as to explore or develop its natural resources or to operate a "conc ...
for Belgium. The Belgian concession was proclaimed on 7 November 1900 and spanned some . Although Belgian companies invested in Tianjin, especially in the city's
tram A tram (also known as a streetcar or trolley in North America) is a train that runs on tramway track on public urban streets; some include segments of segregated Right-of-way (transportation), right-of-way. The lines or networks operated by ...

tram
system, the Belgian concession remained inactive. An agreement was reached between the Belgian and Chinese governments in August 1929 to return the concession to China. The agreement was approved by the Belgian parliament on 13 July 1931. In the late 19th century, Belgian engineers were employed on construction of the Beijing–Hankou Railway, leading the Belgian government to unsuccessfully claim a concession in
Hankou Hankou, alternately romanized as Hankow (), was one of the three towns (the other two were Wuchang and Hanyang) merged to become modern-day Wuhan Wuhan (, ) is the capital of Hubei Province in the People's Republic of China China, o ...

Hankou
(Hankow). The Belgian claim was never formally recognised and the proposal was dropped in 1908.


Isola Comacina (1919)

In 1919, the island of Comacina was bequeathed to King
Albert I of Belgium Albert I (8 April 1875 – 17 February 1934) reigned as King of the Belgians The Monarchy of Belgium is a Constitutional monarchy, constitutional, Inheritance, hereditary, and popular monarchy of Belgium whose incumbent is titled the ''Ki ...
for a year, and became an enclave under the sovereignty of Belgium. After a year, it was returned to the Italian State in 1920. The Consul of Belgium and the president of the
Brera Academy The Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera ("academy of fine arts of Brera"), also known as the or Brera Academy, is a state-run tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used, but obsolete term for the Period (geology), geologic period from 66 million t ...
established a charitable foundation with the goal of building a village for artists and a hotel.


See also

*
History of Belgium The history of Belgium extends before the founding of the modern state of that name in 1830, and is intertwined with those of its neighbors: History of the Netherlands, the Netherlands, History of Germany, Germany, History of France, France and Hi ...
*
Atrocities in the Congo Free State In the period from 1885 to 1908, many well-documented atrocities were perpetrated in the Congo Free State ''(Work and Progress) , national_anthem = Vers l'avenir , capital = Vivi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vivi Boma, Democratic Republ ...
* Foreign relations of Belgium *
Rio Nuñez incident Rio or Río is the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Maltese word for "river". When spoken on its own, the word often means Rio de Janeiro, a major city in Brazil. Rio or Río may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional character ...
* Société Belge d'Études Coloniales (est. 1894) *
Colonial University of Belgium The Colonial University of Belgium was a Belgian institute of higher education, located in Antwerp. Founded in 1920 and discontinued in 1961, the institute prepared students for a life in the Belgian Congo, the Belgian colony. History By 1908, ...
(est. 1920 in Antwerp) * Institut Royal Colonial Belge (est. 1928) * Belgium–Mexico relations


Notes and references


Footnotes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * Poddar, Prem, and Lars Jensen, eds., ''A historical companion to postcolonial literatures: Continental Europe and Its Empires'' (Edinburgh UP, 2008), "Belgium and its colonies" pp 6–57
excerpt
* *


External links


Belgian Concession
at "Tianjin under Nine Flags" Project (
University of Bristol , mottoeng = earningpromotes one's innate power (from Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (; 8 December 65 – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace (), was the leading Roman Empire, Roman Lyric poetry, lyric poet du ...

University of Bristol
) {{Colonialism 1885 establishments in Belgium 1962 disestablishments in Belgium 1885 establishments in Africa 1962 disestablishments in Africa States and territories established in 1885 States and territories disestablished in 1962 Former Belgian colonies Germanic empires 20th century in Belgium History of European colonialism Overseas empires