Friday, July 30, 2010

Whisk Broom Beard of Belgian King, Leopold II (1835-1909)

Portrait of Belgian King, Leopold II (1835-1909).
Location: Belgium
Date taken: 1900
Leopold II (French: Léopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor, Dutch: Leopold Lodewijk Filips Maria Victor) (9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909) was the second king of the Belgians. Born in Brussels the second (but eldest surviving) son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and remained king until his death. He was the brother of Carlota, empress of Mexico, and first cousin to Victoria, queen of Britain.

Leopold is chiefly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken by the King. He used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Powers at Berlin Conference agreed to set up the Free State in 1885, on condition that the inhabitants were to be brought into the modern world and that all nations be allowed to trade freely. From the beginning, however, Leopold essentially ignored these conditions and ran the Congo brutally, by proxy through a mercenary force, for his own personal gain. He extracted a personal fortune from the Congo, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s by forcing the native population to collect sap from rubber plants. His harsh regime was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people. The Congo became one of the most infamous international scandals of the early 20th century, and Leopold was ultimately forced to relinquish control of it to the government of Belgium.
- Wikipedia

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday George Bernard Shaw

from Wikipedia:
George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright.

Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings deal sternly with prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy to make their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege.

He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class, and most of his writings censure that abuse. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society.

He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Bernard Shaw (Applause Books)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Herzog Friedrich von Anhalt

Herzog Friedrich von Anhalt had a fantastic mustache and a nice helmet too.

from Wikipedia: Frederick II (19 August 1856 - 22 April 1918) was a Duke of Anhalt.

He was born in Dessau the second son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Anhalt-Dessau and his wife Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg.[1] In 1863 his grandfather Leopold IV became Duke of the united Duchy of Anhalt following the death of the last Duke of Anhalt-Bernburg. His father succeeded as Duke of Anhalt on 22 May 1871. Frederick became heir apparent and Hereditary Prince following the death of his brother Leopold on 2 February 1886. Frederick was married on 2 July 1889 at Karlsruhe to Princess Marie of Baden, elder sister of Prince Maximilian of Baden, 8th Chancellor of Germany.[2]

On 24 January 1904 he succeeded his father as Duke of Anhalt.[3] During his reign he was known for his love of music and maintained a Court Theatre which became celebrated throughout Europe.[4] He died at Ballenstedt Castle and was succeeded by his brother Eduard.