90 Facts About David Livingstone


David Livingstone was a Scottish physician, Congregationalist, and pioneer Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society, an explorer in Africa, who wanted to abolish slavery, and one of the most popular British heroes of the late 19th-century Victorian era.


David Livingstone was born on 19 March 1813 in the mill town of Blantyre, Scotland, in a tenement building for the workers of a cotton factory on the banks of the River Clyde under the bridge crossing into Bothwell.


David Livingstone was the second of seven children born to Neil Livingstone and his wife Agnes.


Neil David Livingstone was a Sunday school teacher and teetotaller who handed out Christian tracts on his travels as a door-to-door tea salesman.


David Livingstone read books on theology, travel, and missionary enterprises extensively.


At age fifteen, David Livingstone left the Church of Scotland for a local Congregational church, influenced by preachers like Ralph Wardlaw, who denied predestinarian limitations on salvation.


For David Livingstone, this meant a release from the fear of eternal damnation.


David Livingstone's reading of missionary Karl Gutzlaff's Appeal to the Churches of Britain and America on behalf of China enabled him to persuade his father that medical study could advance religious ends.


David Livingstone attended Blantyre village school, along with the few other mill children with the endurance to do so despite their 14-hour workday.


David Livingstone joined Anderson's University, Glasgow, in 1836, studying medicine and chemistry, as well as attending theology lectures by the anti-slavery campaigner Richard Wardlaw at the Congregational Church College, where he may have studied Greek.


David Livingstone worked hard, got a good grounding in science and medicine, and made lifelong friends including Andrew Buchanan and James Young.


David Livingstone applied to the LMS in October 1837, and in January was sent questions which he answered.


David Livingstone got no reply until invited to two interviews in August 1838.


David Livingstone was then accepted as a probationary candidate, and given initial training at Ongar, Essex, as the introduction to studies to become a minister within the Congregational Union serving under the LMS, rather than the more basic course for an artisan missionary.


In June 1839 the LMS directors accepted David Livingstone, and agreed to his request to continue studying with Cecil at Ongar until the end of the year, then have LMS support for medical studies in London.


On 20 November 1840 David Livingstone was ordained a minister of the church, as was another missionary to South Africa, William Ross, in a service at the Albion Chapel, Finsbury.


David Livingstone was excited by Moffat's vision of expanding missionary work to the north of Bechuanaland, and by the hotly debated topic of Christianity and commerce.


David Livingstone left London on 17 November 1840, passenger on a sailing brig bound for the Cape of Good Hope, along with two other LMS missionaries: Ross, who had been ordained at the same service as him, and Ross's wife.


In 1842 David Livingstone went on two treks with African companions, the principals were mission members Paul and Mebalwe, a deacon.


David Livingstone moved there by agreement, and joined them in the physical work of building facilities.


David Livingstone wrote to tell LMS secretary Arthur Tidman, saying he would be delighted to call Mabotsa "the centre of the sphere of my labours", but would try to hold himself "in readiness to go anywhere, provided it be forward".


The Moffats, accompanied by two new missionary families, reached the Vaal River in January 1844, David Livingstone rode out to meet them there, then sat in the Moffats' ox-cart talking with Robert for hours during the seventeen or eighteen days it took to get home to Kuruman.


David Livingstone got a clear shot at a large lion, but while he was re-loading it attacked, crushing his left arm, and forced him to the ground.


David Livingstone's life was saved by Mebalwe diverting its attention by trying to shoot the lion.


David Livingstone's broken bone, even though inexpertly set by himself and Edwards, bonded strongly.


David Livingstone went for recuperation to Kuruman, where he was tended by Moffat's daughter Mary, and they became engaged.


David Livingstone's arm healed, enabling him to shoot and lift heavy weights, though it remained a source of much suffering for the rest of his life, and he was not able to lift the arm higher than his shoulder.


David Livingstone was obliged to leave his first mission at Mabotsa in Botswana in 1845 after irreconcilable differences emerged between him and his fellow missionary, Rogers Edwards, and because the Bakgatla were proving indifferent to the Gospel.


David Livingstone abandoned Chonuane, his next mission, in 1847 because of drought and the proximity of the Boers and his desire "to move on to the regions beyond".


