1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Belgian king exploits Congo resources, insulin available, sputniks link up and more

Today in History - April 15
• Katanga Company formed to exploit Congo's resources
• Insulin made available to diabetics
• Soviet sputniks link up while in orbit

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Punch cartoon on King Leopold II of Belgium exploiting the Congo (image)

Cartoon entitled "In The Rubber Coils. Scene - The Congo 'Free' State", depicting King Leopold II of Belgium as a snake entangling a Congolese rubber collector.

Published in Punch magazine on 28 November 1906. Artist: Linley Sambourne.

King Leopold set up a number of companies, such as the Compagnie du Katanga (Katanga Company), and purportedly philanthropic organisations, which served to hide his untramelled exploitation of the Congo's resources (copper, rubber, etc). This resulted in huge riches for Leopold and untold numbers of atrocities and millions of deaths for the Congolese.

On this date:

1638--English settlers arrive at what is now New Haven, Connecticut, in U.S.A.

1689--France's King Louis XIV declares war on Spain.

1715--Prussia, Saxony, Poland, Hanover and Denmark form alliance against Sweden, and war is declared.

1736--Baron Theodore of Neuhof is elected King of Corsica.

1856--Britain, France and Austria guarantee integrity and independence of Turkey.

1888--Peasants start uprising in Romania.

1891--Katanga Company is formed under Leopold of Belgium's direction to exploit copper deposits.

1923--Insulin, discovered by Canadian Dr.Frederick Banting, is made available for general use by diabetics.

1927--Chiang Kai-Shek organises government at Nanking in China.

1968--Two unmanned Soviet sputniks link up while in orbit around Earth.

1971--Ceylon government charges that North Korea diplomats are aiding leftist guerrillas,
and orders them out of country.

1974--Military coup in West African country of Niger iverthrows government of President Hamani Diori.

1977--Protest marches in Pakistan become violent and at least eight people are reported killed.

1982--Five militant Moslem Fundamentalists are executed in Egypt as assassins of President Anwar Sadat.

1986--UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar deplores US Bombing attack on Libyan targets.

1987--Philippines - flag vessel sailing to Kuwait with load of Australian sheep is attacked and set ablaze by Iranian gunboat in central sector of gulf.

- Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician (1707-1783)
- John Lothrop Motley, US historian (1814-1877)
- Henry James, US author (1843-1916)

"A friend is, one might say, a second self."
-- Cicero, Roman statesman (106 BC-43 BC)

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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