Biography of King of Bélgica Alberto Leopoldo I (1875-1934)

King of Belgium (1909-34), nephew of King Leopold II and son of Felipe, count of Flanders, and of the Princess María de Hohenzollern. He/She was born in the city of Brussels, on 8 April of the year 1875, and died on 17 February of the year 1934, while practicing mountaineering, at monte Marche-les-Dames, near the town of Namur, in Belgium.

As a child, he/she received a careful education and entered the prestigious École Militaire in Brussels. In 1900 he/she married with the Princess Isabel de Baviera, with whom he/she had two children: Leopoldo Felipe Carlos, future King Leopoldo III, and Teodoro Enrique Carlos. In the same year made a long journey through the Congo Belgium which examined the hardships and needs demanded by the territory, so, upon his return, recommended the Government the need to build a rail network in the colony, as well as demanding a radical change in the treatment of its indigenous inhabitants, treated as slaves.

In the year 1913, as King of Belgium, Alberto I made a diplomatic visit to Berlin, where he/she was informed by the German Emperor himself, Guillermo II, of the intentions of the German army to go to war against France and the plan of invasion of that country, which included the own Belgium. Back to his country, Alberto I was devoted to reinforce its army in anticipation of the impending war: it substantially increased the cash of troops and established the compulsory military service. At the same time, Alberto I informed the French Government of Germany plans. Finally, after the outbreak of World War I, on July 31, 1914, Alberto I sent a letter to the German Emperor informing him of Belgium's neutrality in the conflict. On 2 August of the same year, Guillermo II launched an ultimatum to Belgium in which Alberto I asked free passage to German troops in Belgian territory, all in order to carry out the plan devised by the German general Van Moltke which was to carry out an occupation lightning of Belgium and attack by the North to Francethen move the bulk of the troops to the eastern front. After the resolute refusal of Alberto I to German requests, the total invasion of Belgium was held two days later. After the German invasion, Alberto I placed itself at the forefront of the Belgian army, where he/she distinguished himself well under the orders of general Foch, operational Chief of the Belgian troops. After the hard battle of Autweup, in October of the year 1914, German troops occupied virtually all of the country and forced Alberto I Belgian troops to withdraw to the southwest of Flanders, the only Belgian region that had not yet fallen into the German orbit. While all the Belgian Government was transferred to the free France, King Alberto I stayed on the frontlines, where energy resisted the attacks of the German forces and closed road Dunkirk and Calais, necessary to carry out an invasion of the British Isles to the invader.

After the end of World War I, Alberto I appealed to the allied powers to abolition the Treaty of London, signed in 1839, whereby Belgium was seen as neutral and therefore likely to be violated and invaded in the event of military confrontation, as it happened. Alberto I request was accepted, joining the action points set out in the Treaty of Versailles, in the year 1919, whereby Germany had to pay substantial reparations of war, both economic and territorial to Belgium. Alberto I personally, led until his death, the reconstruction of their country, torn apart and destroyed by the continuous occupation of the German troops. He/She made an effective work of support in the reindustrialization of Belgium, where stands out the effort made in the construction of a powerful merchant fleet. Alberto I blew among the Belgians a great pride for the country and established the services of volunteer work for the sake of reconstruction of Belgium, measure that supported unanimously by all political forces of the country, which always agreed to arbitration by the King in all serious or sensitive matters of Government. In the year 1926, Alberto I helped to introduce a reform of monetary, necessary for the country, whose consequence was to make more flexible the internal and external economy of Belgium. High risk sports enthusiast, was killed while practicing mountaineering, February 17 in the year 1934. His son Leopoldo III succeeded him on the throne.

Bibliography

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CHG.