Émile Banning

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Émile Theodore Joseph Hubert Banning (12 October 1836 – 13 July 1898) was a doctor of philosophy and literature and a Belgian senior civil servant who played an important role in the Belgian politics of the 19th century.

Born in Liège, Banning started his career as a journalist with the l'Écho du Parlement, where he became an observer of the political life, after a stay at the Royal Library as its archivist and librarian, he was appointed at the department of Foreign Affairs where he quickly became a kind of oracle in all the historical and geographical questions of his time.

Out of a simple historian he became a leading actor of the great decisions in matters of Belgian domestic as well as international policy. His knowledge of the world was of great support for Leopold II of Belgium, even if the king moved away more and more from the advice of Banning.

Émile Banning was a leading negotiator at the time of the negotiations on the status of Congo of Berlin in 1884 and Brussels in 1890. His political doctrines, based on high international morality and the respect of the law of nations, influenced many Belgian personalities such as Pierre Orts.

He died in Brussels on 13 July 1898.

See also[edit]


  • Carlier, J., Les idées d'Emile Banning sur la neutralité et la défense du pays, in : Revue de Belgique, febr. 1901, p. 105-118.
  • Cousin, P., Un grand commis d'Etat : Emile Banning, in : Res Publica, 1959, nr. 2, p. 157-161.
  • Leclère, L., Deux livres d'Emile Banning, in : Le Flambeau, 1927, nr. 12, p. 361-371.
  • Fondation du Congo, Memoires de Emile Banning, 1927