Edward Steere

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lithograph of Edward Steere

Edward Steere (1828 - 26 August 1882) was an English Anglican colonial bishop in the 19th century.[1]

He was educated at London University and ordained in 1850.[2] After curacies in Devon and Lincolnshire, he joined William Tozer (Bishop in Central Africa) on a mission to Nyasaland in 1863.[3] He was appointed Bishop in Central Africa[4] in 1874 and died on 26 August 1882.[5]

Edward Steere spent several years in Zanzibar, 1864–68, 1872–74, and 1877–82. In 1873 he placed the foundation stone at Christ Church, Zanzibar, in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The cathedral was based on a vision of Edward Steere's who actively contributed to the design; its unique concrete roof shaped in an unusual barrel vault was Steere's idea. Edward Steere also worked with David Livingstone to abolish slavery in Zanzibar. He is buried behind the altar in the church.[6] David Livingstone's aides James Chuma and Abdullah Susi also were part of an expedition lead by Steere. Chuma was captain of the expedition and both men acted as interpreters.[7]

Steere was a considerable linguist and published works on several East African languages and dialects, including Shambala, Yao, Nyamwezi, and Makonde. But he is especially known for his work on Swahili, publishing a Handbook of Swahili in 1870, and he also translated or revised the translation into Swahili of a large part of the Bible.[8]


  1. ^ Zanzibar Christians
  2. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Aug 29, 1882; pg. 6; Issue 30598; col D Obituary
  3. ^ Heanley, R. M. A Memoir of Edward Steere, D.D. Ll.D., Third Missionary Bishop in Central Africa. (see External links).
  4. ^ Ranger, Terence O.; Kimambo, Isaria N. (1976). The Historical Study of African Religion. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03179-1.
  5. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Sep 19, 1882; pg. 4; Issue 30616; col F Bishop Steere And His Work
  6. ^ 'Workers at the church'
  7. ^ Waller, Horace (1876). "Paths into the Slave Preserves of East Africa". LSE Selected Pamphlets: 9–23. JSTOR 60221873.
  8. ^ Dictionary of National Biography entry; see External links below.


External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
William Tozer
Bishop in Central Africa
1874 –1882
Succeeded by
Charles Alan Smythies