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Q: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: kyraeh-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 23 Jul 2003 04:19 PDT
Expires: 22 Aug 2003 04:19 PDT
Question ID: 234123
I'm looking for more a bio on Sir Francis de Winton (1835 - 1901).  He
was General Administrator of the Congo in 1884 - 1886.  I'm
particularly curious about his activities in the early 1890s.
Subject: Re: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed
Answered By: omnivorous-ga on 23 Jul 2003 15:14 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Kyraeh -

I don't have full biographical information for you, though I've
checked some normally excellent historical sources (Who's Who; the
Encyclopedia Britannica).  However, Sir Francis de Winton in an
Englishman who was involved in the development of the Congo Free State
and Kenya as colonies; he also was involved with Henry Morton Stanley.
 As such, you can find passing reference to him in a number of places.

The first mention that I found of him is from the New York Times
(which actually picked up the article from the Montreal Witness) on
Aug. 1, 1883.  Col. de Winton had been serving as aide-de-camp to Gen.
Sir Fenwick Williams, of the Royal Engineers.

It was the Berlin Conference, held between Nov. 15, 1884 - February,
1885 that changed international recognition of the territory from the
International African Association or the International Association of
the Congo to a domain of King Leopold II of Belgium.  Note that the
Congo was not a colony of Belgium but a private domain of King Leopold
II.  An excellent and highly-critical history is Adam Hochschild's
book, "King Leopold's Ghost."

On May 29, 1885, the King named the country État Indépendant du Congo
or Congo Free State.  De Winton was the first Administrator-General,
replacing Henry Morton Stanley, who was not nearly the organizer that
De Winton was.  His term ran from April 22, 1884 to July, 1886 when
Camille Janssens replaced him:
World Statesman
"Congo (Kinshasa)"  (undated) 

Congo Belge et Ruanda-Urundi (Charles Stockmans)
"Les governeurs du Congo"

During the 188-1889 period, a German born as Edward Schnitzer was in
Khartoum, Sudan.  By this time, thanks to involvement with the Turkish
Diplomatic Service, he changed his name to Emin Bey.  Then, as he won
appointment to the southern Sudanese province of Equatoria, he became
Emin Pasha, a pasha being higher-ranking than a bey.  At the end of de
Winton's term in the Congo the Mahdist revolt against outside
domination of the Sudan began (lead by Mohammed Ahmed).

In Britain a relief expedition was put together to get Emin Bey (or
Emin Pasha) to safety.  It was headed by Henry Morton Stanley and
administered by Col. Sir Francis de Winton.  The expedition, which
King Leopold II requested go through the unexplored Ituri Forest in
the eastern Congo was a disaster, with only about 260 of 700
Natural History Museum Department of Entomology
"The adventures of Henry Morton Stanley and William Bonny"

During the period, the New York Times has a number of articles in
which de Winton acts as Stanley's external voice:

"Is Stanley the White Pasha?" reporting on rumors that he's arrived in
Zanzibar, where Stanley provisioned before rounding Cape of Good Hope
and returning to the Congo. (July 17, 1888)

De Winton reports on the start of the expedition from the Congo (Dec.
24, 1888).

"Stanley Very Indignant," reports on criticisms of the expedition
(Dec. 21, 1889).  There's a personal connection here because the
account mentions Tippoo Tib and Maniema province.   (This researcher
taught high school for 2 years in Kasongo, Tippoo Tib's home town.)

"Stanley's Mail Detained: The Story of His Capture Discredited." (Jan.
1, 1889)

"More News from Stanley," has the report of Stanley's return trip from
the Sudan (Jan. 18, 1889).

In late 1889, de Winton was appointed British Commissioner for
Swaziland and this account of the life of Sir Robert Baden-Powell
(founder of the Boy Scouts) talks about traveling with the colonel:
The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924
"Swaziland, Malta and Home" (Aug. 9, 1997)

From May, 1890 to February, 1891 DeWinton is administrator in Kenya:
World Statesman
"Kenya" (undated)

There are some other indications of the travels of Francis de Winton
on the Internet, including a dealer who has a letter from King George
V to now Major. General de Winton in France, dated July, 1893.

In 1895, he is British agent in Uganda.  The New York Times on June
18, 1895 runs a brief story noting that there had been an attempt to
poison him.  Inasmuch as de Winton lived until 1901, it was

Strangely enough, I was unable to find an obituary for de Winton.

Google search strategy: 
"de Winton" + Congo
"Francis de Winton"
"Emin Bey" + Stanley

I also extended this search to include some library resources, most
Proquest New York Times Historical Newspapers (available online for
free at many libraries)
Marquis Who's Who
and Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost," Houghton-Mifflin, 1998

Best regards,

kyraeh-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thank you very much for these insights!

Subject: Re: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed
From: politicalguru-ga on 23 Jul 2003 06:35 PDT
Dear Kyraeh, 

I didn't find anything that would answer your question. I did find the

A Picture of Sir Francis -

And this quote, about his administration: "The origin of the land
system of the Congo Free State may be said to have assumed legal form
by the official order of Sir Francis de Winton, who, it will be
recalled, was appointed Governor-General of the State when Henry M.
Stanley returned to Europe".

In addition, I found a note mentioning that records relating Sir
Francis could be found at:
Musee Royale de L'Afrique Centrale,  
Steenweg op Leuvan  13 ,
Their Website: 

I hope that another Researcher will be more successful than I was. If
not, you may want to contact the abovementioned museum.
Subject: Re: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed
From: fp-ga on 23 Jul 2003 20:29 PDT
Two additional links which might be interesting and helpful:

Historical Manuscripts Commission (London)

Biographical entry for De Winton (Stockholm 1907):
Subject: Re: Sir Francis de Winton bio needed
From: omnivorous-ga on 24 Jul 2003 06:41 PDT
Kyraeh --

Thank you for your comments and the additional sum.

A detail that I forgot to mention is that Sir Francis de Winton is
referred to as president of the Emin Bey Relief Committee in the NY
Times articles.  It is also clear that de Winton was in close contact
with King Leopold II of Belgium during this period.

Best regards,


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