Another name who is not normally commonly associated with the most evil dictators in history, but King Leopold II of Belgium killed somewhere between 8 million and 15 million between 1885 and 1908 - the majority of who were from the "Congo Free State", a colony he had created himself. A vehement colonialist, Leopold II believed Belgium required a vast empire to compete with the likes of Great Britain, France and Portugal - and he was prepared to acquire it by any means necessary. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 - when Africa was essentially portioned off between the European colonial powers - Belgium was allowed to keep Congo, an area 14 times the size of Belgium which Leopold's troops had merely marched into and claimed for their own. With a brutalist militia employed to keep the native Congolese population under control, forced-labour camps were established in which workers were abused and made to produce rubber under the most-horrendous conditions. Widespread killing sprees were common, as were mutilations when production quotas were not met - but such was the arbitrary nature of the killing sprees that it is almost impossible to distinguish the exact numbers of Congolese who were exterminated. It is believed, however, to be somewhere north of 8 million - and possibly close to double that - once all the deaths at the forced-labour camps are counted.
NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.