At Kolobeng Mission David Livingstone converted Chief Sechele in 1849 after two years of patient persuasion.


David Livingstone heard of a river which could potentially become a "Highway" to the coast, and in August 1851 they reached the Zambezi which he hoped would be a "key to the Interior".


In 1852, after sending his family to Britain, David Livingstone travelled north to the village of Linyanti on the Zambezi river, located roughly midway between the east and west coast of the continent, where Sekeletu, chief of the Kololo, granted David Livingstone authority as a nduna to lead a joint investigation of trade routes to the coast, with 27 Kololo warriors acting as interpreters and guides.


David Livingstone realized the route would be too difficult for future traders, so he retraced the journey back to Linyanti.


David Livingstone advocated the establishment of trade and religious missions in central Africa, but abolition of the African slave trade, as carried out by the Portuguese of Tete and the Arab Swahili of Kilwa, became his primary goal.


David Livingstone believed that the key to achieving these goals was the navigation of the Zambezi River as a Christian commercial highway into the interior.


David Livingstone proposed that missions and "legitimate commerce" by river into central Africa would end slave trading.


David Livingstone was encouraged by the response in Britain to his discoveries and support for future expeditions.


David Livingstone proposed to do more exploration, primarily to find routes for commercial trade which he believed would displace slave trade routes, more so than for solely missionary work.


The London Missionary Society on learning of his plans sent a letter which David Livingstone received at Quelimane, congratulating him on his journey but said that the directors were "restricted in their power of aiding plans connected only remotely with the spread of the Gospel".


When Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society, put him in touch with the Foreign Secretary, David Livingstone said nothing to the LMS directors, even when his leadership of a government expedition to the Zambezi seemed increasingly likely to be funded by the Exchequer.


David Livingstone was now a celebrity, in great demand as a public speaker, and was elected to the Royal Society.


David Livingstone had envisaged another solo journey with African helpers, in January 1858 he agreed to lead a second Zambezi expedition with six specialist officers, hurriedly recruited in the UK.


David Livingstone raised funds for a replacement river steamer, Lady Nyasa, specially designed to sail on Lake Nyasa.


David Livingstone took Pioneer up the coast and investigated the Ruvuma River, the physician John Kirk wrote "I can come to no other conclusion than that Dr David Livingstone is out of his mind and a most unsafe leader".


David Livingstone brought the ships downriver in 1864 after the government ordered the recall of the expedition.


The Zambezi Expedition was castigated as a failure in many newspapers of the time, and David Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising funds to further explore Africa.


John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton, scientists appointed to work under David Livingstone, contributed large collections of botanical, ecological, geological, and ethnographic material to scientific Institutions in the United Kingdom.


In January 1866, David Livingstone returned to Africa, this time to Zanzibar, and from there he set out to seek the source of the Nile.


David Livingstone believed that the source was farther south and assembled a team to find it consisting of freed slaves, Comoros Islanders, twelve Sepoys, and two servants from his previous expedition, Chuma and Susi.


David Livingstone set out from the mouth of the Ruvuma river, but his assistants gradually began deserting him.


David Livingstone then travelled through swamps in the direction of Lake Tanganyika, with his health declining.


David Livingstone sent a message to Zanzibar requesting that supplies be sent to Ujiji and he then headed west, forced by ill health to travel with slave traders.


David Livingstone arrived at Lake Mweru on 8 November 1867 and continued on, travelling south to become the first European to see Lake Bangweulu.


The year 1869 began with David Livingstone finding himself extremely ill while in the jungle.


David Livingstone was saved by Arab traders who gave him medicines and carried him to an Arab outpost.


In March 1869, David Livingstone suffered from pneumonia and arrived in Ujiji to find his supplies stolen.


On 15 July 1871, David Livingstone recorded in his field diary his immediate impressions as he witnessed around 400 Africans being massacred by Arab slavers at the Nyangwe market on the banks of the Lualaba River, while he was watching next the leading Arab trader Dugumbe who had given him assistance.


