Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Leopold II

(Belgian King)

9 April 1835 – 17 December 1909 (Aged 74)

Born in Brussels, Belgium. Died in Laeken, Belgium.

Leopold II was the second King of the Belgians, who reigned for 44 years until his death. It was the longest reign of any Belgian monarch.

Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He extracted a fortune from the Congo, through the collection of ivory, and the harvesting and processing of rubber, by forced labour.

Under his regime, it is estimated as many as 10 million Congolese people died.

Reports of these deaths and human rights abuses led to a major international scandal, ultimately forcing Leopold to relinquish control of the colony in 1908.


(Native American Leader)

Ben Wittick / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

June 1829 – 17 February 1909 (Aged 79)

Born in No-Doyohn Canyon, Mexico. Died in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Geronimo was a legendary Apache leader, who defended his homeland against white colonization for decades during the 1800s, battling both Mexican and American troops.

By his late teens, he had already established himself as a talented leader in raiding operations. Then, while on one such raid in 1851, an event occurred that would shape the rest of his life.

While his raiding party was away, Mexican soldiers attacked Geronimo’s camp, killing his mother, wife, and three children. Geronimo spent the rest of his life with a deep hatred for Mexicans.

He would carry the fight to Mexican and American troops for the next 35 years. Prior to surrender, Geronimo earned great fame as the leader of a band of approx. 40 Apache, evading thousands of troops either side of the U.S.-Mexico border for over a year.

He finally surrendered in March 1886, going on to spend the rest of his life as a prisoner of war.

In his later years, he achieved celebrity status, appearing at events such as the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.

On his deathbed, his last reported words were an expression of regret for surrendering, wishing he had fought to the end.

Red Cloud

(Native American Lakota Chief)

Red Cloud. Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

1822 – 10 December 1909 (Aged 87)

Born in North Platte, Nebraska. Died in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Red Cloud was a renowned Oglala Lakota chief, who led a successful campaign against U.S. forces to control Powder River Country (parts of Wyoming & Montana) between 1866-68, which became known as Red Cloud’s War.

This led to the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which established the Great Sioux Reservation, and, later, the Red Cloud Agency.

Red Cloud would travel to Washington D.C. & New York to lobby for Native American rights, in 1970. He displayed impressive diplomacy skills, while also proving to be an eloquent speaker.

However, over time the government went back on the promises they made and resettled the agency to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

He did not take part in the subsequent Lakota War, instead, trying to fight for the rights of his people and to improve conditions on the reservation.

In the end, Red Cloud would outlive the rest of the major Lakota leaders from the Indian Wars. He died on the reservation at the age of 87.

John Millington Synge


  Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

16 April 1871 – 24 March 1909 (Aged 37)

Born in Rathfarnham, Ireland. Died in Dublin, Ireland.

Millington Synge was an Irish playwright, who is best remembered for his play, ‘Playboy of the Western World’.

Much of his work was inspired by the time he spent traveling in the west of Ireland, and on the Aran Islands off Ireland’s west coast.

Joshua Slocum


Hollinger & Co. / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

20 February 1844 – 14 November 1909 (Aged 65)

Born in Mount Hanley, Nova Scotia, Canada. Died at Sea.

Slocum was a Nova Scotian sailor, who became the first person to sail solo around the world.

On November 14, 1909, Slocum set sail for the West Indies, never to be seen or heard from again.