Talk:David Livingstone

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David Livingstone and His Convert Sechele[edit]

Lake Victoria[edit]

Wasn't Lake Victoria the source of the Nile? Why did I find Lake Victoria, and then a few years later start looking for the source of the Nile? Is the article wrong? Or did Livingstone not know that he had already found it? --dave

As I recall, he (and numerous others) thought/hoped that Lake Victoria was just yet another intermediate source. They were looking for the source of Lake Victoria (and hence the Nile), or else to discover that Lake Victoria flowed into something else, not the Nile, and that the "real" source would be something different. (Everybody wanted to be the man who discovered the ultimate source. Great kudos in that. Speke had already done it by then, but no-one really knew it for sure, and everyone was still arguing.)
If I remember correctly, it wasn't until several years after Livingstone's death that the Bakers finally travelled all the way up the Nile from Egypt to Lake Victoria and finally proved it beyond all reasonable doubt. But it's been 15 years or so since I last read this stuff, so don't take anything above as gospel! I'd have to check. Tannin
Interesting, thanks! --Dave
The Bakers only got to Lake Albert, although that was interesting because nobody had suspected its existence. Stanley was the one who filled in the remaining mysteries, which included showing that the Lualaba was in the Congo watershed and did not connect to the Nile anywhere. Stan 08:32 Mar 9, 2003 (UTC)

No mention of missionary work[edit]

This article is surprising in that it discusses the biography of a well-known Christian missionary, who repeatedly categorized his endeavors as being religiously motivated, yet hardly a word is spared for his missionary endeavors. The apparent exclusion of his missionary focus robs the article of context that would be useful in an understanding of his life and motivation. It may be the subjective opinion of the authors that his political and economic efforts were more notable, but certainly in his opinion and writings, he placed more emphasis on his proselytization. An article on his life should be expected to place proportionate emphasis on major events in his missionary career, as well as his accomplishments as an explorer. Oddly enough, his failures (real or alleged) seem to be highlighted more than his successes.I am related to him. (talk) 20:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC) . I am related to him too. (talk) 07:46, 5 November 2014 (UTC) Livingstone's missionary work was insignificant, and estimates for the number of people he converted to Christianity range between 1 and zero. The article does mention that the London Missionary Society dropped him, because he subordinated his missionary work to other concerns. (talk) 09:00, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Livingstone's education

The Wikipedia article does not mention that David Livingstone was taught Latin by an Irish Catholic priest, Fr. Daniel Gallagher, Parish Priest of St. Simon's church in Partick, Glasgow. This helped him gain admission to the college to study medicine. This event is commemorated in a mural on the interior wall of the hall attached to the back of St. Simon's Church, Partick Bridge St., Partick, Glasgow. I am a parishioner there and it is a matter of pride to the parish. Liamwaldron (talk) 00:14, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree, there is a lot lost in the article by leaving out his missionary work. Granted I only heard the story for the first time during a podcast I was listening to today. I thought it was an inspiring journey until I read this article. Very bland, almost cruel in its portrayal. But I would imagine on the flip side, if we did include more on his missionary work the secularists would have a heart attack and cry foul, or worse, start a rediculous criticsm revert war like they've done on the Dave Ramsey page. Wikipedia, being multi-culteral, we have to accomodate everybody. It does raise questions though. You would think there would be a way of relating "what the subject believed or believes" without having a dozen editors who happen to disagree with the subjects principals go out of their way to include their counter-argument. (because its always a controversy, and you gotta show *both sides*)--Arkcana 07:01, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

The end of Charles Livingstone[edit]

Can someone fix this sentence: "The other Europeans, including Livingstone's brother Charles (the one exception -- George Rae, an engineer) either died, resigned, or were fired by Livingstone." The parenthetical is ugly, but more importantly it's unclear as to whether Charles died, resigned or was fired. Presumably died since this is most noteworthy, but we can't be sure. Curious (i.e. morbidly obsessed) readers are gonna want to know. I didn't find a credible answer in my first page of Google searches, so I'll leave it to our WP experts. --User:Chinasaur

Heart in Africa[edit]

Was his heart literally buried in Africa? [[User:Rhymeless|Rhymeless | (Methyl Remiss)]] 10:34, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That's what I've always heard and a google search confirms Mydotnet 17:50, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

Would it be ok to stick it back in with a less sentimental ending - 'the natives buried his heart in Africa' or something?Mydotnet 18:43, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

All his internal organs were removed (or the body would have rotted; practical not sentimental). I have a source here which claims they were eaten not buried though. Justinc 01:34, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
Agree. In the book: David Livingstone: Dernier Journal, 1999 Eds. Arléa ISBN 2-86959-449-6 this is discussed. To conserve his body for transport, his heart and other organs were taken out, put in an iron box and buried four feet deep close to the place where he died. The body was conserved by replacing his internal organs by salt and pouring 'eau-de-vie' in his mouth.... there is more to say on this part... Would you think this should be mentioned in the article? I could work it out. --User:AAM | Talk 13:44, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
The current story about his body being claimed by Britain right after his death appears like pure fantasy to me and should be removed in my opinion. Much more likely a tribal tradition, as I've seen mentioned, or as user AAM says, a practicality. JMK (talk) 07:48, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Zambesi vs Zambezi[edit]

