Historical context

This territory located in central Africa was first populated by the Negrito Pygmies, then gradually pushed back into the mountains first by the Bantu tribes, then by the Nilotics, an indigenous people native to the Nile Valley. It was from the 19th century onwards that the region was truly explored by the English journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley. The adventurer recounts daily his numerous African adventures in articles which are read with interest by King Leopold II of Belgium. The king of the Belgians has the secret ambition to maintain the prestige of his small country wedged between the three colonial monsters that are France, England and to a lesser extent, Germany ...

His appetite for Africa then becomes growing. Leopold II begins by founding a foundation intended to secretly finance the exploration of the Congo, then instructs Henry Stanley to negotiate the purchase of a large number of territories from the local tribes, who are made to sign documents that they cannot decipher! Following the Berlin conference of 1885, the Congo was definitively attributed to Leopold II, who administered and operated it as his private property for 23 years until his annexation to Belgium in 1907.

Following the First World War, the German Empire was completely dismantled and shared between the victors. In 1923, the League of Nations entrusted Belgium with the management of the former German territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Then during the Second World War, Belgian Congolese troops fight alongside the Allies in Ethiopia. But after 52 years of colonial occupation managed from Brussels and on the spot by the police, the Belgian African empire is crumbling. In 1959, bloody independence riots broke out. This insurrection resulted in the independence of the Belgian Congo which became June 30, 1960 ... the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).



The 41 Belgian Congo banknotes

Now discover all these historic banknotes. these are classified chronologically and divided into the following categories:

1896: Congo Free State
1912-1937: Bank of the Belgian Congo
1940-1952: Bank of the Belgian Congo
1952-1960: Central Bank of Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Burundi



Our sources