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David Livingstone

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David Livingstone

David Livingstone was one of Africa’s most important explorer. He lived from 1813 to 1873. He was originally a Scottish doctor and missionary.

Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813, in Blantyre, Scotland. In 1823 he began to work in a cotton-textile factory. While studying medicine in Glasgow, he also attended classes in theology, and in 1838 he offered his services to the London Missionary
Society. After completing hid medical course in 1840, Livingstone was later sent as a medical missionary to South Africa. In 1841 he reached Kuruman, a settlement founded in Bechuanaland, now Botswana, by the Scottish missionary Robert Moffat.

Even though the Boers, the white settler, mostly of white background were extremely hostile to him, Livingstone kept trying to make his way northward. He married Mary Moffat, daughter of Robert, in 1845.

Together, the Livingstones traveled into regions where no other European had ever been to. After crossing the Kalahari Desert in 1849, he discovered Lake Ngami. In 1851, accompanied by his wife and children, he discovered the Zambezi River. On another expedition while looking for a route to the interior from the east or west coast, he traveled north from Cape Town to the Zambezi, and then west to Luanda on the
Atlantic coast. Then, retracing his journey to the Zambezi, Livingstone followed the river to its mouth in the Indian Ocean, in this way discovering the great Victoria Falls in Zambezi.

After Livingstone's explorations, a revision of all the contemporary maps took place. He returned in 1856 to Great Britainm, where he was already acknowledged as a great explorer. He wrote a book called Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa
which made him famous. He resigned from the missionary society, and in 1858 the British government appointed him British consul at Quelimane, what is now in Mozambique, for the east coast of Africa and commander of an expedition to explore east and central
Africa. In 1859 he explored the Rovuma River and discovered Lake Chilwa. During his exploration of the country around Lake Nyasa, Livingstone became greatly concerned over the depredations on the indigenous Africans by Arab and Portuguese slave traders. In
1865, on a visit to England, he wrote Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambezi and Its Tributaries, including a condemnation of slave traders and an exposition of the commercial possibilities of the region, now mostly part of Malawi and Mozambique. In
1866, financed mostly by the liberal contributions of his friends and admirers, Livingstone led an expedition to discover the sources of the Nile and explore the watershed of central Africa. Traveling along the Rovuma River, the explorer made his way
toward Lake Tanganyika, reaching its shore in 1869, after having discovered Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu.

During this period, little was heard from Livingstone, and his welfare became a matter of international concern. In 1870 he began a journey from Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika, into the region lying west of the lake, becoming the first European to visit the Lualaba River, in present-day Zaire. After great privations he returned to Ujiji and was met by a rescue party led by Henry Morton Stanley, an Anglo-American journalist, who is said to have greeted the explorer with the famous remark, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Stanley and Livingstone explored the country north of Lake Tanganyika together. Later,
Livingstone set out alone to continue his search for the source of the Nile. David Livingstone died in Chitambo, in present day Zambia probably on April 30, 1873; he was found dead on May 1. His followers buried his heart at the foot of the tree beneath which he died and carried his body to Zanzibar on the east coast. In April 1874 his remains were buried in Westminster Abbey. Livingstone is considered one of the greatest modern African explorers and one of the pioneers in the abolition of the slave trade.

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