David Livingstone

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David Livingstone
David Livingstone -1.jpg
Born (1813-03-19)19 March 1813
Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Died 1 May 1873(1873-05-01) (aged 60)
Chief Chitambo's Village (in modern-day Zambia)
Cause of death Malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery
Resting place Westminster Abbey, London, England, UK
51°29′58″N 0°07′39″W / 51.499444°N 0.1275°W / 51.499444; -0.1275
Nationality British
Known for Exploration of Africa
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Mary (née Moffat; m. 1845 – 27 April 1862; her death); 6 children

David Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873) was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley on 10 November 1871 gave rise to the popular quotation "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Livingstone was one of the most popular national heroes of the late 19th century in Victorian Britain, and he had a mythical status which operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class "rags to riches" inspirational story, scientific investigator and explorer, imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial empire. His fame as an explorer helped drive forward the obsession with discovering the sources of the River Nile that formed the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial penetration of the African continent.[citation needed]

At the same time, his missionary travels, "disappearance" and death in Africa, and subsequent glorification as posthumous national hero in 1874 led to the founding of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives carried forward in the era of the European "Scramble for Africa".[1]

Early life[edit]

Livingstone's birthplace in Blantyre.
David Livingstone's birthplace The National Trust, having taken over the running of the museum from the original Trust, has recreated the look of the room of Livingstone's family using furnishings and artefacts from around 1800.

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.[2] He was the second of seven children born to Neil Livingstone (1788–1856) and his wife Agnes (née Hunter; 1782–1865). David was employed at the age of 10 in the cotton mill of Henry Monteith & Co. in Blantyre Works. He and his brother John worked twelve-hour days as piecers, tying broken cotton threads on the spinning machines. He was a student at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School from 1838–40; his courses covered medical practice, midwifery, and botany.

Neil Livingstone was a Sunday school teacher and teetotaller who handed out Christian tracts on his travels as a door to door tea salesman, and who extensively read books on theology, travel, and missionary enterprises. This rubbed off on the young David, who became an avid reader, but he also loved scouring the countryside for animal, plant, and geological specimens in local limestone quarries. Neil Livingstone had a fear of science books as undermining Christianity and attempted to force his son to read nothing but theology, but David's deep interest in nature and science led him to investigate the relationship between religion and science.[3] In 1832, he read Philosophy of a Future State, written by Thomas Dick, and he found the rationale that he needed to reconcile faith and science and, apart from the Bible, this book was perhaps his greatest philosophical influence.[4]

Other significant influences in his early life were Thomas Burke, a Blantyre evangelist and David Hogg, his Sabbath school teacher.[4] At age nineteen, David and his father left the Church of Scotland for a local Congregational church, influenced by preachers like Ralph Wardlaw, who denied predestinatarian limitations on salvation. Influenced by American revivalistic teachings, Livingstone's reading of missionary Karl Gützlaff'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.[5]

Livingstone's experiences in H. Monteith's Blantyre cotton mill were also important from ages 10 to 26, first as a piecer and later as a spinner. This work was necessary to support his impoverished family; it was monotonous, but it taught him persistence, endurance, and a natural empathy with all who labour, as expressed by lines that he used to hum from the egalitarian Rabbie Burns song: "When man to man, the world o'er/Shall brothers be for a' that".[6]


Livingstone attended Blantyre village school along with the few other mill children with the endurance to do so despite their 14-hour workday (6 am–8 pm), but having a family with a strong, ongoing commitment to study also reinforced his education. After reading the appeal by Gutzlaff for medical missionaries for China in 1834, he began saving money and entered Anderson's College, Glasgow in 1836 (now University of Strathclyde), founded to bring science and technology to ordinary folk, and attended Greek and theology lectures at the University of Glasgow.[7] To enter medical school, he required some knowledge of Latin. A local Roman Catholic named Daniel Gallagher helped him learn Latin to the required level. Later in life, Gallagher became a priest and founded the third oldest Catholic Church in Glasgow: St Simon's, Partick (originally named St Peter's). A painting of both Gallagher and Livingstone by Roy Petrie[who?] hangs in that church's coffee room. In addition, he attended divinity lectures by Wardlaw, a leader at this time of vigorous anti-slavery campaigning in the city. Shortly after, he applied to join the London Missionary Society (LMS) and was accepted subject to missionary training. He continued his medical studies in London while training there and was attached to a church in Ongar, Essex to be a minister under LMS.[5] Despite his impressive personality, he was a plain preacher and would have been rejected by the LMS had the director not given him a second chance to pass the course.[4]