I suggest that, for the sake of consistensy, we use the spelling Zambezi (most used English spelling) instead of Zambesi. --Ezeu 19:32, 14 October 2005 (UTC)


When did he lose contact with the "outside" world? It says six years, but six years prior to 1871 was 1865. This says he was in London and India in 1865. It also says that he was known to be alive in 1867 (letters and a search expedition). FireWorks 02:24, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Chuma and Susi[edit]

These two loyal staff of David Livingstone i.e. Chuma and Susi appear in this article and many other writings on Dr Livingstone I have come across. Is it possible to shed more light-origin,ethnicity etc about them?

Comments made by[edit]

An anonymous user ( recently put comments in the article, inappropriate but probably not intended as vandalism. The comments seemed valuable, you can see those edits in the revision difference here   /   Ezeu 08:12, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Lack of personal insight[edit]

This article suffers from a lack of insight as to Dr. Livingstone's views, other than "Christianity, Commerce and Civilization." It would be nice to see a bit more detail here (I will research this if I have time). It seems like he existed at a pivotal time (the African colonization / exploitation rush) but with a seemingly more altruistic motive than, say, Cecil Rhodes.

Cause of death[edit]

Why is bowel obstruction mentioned as one of the causes of his death? Are there reliable sources for that? In his last journal he mentions he suffers from attacks of dysenteria, that this causes a lot of blood loss that was weakening him. He also writes on his malaria problem that he suppresses with quinine.--User:AAM | Talk 14:13, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Changed bowel obstruction into dysentery. I found no reference justifying bowel obstruction and see above: he writes himself that he has dysentery close to the end of his life. --User:AAM | Talk 21:00, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Dr.Livingstone, I presume?[edit]

Dr.Livingstone, I presume?- is a famous line that was spoken by Henry Morton Stanley, a fellow missionary of David Livingstone from Britain. This statement is said to have indirectly influence Imperial forces to occupy Africa and eventually promote slavery of native Africans.The mian target of slaves were the small civilized villages of western and central Africa.

Stanley wasn't a missionary, he was a reporter. It was the words of Livingstone which promoted the Scramble for Africa, the slave trade had been made illegal decades before. PhilipPage 22:34, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
How did that statement apart from their meeting possibly influence the British decision to colonise? That seems thoroughly absurd to me, as does the article's introductory sentence, which apparently reduces the seriousness of the article's subject. I would like to see that sentence changed; I know that I (who know very little about Livingstone) do not best remember Livingstone by that quote. A.G. Pinkwater 01:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)


This page has been badly vandalised. Can someone please fix it? I don't know how to flag things.

Fixed, reverted to the version of Frito. --User:AAM | Talk 19:45, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

life of livingstone[edit]

david is a very interesting man.i like that about him!

Livingstone and the slave trade[edit]

I feel the article is crying out for a section with this heading. All Livingstone biographies deal with his anti-slave trade stance which was influential in Britain and the US, yet there's no mention of it. There is a mention of him accepting help from slave traders in one sentence (which shouldn't be in the illness section because he accepted help in 1867-8 before he fell ill). It's potentially controversial. So I have added a heading and section on slavery and moved the 'accepting help' part there, with names dates and references.Rexparry sydney 02:19, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Frequent vandalism -- time to protect page?[edit]

Page has been vandalised a dozen times in the last month, so it might be time to ask for it it to be protected. Rexparry sydney 21:28, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

As of April 2007 this has declined and seems manageable. Rexparry sydney 00:01, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Updating page[edit]

Not sure about Wiki etiquette, but I'd say the references to Livingstone's education need updated... The Squirrel Anatomy is obviously a joke and most folk will spot it but it was Anderson College he studied at, not Glasgow University - as can be read in Tim Jeal's 1973 biography...Kennethshand 17:23, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

If you have authoritative sources and you see obvious errors, the etiquette is just to be bold and fix it. The article is a good one from the point of view of showing the way references are done. This is a good introduction to nuts and bolts of editing the page. Don't forget the edit summary to let people know what you're doing. Happy editing --Stephen Burnett 17:38, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Also page references Livingstone's wife twice, once dying of malaria, and once of an alcohol related illness???

Canadian Context[edit]

It's great that Wikipedia would include various honours named after David Livingstone from around the world, as well as various pop-culture references, but I wanted to add one more in the Canadian context-- that of the Livingstone range of the Rocky Mountains, in southern Alberta.

