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Expansion of a colonial empire

In the beginning, Leopold II had to use much power of persuasion to make investors and businessmen join him in his project. Right from the start of his African endeavour, the sovereign expected large profits to be made. Others saw the spectre of the previously failed colonisation attempts in Rio Nuñez and Santo-Tomas rise again. Belgium was an industrial market leader and businesses could not be warmed towards another Leopoldian adventure. When the rubber harvest started to yield huge profits after ten years and the expeditions increasingly highlighted the richness and resources of Congo Free State, suspicions faded. In order to back up the diminishing rubber and ivory trade and to ensure economic exploitation, the sovereign founded three businesses in 1906. They would ring in the era of the colonial industrial exploitation: Forminière, Union Minière du Haut Katanga and B.C.K. The flagship of the Belgian high finance, the Société générale de Belgique, also joined the colonial adventure in the same year.