Force Publique - Establishment


The FP was initially conceived in 1885 when King Leopold II of the Belgians, who held the Congo Free State as his private property, ordered his Secretary of the Interior to create military and police forces for the State. Soon afterwards, in early 1886, Captain Léon Roger (of the Belgian Army's Carabiniers) was sent to the Congo with orders to establish the force. A few months later, on August 17, he was promoted to "Commandant of the Force Publique". A number of other Belgian officers and non-commissioned officers were also dispatched to the territory as the nucleus of the officer corps. The officers of the Force Publique were entirely whites. They comprised a mixture of Belgian regular soldiers and mercenaries from other countries who were drawn by the prospect of wealth or simply attracted to the adventure of service in Africa.

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