The biographical notes published in the Biographie coloniale belge (1948-1958) and in the first volumes of the Biographie belge d’Outre-Mer (1968-2015) reflect not only the scientific knowledge, but also the ideology of the time. Consequently, a number of these notes have positive, even laudatory, connotations since the authors or writers most often neglected the issues regarded as “sensitive”. This is particularly true for the Belgians who worked for Leopold II and the Congo Free State (1876-1908). This study shows that the former biographical notes sometimes deliberately suffered censorship and that the historical reality often had to give way to the aims of colonial propaganda.
The fact that these former notes are available online does not mean in any way that RAOS agrees with their contents. On the contrary, the Academy has clearly backed away from their eulogistic nature and considers that the biography of many personalities from the colonial period call for an in-depth revision. Therefore, it has been decided to put an end to the above-mentioned series and to start a new reference work, the Biographical Dictionary of Belgians Overseas. The digital (re)publication of the former notes has been dictated by the fact that these texts still contain a lot of factual information that may be of interest to researchers.