Vision for Africa[edit]

Livingstone hoped to go to China as a missionary, but the First Opium War broke out in September 1839 and the LMS suggested the West Indies instead. In 1840, while continuing his medical studies in London, Livingstone met LMS missionary Robert Moffat, on leave from Kuruman, a missionary outpost in South Africa, north of the Orange River. He was excited by Moffat's vision of expanding missionary work northwards, and he was also influenced by abolitionist T.F. Buxton's arguments that the African slave trade might be destroyed through the influence of "legitimate trade" and the spread of Christianity. Livingstone, therefore, focused his ambitions on Southern Africa.[5]

Livingstone was deeply influenced by Moffat's judgement that he was the right person to go to the vast plains to the north of Bechuanaland, where he had glimpsed "the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary had ever been."[4] During this time, he was attacked by a lion while staying in an African village, trying to defend the village's sheep from the animal. The lion heavily wounded his left arm, and the wounds disabled his arm for the rest of his life.[8] He lived in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire in 1862 for a short time. The house still stands and has a plaque that can be seen outside the house (17 Burnbank Road). He was awarded the Freedom of the Town of Hamilton.[citation needed].

Exploration of southern and central Africa[edit]

The journeys of Livingstone in Africa between 1851 and 1873

The Kolobeng Mission had to be closed because of drought, so Livingstone explored the African interior to the north between 1852 and 1856 and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") waterfall, which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch Queen Victoria, and of which he wrote later, "Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight." (Jeal, p. 149)

Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa in 1854–56, Luanda on the Atlantic to Quelimane on the Indian Ocean near the mouth of the Zambezi.[4] Central and southern Africa had not been crossed by Europeans at that latitude, despite repeated European attempts (especially by the Portuguese), owing to their susceptibility to malaria, dysentery, and sleeping sickness which was prevalent in the interior and which also prevented use of draught animals (oxen and horses). Such journeys had also been hindered by the opposition of powerful chiefs and tribes, such as the Lozi, and the Lunda of Mwata Kazembe.

Preaching from a wagon.

The qualities and approaches which gave Livingstone an advantage as an explorer were that he usually travelled light, and he had an ability to reassure chiefs that he was not a threat. Other expeditions had dozens of soldiers armed with rifles and scores of hired porters carrying supplies, and were seen as military incursions or were mistaken for slave-raiding parties. Livingstone, on the other hand, travelled on most of his journeys with a few servants and porters, bartering for supplies along the way, with a couple of guns for protection. He preached a Christian message but did not force it on unwilling ears; he understood the ways of local chiefs and successfully negotiated passage through their territory, and was often hospitably received and aided, even by Mwata Kazembe.[4]

Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa. His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue dedicated to him at Victoria Falls, was "Christianity, Commerce and Civilization". The reason he that emphasised these three was that they would form an alternative to the slave trade, which was still rampant in Africa at that time, and would give the Africans some dignity in the eyes of the Europeans. It was the abolition of the African slave trade that became his primary motivation.[9] Around this time, he believed that the key to achieving these goals was the navigation of the Zambezi River as a Christian commercial highway into the interior.[10] He returned to Britain to garner support for his ideas, and to publish a book on his travels which brought him fame as one of the leading explorers of the age.