Researchers from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania who scanned David Livingstone's diary suggest that in putting his fragmentary notes about the massacre into the narrative of his journal, he left out his concerns about some of his followers, slaves owned by Banyan merchants who had been hired by John Kirk, acting Consul at Zanzibar, and sent to get David Livingstone to safety.


David Livingstone's diary noted "Dugumbe's men murdering Kimburu and another for slaves" and implied that the slave Manilla played a leading part, but looking back at the events, he says Dugumbe's people bore responsibility, and started it to make an example of Manilla.


The massacre horrified David Livingstone, leaving him too shattered to continue his mission to find the source of the Nile.


David Livingstone was wrong about the Nile, but he identified numerous geographical features for Western science, such as Lake Ngami, Lake Malawi, and Lake Bangweulu, in addition to Victoria Falls mentioned above.


David Livingstone filled in details of Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru, and the course of many rivers, especially the upper Zambezi, and his observations enabled large regions to be mapped which previously had been blank.


David Livingstone was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London and was made a Fellow of the society, with which he had a strong association for the rest of his life.


David Livingstone completely lost contact with the outside world for six years and was ill for most of the last four years of his life.


The words are famous because of their perceived humour, David Livingstone being the only other white person for hundreds of miles, along with Stanley's clumsy attempt at appearing dignified in the bush of Africa by making a formal greeting one might expect to hear in the confines of an upper-class London club.


David Livingstone's illness made him confused and he had judgment difficulties at the end of his life.


David Livingstone explored the Lualaba and, failing to find connections to the Nile, returned to Lake Bangweulu and its swamps to explore possible rivers flowing out northwards.


David Livingstone is known as "Africa's greatest missionary," yet he is recorded as having converted only one African: Sechele, who was the chief of the Kwena people of Botswana.


David Livingstone's father died when Sechele was 10, and two of his uncles divided the tribe, which forced Sechele to leave his home for nine years.


David Livingstone immediately became interested in Sechele, and especially his ability to read.


David Livingstone was known through a large part of Africa for treating the natives with respect, and the tribes that he visited returned his respect with faith and loyalty.


David Livingstone had five wives, including MmaKgari, Mokgokong and Masebele When Livingstone told him to get rid of four of them, it shook the foundations of the Kwena tribe.


David Livingstone died on 1 May 1873 at the age of 60 in Chief Chitambo's village at Chipundu, southeast of Lake Bangweulu, in present-day Zambia, from malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery.


Seventy-nine followers completed the journey, the men were paid their due wages, and David Livingstone's remains were returned by ship to Britain for burial.


David Livingstone wrote about a group of slaves forced to march by Arab slave traders in the African Great Lakes region when he was travelling there in 1866:.


David Livingstone was a poor leader of his peers, and he ended up on his last expedition as an individualist explorer with servants and porters but no expert support around him.


David Livingstone was furious to discover that some of the replacement porters sent at his request from Ujiji were slaves.


David Livingstone's expeditions were hardly models of order and organisation.


David Livingstone's reputation was rehabilitated by Stanley and his newspaper, and by the loyalty of Livingstone's servants whose long journey with his body inspired wonder.


David Livingstone inspired abolitionists of the slave trade, explorers, and missionaries.


David Livingstone opened up Central Africa to missionaries who initiated the education and healthcare for Africans, and trade by the African Lakes Company.


David Livingstone was held in some esteem by many African chiefs and local people and his name facilitated relations between them and the British.


However, what David Livingstone envisaged for "colonies" was not what we now know as colonial rule, but rather settlements of dedicated Christian Europeans who would live among the people to help them work out ways of living that did not involve slavery.


The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre celebrates his life and is based in the house in which he was born, on the site of the mill in which he started his working life.


Nonetheless, at a time when countries are being renamed and statues are being toppled, David Livingstone has not fallen.


In 2002, David Livingstone was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.


The archives of David Livingstone are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow.


David Livingstone was originally shown surrounded by palm tree leaves with an illustration of African tribesmen on the back.


David Livingstone made 4 great journeys into Africa, three of them starting in Cape Town, South Africa and the last at Zanzibar.


Stanley's search for and discovery of David Livingstone is the subject of the Hugh Masekela song "Witch Doctor" that appears on his 1976 album, Colonial Man.