David Livingstone (1813-1873)

David Livingstone was born to a Christian family who lived at Blantyre, Scotland in 1813. As child he worked in a local mill during the day and went to school in the evening.

He wanted to become a missionary and work in China. He qualified as a doctor of medicine to help with this ambition. He heard a talk from Dr Robert Moffat who was a missionary in Africa. He decided to go to Africa (China was a closed nation at war at that time).

Livingstone went to Southern Africa and was soon travelling inland looking for sites for mission stations. These journeys took many months and allowed Livingstone to rapidly learn the language, culture and customs of the Africans.

In 1845 Livingstone married Dr. Moffats daughter. They made other exploratory journeys in Africa and in 1855 reached what we know as Victoria Falls. Livingstone was rapidly becoming a household name back in Great Britain.

In 1958 Livingstone made an an ill-fated expedition to explore the Zambezi river and it’s tributaries. Many of his companions became ill, including his wife Mary who later died of the illness.

In 1865 Livingstone made his last journey to Africa to find the source of the Nile. The trip took seven years. During this time Livingstone disappeared from public view and a journalist H M Stanley searched for him and found him. Livingstone refused to leave Africa with him and carried on the exploration.

On the first of May 1873 David Livingstone was found dead in his tent. His heart was buried in Africa (a local custom) and his body was taken back to England where, amongst national mourning, it buried at Westminster Abbey.

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