Livingstone believed that he had a spiritual calling for exploration to find routes for commercial trade which would displace slave trade routes, rather than for preaching. He was encouraged by the response in Britain to his discoveries and support for future expeditions, so he resigned from the London Missionary Society in 1857. According to his biographer W. Garden Blaike, the reason was to prevent public concerns that his scientific work might show the LMS to be "departing from the proper objects of a missionary body". Livingstone had written to directors of the society to express complaints about their policies and the clustering of too many missionaries near the Cape Colony, despite the sparse native population.[4] With the help of the Royal Geographical Society's president, Livingstone was appointed as Her Majesty's Consul for the East Coast of Africa.

Zambezi expedition[edit]

The British government agreed to fund Livingstone's idea and he returned to Africa as head of the Zambezi Expedition to examine the natural resources of southeastern Africa and open up the River Zambezi. Unfortunately, it turned out to be completely impassable to boats past the Cahora Bassa rapids, a series of cataracts and rapids that Livingstone had failed to explore on his earlier travels.[10]

Burial site of Mary Moffat Livingstone in Chupanga, Mozambique.

The expedition lasted from March 1858 until the middle of 1864. Expedition members recorded that Livingstone was an inept leader incapable of managing a large-scale project. He was also said to be secretive, self-righteous, and moody, and could not tolerate criticism, all of which severely strained the expedition and which led to his physician John Kirk writing in 1862, "I can come to no other conclusion than that Dr. Livingstone is out of his mind and a most unsafe leader".[11]

Artist Thomas Baines was dismissed from the expedition on charges of theft (which he vigorously denied). The expedition became the first to reach Lake Malawi and they explored it in a four-oared gig. In 1862, they returned to the coast to await the arrival of a steam boat specially designed to sail on Lake Malawi. Mary Livingstone arrived along with the boat. She died on 27 April 1862 from malaria and Livingstone continued his explorations. Attempts to navigate the Ruvuma River failed because of the continual fouling of the paddle wheels from the bodies thrown in the river by slave traders, and Livingstone's assistants gradually died or left him.[11]

It was at this point that he uttered his most famous quotation, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward." He eventually returned home in 1864 after the government ordered the recall of the expedition because of its increasing costs and failure to find a navigable route to the interior. The Zambezi Expedition was castigated as a failure in many newspapers of the time, and Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising funds to further explore Africa. Nevertheless, John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton, the scientists appointed to work under Livingstone, did contribute large collections of botanical, ecological, geological, and ethnographic material to scientific Institutions in the United Kingdom.[11]

The River Nile[edit]

In January 1866, Livingstone returned to Africa, this time to Zanzibar, and from there he set out to seek the source of the Nile. Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, and Samuel Baker had identified either Lake Albert or Lake Victoria as the source (which was partially correct, as the Nile "bubbles from the ground high in the mountains of Burundi halfway between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria"[12]), but there was still serious debate on the matter. 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.[citation needed]

This house in Mikindani in southern Tanzania was the starting point for Livingstone's last expedition. He stayed here from 24 March to 7 April 1866.

Livingstone set out from the mouth of the Ruvuma river, but his assistants gradually began deserting him. The Comoros Islanders had returned to Zanzibar and informed authorities that Livingstone had died. He reached Lake Malawi on 6 August, by which time most of his supplies had been stolen, including all his medicines. Livingstone then travelled through swamps in the direction of Lake Tanganyika, with his health declining. He 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. He arrived at Lake Mweru on 8 November 1867 and continued on, travelling south to become the first European to see Lake Bangweulu. Upon finding the Lualaba River, Livingstone theorized that it could have been the high part of the Nile River; but realized that it in fact flowed into the River Congo at Upper Congo Lake.[13]

The year 1869 began with Livingstone finding himself extremely ill while in the jungle. He was saved by Arab traders who gave him medicines and carried him to an Arab outpost.[14] In March 1869, Livingstone suffered from pneumonia and arrived in Ujiji to find his supplies stolen. He was coming down with cholera and had tropical ulcers on his feet, so he was again forced to rely on slave traders to get him as far as Bambara—where he was caught by the wet season. With no supplies, Livingstone had to eat his meals in a roped-off enclosure for the entertainment of the locals in return for food.[11]

