Tag Archives: Belgian Congo

The President in the Pith Helmet


In his life Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. wore many hats in a figurative sense – he was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, historian and of course was the 26th President of the United States. He was known for his exuberant personality and was born to a wealthy New York City family; he was a sickly child who suffered from asthma but grew into a man with a “cowboy” persona and robust masculinity. He attended Harvard College, was New York City Police Commissioner and resigned from the U.S. Navy Department at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War to help form the famous Rough Riders – a unit made up of wealthy Easterners and Western cowboys.

While he didn’t wear a sun/pith helmet when in the military – at the time the American Army and USMC did use the Model 1887 pattern helmet – he would don the safari style helmet after he left the White House. Continue reading

The Original Camouflage: Khaki Part V – Khaki in Colonial Africa and the Middle East


Portuguese soldiers in Africa during World War I wearing the newly introduced khaki 1900 pattern uniform

Khaki was used throughout the colonial world by most of the major powers, and in many ways the First World War was the first conflict where the parties fought with virtually the same colored uniforms. While khaki, as we noted in part I of this feature on The Original Camouflage, was introduced in India, other powers including France and Germany – as noted in previous posts – also opted for the dust-colored fabric. Other armies, including the Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish and Turks would don khaki colored uniforms. Continue reading

Colonial Pattern Helmets of the Force Publique

A studio photograph of an officer of the Force Publique – wearing a French Model 1886 pattern helmet

A studio photograph of an officer of the Force Publique – wearing a French Model 1886 pattern helmet

Belgian Congo was an interesting state, as it was originally the “Congo Free State” and was the private property of King Leopold II of Belgium. As such it was administrated through a quasi-private military force, the Force Publique (Public Force). Continue reading