Biography of David Livingstone


DAVID LIVINGSTONE, African traveller and missionary, a native of Scotland, was born at Blantyre, Lanarkshire, in the year 1817. At the age of ten he became a "piecer," in a cotton factory, and for many years was engaged in hand work as an operative. An evening school furnished him with the opportunity of learning some Latin and Greek, and finally, after attending a course of medicine at Glasgow University, and the theological lectures of Dr. Wardlaw, professor of theology to the Scotch Independents, he offered himself to the London Missionary Society, by whom he was ordained as medical missionary in 1840. In the summer of that year, he landed at Port Natal, in South Africa. For 16 years Livingstone proved himself a zealous and faithful servant of the London Missionary Society. The two most important results achieved by him in this period, were the discovery of Lake Ngami (August 1st, 1849), and his crossing the continent of South Africa, from the Zambesi to the Congo, and thence to Loando, the capital of Angola, which took him about 18 months (from January 1853 to June 1854). In September of the same year he left Loando on his return across the continent, reaching the Indian Ocean May 20th, 1856. He then took ship for England, where he arrived December 12th, of the same year. In 1857, Livingstone published his "Travels and Researches in South Africa," a work of great interest and value. In all his various journeys, he had travelled over no less than 11,000 miles of African territory. By his astronomical observations he had determined the sites of various places, hills, rivers and lakes, nearly all of which had been hitherto unknown, while he had seized upon every opportunity of describing the physical features, climatology, and geological structure of the countries he had explored, and had pointed out many new sources of commerce, as yet unknown to the scope and enterprise of the British merchant. In 1858, the British government appointed him Consul at Quilimain, whither he returned in the course of the year. A portable steam-boat was constructed for his use, and Livingstone, with several scientific associates, and a crew of natives, began to explore the river Zambesi. In 1864, he returned to England, and in 1865 published "A Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi," 1858-1864. In 1865, he revisited the interior of Africa, and continued his wanderings until his death, which occurred May 4th, 1873. In November, 1871, he was visited at Ujiji by H.M. Stanley, of "The New York Herald."