On 15 July 1871,[15] he witnessed around 400 Africans being massacred by slavers while visiting Nyangwe on the banks of the Lualaba River.[16] The massacre horrified Livingstone, leaving him too shattered to continue his mission to find the source of the Nile.[15] Following the end of the wet season, he travelled 240 miles (390 km) from Nyangwe back to Ujiji, an Arab settlement on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika – violently ill most of the way – arriving on 23 October 1871.[citation needed]

Geographical discoveries[edit]

Livingstone was wrong about the Nile, but he discovered numerous geographical features for Western science, such as Lake Ngami, Lake Malawi, and Lake Bangweulu, in addition to Victoria Falls mentioned above. He 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. Even so, the farthest north he reached was the north end of Lake Tanganyika — still south of the Equator — and he did not penetrate the rainforest of the River Congo any further downstream than Ntangwe near Misisi.[17]

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.[4]

Stanley meeting[edit]

Henry Morton Stanley meets David Livingstone
Livingstone Memorial in Ujiji, Tanzania
David Livingstone memorial at Victoria Falls, the first statue on the Zimbabwean side

Livingstone completely lost contact with the outside world for six years and was ill for most of the last four years of his life. Only one of his 44 letter dispatches made it to Zanzibar. One surviving letter to Horace Waller was made available to the public in 2010 by its owner Peter Beard. It reads: "I am terribly knocked up but this is for your own eye only, ... Doubtful if I live to see you again ..."[18][19]

Henry Morton Stanley had been sent to find him by the New York Herald newspaper in 1869. He found Livingstone in the town of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on 10 November 1871,[20] greeting him with the now famous words "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Livingstone responded, "Yes", and then "I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you." These famous words may have been a fabrication, as Stanley later tore out the pages of this encounter in his diary.[21] Even Livingstone's account of this encounter does not mention these words. However, the phrase appears in a New York Herald editorial dated 10 August 1872, and the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography both quote it without questioning its veracity. The words are famous because of their perceived tongue-in-cheek humorous nature; Dr. Livingstone was the only white person for hundreds of miles. Stanley's book suggests that it was really because of embarrassment, because he did not dare to embrace him.

Despite Stanley's urgings, Livingstone was determined not to leave Africa until his mission was complete. His illness made him confused and he had judgment difficulties at the end of his life. He 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.[22]

Christianity and Sechele[edit]

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. (Kwena are one of the main Sotho-Tswana clans, found in South Africa, Lesotho, and Botswana[23] in all three Sotho-Tswana language groupings.) Sechele was born in 1812. His father died when Sechele was 10, and two of his uncles divided the tribe, which forced Sechele to leave his home for nine years. When Sechele returned, he took over one of his uncle's tribes; at that point, he met David Livingstone.[24][pages needed]

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. He could never permanently convert the tribesmen to Christianity, however. Among other reasons, Sechele, by then the leader of the African tribe, did not like the way that Livingstone could not demand rain of his God like his rainmakers, who said that they could. After long hesitation from Livingstone, he baptised Sechele and had the church completely embrace him. Sechele was now a part of the church, but he continued to act according to his African culture, which went against Livingstone's teachings.[25][pages needed]

Sechele was no different from any other man of his tribe in believing in polygamy. He had five wives, and when Livingstone told him to get rid of four of them, it shook the foundations of the Kwena tribe. After he finally divorced the women, Livingstone baptised them all and everything went well. However, one year later one of his ex-wives became pregnant and Sechele was the father. Sechele begged Livingstone to not give up on him because his faith was still strong, but Livingstone left the country and went north to continue his Christianizing attempts.[26][pages needed]

Livingstone immediately interested Sechele, and especially his ability to read. Being a quick learner, Sechele learned the alphabet in two days and soon called English a second language. After teaching his wives the skill, he wrote the Bible in his native tongue.[27][pages needed]

