Liévin Jean Van de Velde (1850-1888) was a captain of the Belgian Army, active in the development and control of the Congo Free State, essentially owned by Leopold II, king of Belgium. The Liévin Van de Velde papers include correspondence, documents, treaties, and photographs documenting his military career and activities in the Congo.
- Majority of material found within 1881-1883
- Van de Velde, Liévin, 1850-1888 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.
Conditions Governing Use note
Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
Liévin Jean Van de Velde (1850-1888) was a captain of the Belgian Army, active in the development and control of the Congo Free State, essentially owned by Leopold II, king of Belgium.
He was born at Ledeberg (Gand), in Belgium, on December 1, 1850. At age 19 he became a second-lieutenant in the Belgian 8th line regiment. Van de Velde found army life very confining, and for about ten years, plotted, in vain, to travel to such places as the Dutch West Indies and Tanganika. At last in 1881, under the auspices of the Association Internationale du Congo, Van de Velde first visited the Congo, and remained there until 1883. He returned twice, in 1885, and again in 1887.
Captain Van de Velde was Colonel Strauch's secretary at the Berlin West African Conference of 1884-1885.
While in the Congo, Van ae Velde worked under Henry M, Stanley, the American explorer, who had been assigned the task of founding several stations on the land route past the cataracts on the Lower Congo between the coast and Stanley Pool. Captain Van de Velde was made station chief at Vivi (the highest point on the Congo below the first cataract). The station chiefs were commercial agents in charge of goods stored or in transit, and also political agents, responsible for settling affairs with the natives. In 1882 Captain Van de Velde led a mission to the north of the Kwilu. This expedition was sent to acquire an outlet to the ocean, without which, King Leopold II's infant trading preserve would have been strangled by the surrounding European powers.
Captain Liévin Van de Velde died in 1888, stricken by fever, while en route to Léopoldville.
2.25 linear feet (3 containers)
Language of Materials
Collection is arranged into the following series: 1. Association Internationale du Congo materials; 2. Van de Velde family papers; 3. Photographs.
Other Finding Aids
Finding aid with additional information available at Special Collections and University Archives.
General Physical Description note
3 containers, including 2 volumes, with 468 letters and documents, and 24 photographs.
Box 1: International Association of the Congo records. Box 2: Van de Velde family papers, published materials on the Belgian Congo. Photo Box 1: Photographs
Processing Information note
Photographs processed by Normandy Helmer.
- Guide to the Liévin Van de Velde papers
- Complete Description
- Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team. Revisions by Sarah Lueders.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.