Thanks very much,

David MacKenzie —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Four years later, done. The Interior (Talk) 01:07, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Jean-Luc Picard's fish[edit]

It says "he fish seen in the background of Captain Picard's ready room in the popular television series "Star Trek The Next Generation" is named Livingston after the famous explorer." Does it really have a different spelling to the man? Salopian (talk) 16:58, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


I don't really know why this article is under siege of some stupid jokers. I was shocked to discover that Livingstone was Gary Coleman crusader and his gayness as an explorer was (...). Maybe it will be good idea to protect this article somehow. Also, there are some errors which I don't know how to fix. Can somebody deal with them? Einfall (talk) 08:56, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I think it's OK now. Thanks for helping to clean up vandalism. Korg (talk) 12:41, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I've never edited this site before, but i know that david livingstone was not killed by black entertainment television. i just dont want to ruin anything by changing it, can someone remove this, or is this talk page long forgotten?i really hope im not abusing the request for comment function, but this website is enormously complex and it took me an hour just to find that, hopefully the issue is resolved.Gannon 34 (talk) 04:16, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Hello, and welcome to Wikipedia! And thank you for drawing attention to this vandalism. It's been corrected now. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:12, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

"After the Kolobeng mission had to be 2m is cool and jonny is cool red the African interior to the north, in the period 1852–56," Does anyone else see something slightly wrong with this? (talk) 09:14, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for reporting this vandalism. It has now been fixed. -- Donald Albury 12:45, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

New images from the London Missionary Society[edit]

Around 1900 the London Missionary Society produced a series of magic lantern slides depicting the efforts of Livingstone, and as pseudonymous UK works these are now public domain. They're all high resolution, although they generally need cropping for in-article use.

Feel free to use any that you find relevant and useful. Dcoetzee 23:32, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Letter recently deciphered[edit]

Please see:

Other sources should be available and considered for inclusion. ----moreno oso (talk) 16:11, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, this would be a fascinating addition.--Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 16:26, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Cause of death?[edit]

I read that the actual cause of death was his voluntary consumption (at the end when he was very sick) of calomel, a mercury compound. Is that true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:43, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Song: What About Livingstone[edit]

The song 'What About Livingstone' was written and performed by ABBA, not as otherwise stated in this article; 'Peter Blake' was an English artist, not a Swedish pop performer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I have boldly removed the whole trivia section. If we are to include all the utterances of "Dr. X, I presume" in popular culture, another article will be needed. If anyone feels strongly about any of those entries, let's find a reliable source that asserts significance. The Interior (Talk) 01:05, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Journal of Dr. Stanley's encounter with Livingstone[edit]

So this website: is very reputable, and has a different and what appears to be a more accurate transcript of the conversation between the two men. The quotation in the article should probably be replaced with this one. Correct me if I'm wrong. Mike44456 (talk) 22:57, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Lacuna in biography?[edit]

The section Exploration of southern and central Africa begins with: "After the Kolobeng mission had to be closed because of drought, he explored the African interior to the north...". How he wound up at the mission, or even a simple explanation of what the mission was all about, is never given. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 17:33, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Archives section errors[edit]

The "archives" section states that Livingstone's papers are in the University of Glasgow Archives, however, searching their online catalog I can find no evidence of this.

Livingstoneonline, which is a scholarly website that has collocated digitized versions of his papers, has a list of locations of his papers here which include: National Archives of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe Livingstone Museum, Livingstone, Zambia Brenthurst Library, Johannesburg School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Royal Geographical Society The British Library, London Rhodes House Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford David Livingstone Centre at Blantyre And add that "However, the most significant custodian of Livingstone's manuscripts is the National Library of Scotland."

Sorry, I'm not a Wikipedian (I'm a librarian) otherwise I'd try to fix this myself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

interesting article[edit]

thanks for an informative article. I actually found it somewhat amusing, e.g. Livingstone reported by one of his companions as being "out of his mind" etc. I've got to say Livingstone certainly showed perseverance. If you don't admire him for anything else, you've got to admire the guy's doggedness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Livingston's cichlid, Nimbochromis livingstonii[edit]

I've verified that the above animal's common name is indeed "Livingston's cichlid" -- which led me, in turn, to wonder if it was actually named after Livingstone, whose name, obviously, is spelled differently. The only reference I could find was a blog that may well have copied it from this article. It's a small point, but if anyone has a reliable source verifying that it was in fact named after Livingstone -- and if so, why his name was misspelled, and never corrected -- it would put this minor issue to bed and supply an additional source for the article. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:56, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:David Livingstone/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Needs more reference citations, and article could be expanded as well. Badbilltucker 23:31, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 23:31, 14 November 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 12:58, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

How did they get Livingstone's body back to the UK?[edit]

His body would have started to decompose very quickly. Any container he was put into would have leaked and the smell would of course, become overpowering. So they must have done something with the body prior to taking it on the long journey back home. Did they just take his bones? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

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