On This Day

stanley livingstone, dr livingstone i presume, stanley livingstone illustration, how i found livingstone
An illustration of Stanley meeting Livingstone from Stanley’s book “How I Found Livingstone.”

On This Day: Stanley Finds Dr. Livingstone in Tanzanian Village

November 10, 2010 06:00 AM
by Caleb March
On Nov. 10, 1871, reporter Henry Stanley located missing British explorer David Livingstone in a small Tanzanian village, and asked, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

Livingstone Found in Tanzania

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Scottish-born Christian missionary Dr. David Livingstone began traveling through Africa in 1841, documenting the horrors of slavery and famously discovering the Victoria Falls in 1855. In 1864, he embarked on what would be his last expedition: to find the source of the Nile River.

As time went on, Livingstone’s correspondence home became more and more infrequent, which sparked speculation that he had been kidnapped or killed. The editor of the New York Herald took an interest in Livingstone’s disappearance and in 1871 he commissioned reporter Henry Morton Stanley to go to Africa and find Livingstone.

Stanley, who had no experience as an explorer, lost more than half of his more than 350-man party to disease and desertion in his 700-mile journey from Zanzibar to the western edge of Tanzania. He “battled malaria, starvation and dysentery, losing 40 pounds” as the “expedition had suffered floods, famine, pestilence and drought,” writes Martin Dugard, author of “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone.”
On Nov. 10, 1871, in the eighth month of his journey, Stanley’s expedition party found Livingstone in the small village of Ujiji, Tanzania. Stanley recounted the scene in his 1872 account “How I Found Livingstone.”

He wrote, “I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of such a mob—would have embraced him, only, he being an Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing—walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?’”

Livingstone had “been plagued by one setback after another: anemia, dysentery, bone-eating bacteria, the loss of his teeth, thieving porters and, finally, worst of all, outright poverty,” writes Dugard. He relied on Arab slave traders for food and shelter, and they would not allow him to send letters home.

Despite his poor health, Livingstone took the new supplies brought by Stanley and went on exploring Africa until his death in Zambia two years later.

Biographies: David Livingstone, Henry Stanley

David Livingstone
David Livingstone was born south of Glasgow, Scotland, on March 19, 1813. He studied medicine and theology in university and in 1841, he accepted a missionary post near the Kalahari Desert.

Livingstone’s experiences convinced him of the evils of slavery and the importance of spreading Christianity throughout Africa. These beliefs inspired him to set out on numerous expeditions that covered unexplored areas of the Kalahari Desert and the Zambezi River. In 1855, Livingstone discovered and named Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Livingstone was regarded in Britain as a hero. He published several successful books, including “Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa” (1857) and “Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries” (1865).

Henry Stanley
Sir Henry Morton Stanley was born John Rowlands in Denbigh, Wales, on Jan. 28, 1841. After a difficult childhood, he changed his name and ran away to New Orleans when he was 17 years old.

In 1861, Stanley fought in the Civil War in the Confederate Army before changing his mind and re-enlisting to fight with the Union Army. After the war, Stanley traveled through the United States, earning money as a freelance journalist and eventually landing a position at the New York Herald.

Continuing David Livingstone’s exploration mission after the latter’s death, he led an expedition into central Africa. King Leopold II of Belgium employed Stanley to explore the economic prospects of the Congo region, which led to the king establishing a brutal colonial regime there.

Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, Stanley spent most of his time giving lectures and participating in politics. He served in British Parliament from 1895 to 1900, and in 1899, he was knighted.

Stanley also wrote several books, including “How I Found Livingstone” (1872), “Through the Dark Continent” (1878) and “In Darkest Africa” (1890). Stanley died in London on May 10, 1904.
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