After Livingstone left the Kwena tribe, Sechele remained faithful to Christianity and led missionaries to surrounding tribes as well as converting nearly his entire Kwena people. In the estimation of Neil Parsons of the University of Botswana, Sechele "did more to propagate Christianity in 19th-century southern Africa than virtually any single European missionary". Although Sechele was a self-proclaimed Christian, many European missionaries disagreed. The Kwena tribe leader kept rainmaking a part of his life as well as polygamy.[28]


David Livingstone Medal (p.60, 1890), London Missionary Society[29]

Livingstone died in 1873 at the age of 60 in Chief Chitambo's village at Ilala, southeast of Lake Bangweulu, in present-day Zambia, from malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery. His loyal attendants Chuma and Susi removed his heart and buried it under a Mvula tree near the spot where he died. That site, now known as the Livingstone Memorial,[30] lists his date of death as 4 May, the date reported (and carved into the tree's trunk) by Chuma and Susi; but most sources consider 1 May—the date of Livingstone's final journal entry—as the correct one.[31]

The rest of his remains were carried, together with his journal, over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) by Chuma and Susi to the coastal town of Bagamoyo, where they were returned by ship to Britain for burial. In London, his body lay in repose at No.1 Savile Row, then the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, prior to interment at Westminster Abbey.[4][32][33]

Livingstone and slavery[edit]

Arab slave traders and their captives.

And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.

— Livingstone in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald[34]

Livingstone wrote of the slave trade in the African Great Lakes region, which he visited in the mid-nineteenth century:

We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.[35]

Livingstone's letters, books, and journals[22] did stir up public support for the abolition of slavery;[36] however, he became dependent for assistance on the very slave-traders whom he wished to put out of business. He 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. At the same time, he did not use the brutal methods of maverick explorers such as Stanley to keep his retinue of porters in line and his supplies secure. For these reasons, he accepted help and hospitality from 1867 onwards from Mohamad Bogharib and Mohamad bin Saleh (also known as "Mpamari"), traders who kept and traded in slaves, as he recounts in his journals. They, in turn, benefited from Livingstone's influence with local people, which facilitated Mpamari's release from bondage to Mwata Kazembe. Livingstone was furious to discover that some of the replacement porters sent at his request from Ujiji were slaves.[22]


A new statue of David Livingstone on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls

By the late 1860s Livingstone's reputation in Europe had suffered owing to the failure of the missions he set up, and of the Zambezi Expedition; and his ideas about the source of the Nile were not supported. His expeditions were hardly models of order and organisation. His reputation was rehabilitated by Stanley and his newspaper,[10] and by the loyalty of Livingstone's servants whose long journey with his body inspired wonder. The publication of his last journal revealed stubborn determination in the face of suffering.[4]

Livingstone made geographical discoveries for European knowledge. He inspired abolitionists of the slave trade, explorers and missionaries. He opened up Central Africa to missionaries who initiated the education and health care for Africans, and trade by the African Lakes Company. He was held in some esteem by many African chiefs and local people and his name facilitated relations between them and the British.[4]

Livingstone statue, Edinburgh by Amelia Robertson Hill

Partly as a result, within 50 years of his death, colonial rule was established in Africa, and white settlement was encouraged to extend further into the interior. However, what Livingstone envisaged for "colonies" was not of what we now know as colonial rule, but of settlements of dedicated Christian Europeans who would live among the people to help them work out ways of living that did not involve slavery.[9] Livingstone was part of an evangelical and nonconformist movement in Britain which during the 19th century changed the national mindset from the notion of a divine right to rule 'lesser races', to ethical ideas in foreign policy which, with other factors, contributed to the end of the British Empire.[37]

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. His Christian faith is evident in his journal, in which one entry reads: "I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time and eternity."[38]

In 2002, David Livingstone was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.[39]

Family life[edit]

