BELGIAN CONGO 2 francs 1943


BELGIAN CONGO, 2 francs, 1943, Obverse: elephant, hexagonal, brass, KM25, VF

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There was a powerful large Kongo Kingdom in the 16th century. The Portuguese established diplomatic relations and sent Catholic missionaries, who converted the Royal family, thereby making Kongo a Catholic nation. They proceeded to make war in Kongo for the next four hundred years, substantially destroying it. In the 19th century King Leopold of Belgium took it over and administered it as a private estate (Congo Free State). Rubber was the main product. Brutality was the normal governing method. It was turned into a colony in 1908. Independence came in 1960. The first president was Patrice Lumumba. Katanga province seceded, and the war to reclaim it alienated the UN, attracted the USSR, and split the army, a faction of which deposed Lumumba and handed him to the Katangans, who executed him. The faction leader, Mobutu, ruled as a dictator until 1997. Since then there has been endemic regional wars.

It has been habitual, on the collecting side of numismatics, for “Africa” to exclude the Mediterranean coastal states, which are typically lumped in with the other Arab states in the category “Middle East.” Generally speaking, there was a colonial period and an independent period.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.