Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

1887 King Gorilla

In February 1887, on the eve of the birthday of William III, a chronicle of royal scandals and sex was published in The Hague entitled Uit het leven van Koning Gorilla (Life and Times of King Gorilla).

Its main author was S.E.W. Roorda van Eysinga, who had previously contributed somewhat smutty stories about the king in the socialist newspaper Recht voor Allen (Justice for All). The printing of the brochure was financed by a crowd-funding campaign among the subscribers of Recht voor Allen. About 100,000 copies of the brochure were printed.

On February 19, William III celebrated his birthday in Amsterdam.  Not long before, a serious tumult by the mob had taken place and emotions ran high in the Jordaan district, where the workers and the poor lived. The King Gorilla brochure and other anti-monarchist pamphlets were for sale in two socialist bookshops in the Jordaan.  Furious monarchist inhabitants of the Jordaan now smashed these  bookshops to pieces and did the same to a pub that was frequented by socialists. The police did not intervene.

Uit het Leven van Koning Gorilla - complete text on line; see also  'Ontwerp voor een Gorilla Standbeeld' [design for a statue of Gorilla] in IISH-web presentation 'Censorship'.

Read the pamphlet Oranje Boven! [long live the house of Orange] R.A. Oosterhout [1887]
IISHcall no Bro N 463/4.

Read the pamphlet F. van der Goes, Ter herinnering. Getuigenissen en Bewijsstukken in de politie-quaestie [eyewitness reports and evidence  in the police case] (Amsterdam 1891), p 17- 29
IISH call no Bro N 460/12