Map with borders of the Belgian Congo. From General Atlas of the Congo.
19th c Belgian Maps & Diagrams
Tervuren. Belgium. Musée Royal d'Afrique Centrale.
Stanley lay the foundations for the Congo Free State from 1879-1884. In 1878 King Leopold II of Belgium convened a group in Bruxelles known as the 'Comté d'Etudes de Haut Congo' for economic direction of the area. In 1882 it became a political association: 'Association International du Congo.' At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 the representatives of 14 European Countries and the United States recognized Leopold as sovereign of the area he and Stanley laid claim to which they called the Congo Free State. In 1904 an International Inquiry Commission looked into the abuses in the Congo Free State and forced Leopold to turn the area over to Belgium.