Léon Auguste Théophile Rom (1859–1924) was a Belgian soldier and colonial official who became prominent in the administration of the Congo Free State during the late 19th century.
Rom was born to a poor family in Mons, Belgium, in 1859 and entered the Belgian Army at the age of 16. He subsequently worked at a customs office before leaving Belgium for the new Congo Free State in 1886 as one of the few hundred whites working in the colony's administration.
Receiving a series of rapid promotions, Rom commanded the station at Stanley Falls (now Boyoma Falls) and was eventually promoted District Commissioner of Matadi. He later transferred to the colonial military, the Force Publique, where he served as a captain. He was praised for his conduct during the Congo Arab War (1892–94) in which he personally negotiated the surrender of an Arab stronghold. After retiring from the Force Publique, he worked as an official for the Compagnie du Kasai in central Congo.
Rom became most famous for the alleged brutality of his administration in the Stanley Falls area. According to contemporary reports from white missionaries, Rom had used the severed heads of 21 Congolese to decorate the flower beds of his house at Stanley Falls. He is also said to have kept a gallows permanently in place at his station. As the literary scholar Peter Edgerly Firchow argued, however, displaying severed heads was not unusual in contemporary Central African society:
Hideous, symbolic, and even real as all this is, this [act]...must nevertheless also be viewed and interpreted from the perspective of Central African tribal customs. For in terms of the Congo at the close of the nineteenth century, what Kurtz did (and Rom after him) was entirely in the bounds of privilege accorded to tribal chiefs.
Still working for the Compagnie du Kasai, Rom died in Brussels in 1924.
Role in the film
Leon Rom is sent by King Leopold to the Kongo for an expedition, during the trip he meets tribesmen chief Mbonga which his men killed, later his army is ambushed and murdered, Leon Rom survives and the chief Mbonga decides to make a deal in which if captures Tarzan, receives a payment of diamonds, Leon Rom accepts the deal and start your search, then he makes a deal to pay with diamonds in exchange for an army to enslave the Kongo and take control Altogether, Rom during their search fails to find the tribe in which this Jane, in this the leader of the tribe resists arodillarse to Leon and is killed, Tarzan sees this and is filled with anger, hitting several of his soldiers but this is captured by soldiers during the first leg with Tarzan Jane is taken hostage and also captured, George Williams appears and starts attacking soldiers Rom along with the warriors of the tribe, Rom starts to run away with Tarzan but later this breaks free and Rom escapes with Jane, Tarzan decides to start the search by Leon Rom, for it learns that Leon Rom is to blame for the deaths of many people in the Kongo and the enslavement of this to create a railway on which transported one army to enslave the Kongo, then Jane finds a way to escape the ship that had kidnapped , but but later it is found by Rom , Rom and his soldiers fired several gorillas that were in the area causing the wrath of Tarzan and gorillas , then Rom reaches escape with the help of the head Mbonga and gets its diamonds escaping with them, then the Rom port with Jane and his men are prepared to meet the army and give payment in diamonds but Tarzan comes with a herd of buffalo and destroys the area, Rom escapes with Jane and his soldiers into a boat, Tarzan saves Jane but must end Leon Rom, Rom on the boat begins to escape but George mows the boat with a machine gun, Tarzan up to the boat for Rom but this one takes the neck with her necklace, Tarzan calls about alligators and after a struggle, Tarzan pushes Leon Rom to crocodiles and this is finally devoured, and his Steamboat explodes with Leon Rom and the crocodiles while Tarzan survives.
Differences from the source material