Albert I, king of the Belgians, born in 1875. He was carefully educated, traveled widely, and became well versed in politics and economics. In 1898, during a visit to the United States, he made a study of American railroads. Later he investigated conditions in the Belgian Congo, and urged many improvements and reforms. In 1900 he married the Duchess Elizabeth of Bavaria. Upon the death of his uncle, Leopold II, in 1909, he was made king. By reason of his democratic tastes he became one of the most popular of sovereigns. His heroic leadership in resisting the brutal German invasion of 1914 made him the idol of the Belgian people. With his equally devoted queen, he shared throughout the ensuing struggle the perils and hardships of his soldiers. Following the expulsion of the invaders, King Albert and his queen, on November 22, 1918, reentered Brussels in triumph, and at once proclaimed a new, free, and independent Belgium based on universal suffrage and representative government.