Posthumous portrait of David Livingstone by Frederick Havill

While Livingstone had a great impact on British Imperialism, he did so at a tremendous cost to his family. In his absences, his children grew up missing their father, and his wife Mary (daughter of Mary and Robert Moffat), whom he wed in 1845, endured very poor health, and died of malaria on 27 April 1862[40] trying to follow him in Africa. He had six children: Robert reportedly died in the American Civil War;[41] Agnes (b. 1847), Thomas, Elizabeth (who died at two months), William Oswell (nicknamed Zouga because of the river along which he was born, in 1851) and Anna Mary (b. 1858). Only Agnes, William Oswell and Anna Mary married and had children.[42] His one regret in later life was that he did not spend enough time with his children.[43]


The archives of David Livingstone are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS). On 11 November 2011, Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary, as well as other original works, was published online for the first time by the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project.[44]

Papers relating to Livingstone's time as a London Missionary Society missionary (including hand-annotated maps of South East Africa) are held by the Archives of the School of Oriental and African Studies.[45]

Places named in his honour and other memorials[edit]

Livingstone in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland


New Zealand[edit]

  • Livingstone Street in Westmere, Auckland
  • Livingstone Road in Flaxmere, Hastings


Livingstone statue, Glasgow
  • The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland, is a museum in his honour.
  • David Livingstone Memorial Primary School in his birthplace, Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
  • David Livingstone Memorial Church of the Church of Scotland, in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
  • A statue of Livingstone is sited in Cathedral Square, Glasgow.
  • A bust of David Livingstone is among those of famous Scotsmen in the William Wallace Memorial near Stirling, Scotland.
  • Strathclyde University, Glasgow (which evolved from Anderson's University, later the Royal College of Science and Technology), commemorates him in the David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability[50] and the Livingstone Tower where there is a statue of him in the building's foyer.
  • The David Livingstone (Anderson College) Memorial Prize in Physiology commemorates him at the University of Glasgow.
  • Livingstone Place, a street in the Marchmont neighbourhood of Edinburgh.
  • Livingstone Street in Addiewell.
  • A memorial plaque commemorating the centenary of Livingstone's birth was dedicated in St. James's Congregational Church, the church he attended as a boy.[51]


  • A statue of David Livingstone stands in a niche on the outer wall of the Royal Geographical Society on Kensington Gore, London, looking out across Kensington Gardens. It was unveiled in 1953[52]


  • The Livingstone Range of mountains in southern Alberta.
  • David Livingstone Elementary School, Vancouver.
  • David Livingstone Community School, Winnipeg.
  • Bronze bust in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • Gold bust in the city of Borden, Ontario.
  • Livingstone Avenue in Barrie, Ontario.


South America[edit]

  • The Livingstone Healthservice in Jardìn Amèrica, Misiones, Argentina is named in his honour.[53]


From 1971–1998 Livingstone's image was portrayed on £10 notes issued by the Clydesdale Bank. He was originally shown surrounded by palm tree leaves with an illustration of African tribesmen on the back.[54] A later issue showed Livingstone against a background graphic of a map of Livingstone's Zambezi expedition, showing the River Zambezi, Victoria Falls, Lake Nyasa and Blantyre, Malawi; on the reverse, the African figures were replaced with an image of Livingstone's birthplace in Blantyre, Scotland.[55]


The following species have been named in honour of David Livingstone:

Portrayal in film[edit]

Livingstone has been portrayed by M.A. Wetherell in Livingstone (1925), Percy Marmont in David Livingstone (1936), Sir Cedric Hardwicke in Stanley and Livingstone (1939), Bernard Hill in Mountains of the Moon (1990) and Sir Nigel Hawthorne in the TV movie Forbidden Territory (1997).[citation needed]

