Albert I of Belgium

King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Albert I (8 April 1875 – 17 February 1934) was King of the Belgians from 23 December 1909 until his death in 1934.

Quick facts: Albert I, King of the Belgians, Reign, Predec...
Albert I
Albert wearing a military uniform with helmet
Albert wearing his characteristic Adrian helmet, c.1919
King of the Belgians
Reign23 December 1909 – 17 February 1934
PredecessorLeopold II
SuccessorLeopold III
Prime Ministers
Born(1875-04-08)8 April 1875
Brussels, Belgium
Died17 February 1934(1934-02-17) (aged 58)
Marche-les-Dames, Namur, Belgium
(m. 1900)
Dutch and German: Albert Leopold Clemens Maria Meinrad
French: Albert Léopold Clément Marie Meinrad
HouseSaxe-Coburg and Gotha (until 1920)
Belgium (from 1920)
FatherPrince Philippe, Count of Flanders
MotherPrincess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureAlbert I's signature

Albert was born in Brussels as the fifth child and second son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Albert succeeded his uncle Leopold II to the Belgian throne in 1909. He married Elisabeth of Bavaria, with whom he had three children.

Albert ruled during an eventful period in the history of Belgium, which included the period of World War I (1914–1918), when most of Belgium was occupied by German forces. Other crucial events of his reign included the adoption of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, the ruling of the Belgian Congo as an overseas possession of Belgium along with the League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi, the reconstruction of Belgium following the war, and the first five years of the Great Depression (1929–1934).

Albert died in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium in 1934, at the age of 58, and he was succeeded by his son Leopold III (r.1934–1951). He is popularly referred to as the Knight King (Dutch: Koning-Ridder, French: Roi-Chevalier) or Soldier King (Dutch: Koning-Soldaat, French: Roi-Soldat) in Belgium in reference to his role during World War I.