The 1949 comedy film Africa Screams is the story of a dimwitted clerk named Stanley Livington (played by Lou Costello), who is mistaken for a famous African explorer and recruited to lead a treasure hunt. The character's name appears to be a play on Stanley & Livingstone, but with a few crucial letters omitted from the surname; it is unknown whether this results from a typist's error or a deliberate obfuscation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John M. Mackenzie, "David Livingstone: The Construction of the Myth," in Sermons and Battle Hymns: Protestant Popular Culture in Modern Scotland, ed. Graham Walker and Tom Gallagher (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990)
  2. ^ The National Trust for Scotland: David Livingstone Centre, Birthplace Of Famous Scot, website accessed 22 April 2007.
  3. ^ Ross, Andrew C., David Livingstone: Mission and Empire (2002), London: Hambledon, p. 6.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Blaikie, William Garden (1880): The Personal Life of David Livingstone Project Gutenberg E-book #13262, release date 23 August 2004.
  5. ^ a b c A.D. Roberts, "Livingstone, David (1813–1873)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
  6. ^ Blaikie (1880). This sentiment today would be expressed along the lines of: "all people, worldwide, are brothers and sisters, despite everything."
  7. ^ University of Glasgow: Biography of David Livingstone; retrieved 31 October 2007.
  8. ^ Wholesome Words website
  9. ^ a b Stephen Tomkins (2013), David Livingstone, The Unexplored Story, Oxford Lion.
  10. ^ a b c Tim Holmes: "The History" in: Spectrum Guide to Zambia. Camerapix International Publishers, Nairobi (1996)
  11. ^ a b c d Wright, Ed (2008). Lost Explorers. Murdock Books. ISBN 978-1-74196-139-3. 
  12. ^ 'Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone' (2003), Martin Dugard[page needed]
  13. ^ Livingstone, David. "Personal Letter to J. Kirk or R. Playfair". David Livingstone Online. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Project Gutenberg, The Last Journal of David Livingstone; accessed 24 May 2012.
  15. ^ a b Livingstone, David (2012). Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary. A Multispectral Critical Edition, UCLA Digital Library: Los Angeles, California; available here
  16. ^ See also Jeal, Tim (1973). Livingstone, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 331–335.
  17. ^ "Map of Livingstone's travels", National Museums of Scotland. The map is online here (subscription required)
  18. ^ "David Livingstone letter deciphered at last. Four-page missive composed at the lowest point in his professional life". Associated Press. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  19. ^ Livingstone's Letter from Bambarre, emelibrary.org; accessed 4 July 2010.
  20. ^ Henry Morton Stanley. "How I found Livingstone". Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  21. ^ Jeal, Tim (2007). Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer. Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-22102-5. 
  22. ^ a b c David Livingstone and Horace Waller (ed.): The Last Journals of David Livingstone in Central Africa from 1865 to his Death. Two volumes, John Murray, London, 1874.
  23. ^ Tomkins, Stephen. "The African Chief Converted to Christianity by Dr Livingstone". BBC News.
  24. ^ Ross, Andrew (2002), David Livingstone: Mission and Empire, London, UK.
  25. ^ Horne, Silvester (1999). David Livingstone: Man of Prayer and Action. Arlington Heights: Christian Liberty.
  26. ^ Tomkins, Stephen (2013). David Livingstone: The Unexplored Story. Oxford Lion.
  27. ^ Livingstone, David (1912). Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. London: J. Murray.
  28. ^ Tomkins, Stephen (2013), "The African Chief Converted to Christianity by Dr Livingstone", BBC News 
  29. ^ "David Livingstone Medal" (PDF). Chronicles of the London Missionary Society. 1890. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  30. ^ Bradford,Charles Angell (1933). Heart Burial. London: Allen & Unwin. p. 242. ISBN 9-781162-771816. 
  31. ^ Livingstone D, Waller H. The Last Journals of David Livingstone in Central Africa, from 1865 to his Death: Volume II. Cambridge University Press (2011), pp. 242-4. ISBN 1108032621
  32. ^ G. Bruce Boyer (Summer 1996). "On Savile Row". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  33. ^ David Livingstone. Westminster-abbey.org, retrieved October 23, 2015.
  34. ^ Stanley Henry M., How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone. (1871)
  35. ^ David Livingstone (2006). The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Echo Library. p. 46; ISBN 1-84637-555-X
  36. ^ BBC.co.uk/History Historic Figures: "David Livingstone profile" at BBC.co.uk; accessed 1 February 2007.
  37. ^ Corelli Barnett. The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (Macmillan, 1986)
  38. ^ Neill. A History of Christian Missions. p. 315. 
  39. ^ "100 great Britons – A complete list". Daily Mail. 21 August 2002. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  40. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 687. 
  41. ^ Chirgwin, A. M. (1934). "New Light on Robert Livingstone". Journal of the Royal African Society 33 (132): 250–252. JSTOR 716469. 
  42. ^ Steven Wilson. "Livingstone Descendants". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  43. ^ Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power by Niall Ferguson, Basic Books, 2003.
  44. ^ David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project, livingstone.library.ucla.edu; accessed 30 March 2014.
  45. ^ "Images of Livingstone letter now available online". SOAS, University of London. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  46. ^ a b c The Times of Zambia online: "David Livingstone remembered", 15 November 2005 – 23 November 2005; accessed 26 April 2007.
  47. ^ Ian Michler (2007). "Victoria Falls and Surrounds: The Insider's Guide", p. 11
  48. ^ The "Insider's Guide" quoted 1954 which is wrong. The statue was unveiled on 05.08.1934 see photo at: www.rhodesia.me.uk/VictoriaFalls.htm
  49. ^ David Livingstone Clinic webpage
  50. ^ David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability webpage
  51. ^ "David Livingstone – a brief history". Hamilton.urc.org.uk. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  52. ^ The Geographical Journal, Vol. 120, No. 1, Mar. 1954, pp 15-20
  53. ^ Livingstone Healthservice
  54. ^ "Clydesdale 10 Pounds, 1982". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Retrieved 15 October 2008. 
  55. ^ "Clydesdale 10 Pounds, 1990". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Retrieved 15 October 2008. 


  • Milbrandt, Jay (2014). The Daring Heart of David Livingstone: Exile, African Slavery, and the Publicity Stunt that Saved Millions. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1595555922.  scholarly biography
  • Holmes, Timothy (1993). Journey to Livingstone: Exploration of an Imperial Myth. Edinburgh: Canongate Press. ISBN 978-0-86241-402-3; scholarly biography
  • Jeal, Tim (1973). Livingstone. London, UK: Heinemann. ISBN 0-434-37208-0. , scholarly biography
  • Livingstone, David (1905) [1857]. Journeys in South Africa, or Travels and Researches in South Africa. London, UK: The Amalgamated Press Ltd. 
  • Livingstone, David and James I. Macnair (eds) (1954). Livingstone's Travels. London, UK: J.M. Dent.
  • Livingstone, David (1999) [1875]. Dernier Journal. Paris: Arléa; ISBN 2-86959-215-9 (French)
  • Maclachlan, T. Banks. David Livingstone, Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1901, ("Famous Scots Series").
  • Martelli, George (1970). Livingstone's River: A History of the Zambezi Expedition, 1858–1864. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-1527-2
  • Morrill, Leslie, and Madge Haines (1959). Livingstone, Trail Blazer for God. Mountain View: Pacific Press Publication Association.
  • Philip, M. NourbeSe (1991). Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence. Stratford: The Mercury Press; ISBN 978-0-920544-88-4
  • Ross, Andrew C. (2002). David Livingstone: Mission and Empire. London and New York: Hambledon and London; ISBN 978-1-85285-285-6
  • Seaver, George. David Livingston: His Life and Letters (1957), a standard biography
  • Waters, John (1996). David Livingstone: Trail Blazer. Leicester: Inter-Varsity; ISBN 978-0-85111-170-4
  • Wisnicki, Adrian S. (2009). "Interstitial Cartographer: David Livingstone and the Invention of South Central Africa". Victorian Literature and Culture 37.1 (Mar.): 255–71.

External links[edit]