Talk:Henry Morton Stanley

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About Leopold II[edit]

Whoever provided input here also added to Leopold II and it is nothing more than an angry diatribe that has no place in an encyclopedia. The cruel behaviour of certain nations and its leaders to its citizens and of those they conquered, is not limited to Europe. Exploitation and cruelty is well documented as far back as the early Egyptians etc.etc. and it is not necessary to use Wikipedia as a place to voice ones anger....DW

I respect the principle of "NPOV", but one can hardly remain neutral on King Leopold II, any more than one can on Adolf Hitler. Except that the former's victims where nearly all blacks and the latter's nearly all whites, what's the real difference?
I realize that being white isn't a necessity for being a monster; see Idi Amin or Mao Zedong. But portraying Leopold II in a negative light is not white-bashing or Belgian-bashing, it's just the truth. 15:27, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Not clear what prompted this, but in any case, we have to be equally neutral on everybody, no matter how monstrous. If we open the door to "angry diatribes", then there's no way to stop everybody politicizing everything in WP. It's already a lot of work to keep the Kerry and Bush articles from descending into polemics. Stan 16:52, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)
What Stan said -- leaving aside the uselessness of declaring anyone who ever killed anyone as 'just like Hitler' -- a statement which shows a distinct lack of imagination as far as just how low the twentieth century's monsters, from Hitler to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot stooped, as well as to just how successful each of these men were in their depradations -- the job of an encyclopedia is to inform people so that they can make their own decisions, not to decide for them. Otherwise, we might as well just have two articles -- "people the esteemed editors approve of" and "Hitler". jimwise

Zrinski waterfalls?[edit]

I can't find anything about the "Zrinski waterfalls" on the "River Kwil". Can anyone verify if they're still called that? And is the Kwil what we now call the Kwila?

Can't verify, but found the probable source [1]. - Hephaestos|§ 03:21, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Also couldn't verify but since I've been copyediting zillions of Croatian-related pages, this aroused my curiousity. After quite a bit of poking around on the internet, I found a few reference to Kwil, about the same number to Kwila or Kwilu, and finally in a round-about way, a whole bunch to Kouilou (none of which were particularly helpful). So then I looked it up in Britannica and was able to extract some actual information, including the fact that there are apparently MANY waterfalls on that river. I'm not going to keep going to try to find names for all of them. So I created Kouilou-Niari River and will start adjusting links. Elf | Talk 02:21, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Violent continent?[edit]

I pulled the bolded part of the following sentence out of the article, pending clarification or rewording:

"In later years he spent much energy defending himself against charges that his African expeditions had been marked by callous violence and brutality remarkable even in that violent continent."

It seems to me that NPOV can do without this addition. - Mark Dingemanse (talk) 20:22, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, the phrase is a little purple - it would be good to retain some of the sense, because by today's standards almost every expedition was pretty violent, and Stanley's were only notable for being more so than the usual. The whole subject of expedition operation might be articleworthy in fact, hmm. Stan 21:46, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Note that I only removed the bolded part. It think it is good to say something about the violent character of his expeditions; I only objected to Africa being designated 'that violent continent' - it sounds like Stanley himself. As for the articleworthyness: sure! It's an interesting subject. Makes me think of Wikiproject Countering Systemic Bias. We have too few articles like that. - Mark Dingemanse (talk) 22:30, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Assuming the Stanley name[edit]

As far as I can understand this book, HMS assumed the "Stanley" name from cotton trader Henry Stanley whom he met in New Orleans after his voyage to USA. --Dittaeva 11:37, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think you're right. Change it. geert

Pounds or Dollars?[edit]

Just a nitpick, but would an American newspaper have told him to draw a thousand pounds? I'll crawl back under my rock, now. Mons-meg 15:10, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Based on Stanleys own accounts in How I Found Livingstone, he was told to draw pounds. / Ezeu 12:34, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
I assume the currency to be drawn would depend on the currency most easily used where Stanley was, not where his employer was, right?

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jimwise (talkcontribs) 16:52, 26 March 2007 (UTC).


The text says he was a Unionist member of Parliament. Unionist? Was it the Scottish Unionist Party or was he a Tory (though then it would not be Unionist, would it?) Ben T/C 12:54, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

He was a Liberal Unionist, sir. They (Liberal Unionists) were in an alliance with the Conservatives at that time, but they did not become 'merged' with them until in 1912.--Anglius 00:08, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

He was the inspiration for Kurtz in the film Apocolypse Now[edit]

You might know that Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' was the inspiration for the film Apocolypse Now. Well, if you read the book, and the notes that go with it, you'll find that the Marlon Brando/Kurtz character is based on an explorer who uses the darkest most violent methods in the pursuit of his aims. In the book its all about empire making and access to Ivory. Conrad wrote the book at the time when Stanley was doing his bit around Africa, and the notes, by Conrad biographers, suggest that he based his charecter on Stanley.

Kurtz's character much more closely resembles Force Publique commander Leon Rom than he does Stanley. Adam Hochschild talks about this at great length in King Leopold's Ghost.Robespierre2120 (talk) 07:53, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Stanley's gravestone in the church at Pirbright is massive - a 10 foot megalith that dwarfs everything around it. Also interesting is that as a local landowner he named the local streams and ponds after his discoveries in Africa.

Stanley's African name "Bulu Matari" is often translated as "sledgehammer." - make of that what you will.

17:40, 7 March 2007 (UTC)Wanderjahr0101==Served both sides in the U.S. Civil War?== How did that happen? There's an episode that deserves to be fleshed out, imho. --Davecampbell 02:16, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

In Hall's book, Stanley: An Adventurer Explored, it details the circumstances. From what I remember, he was a Welsh shopkeeper living in Arkansas (?) who got caught up in the adventurous promise of war, and joined the Confederacy. It is suggested he may have even joined to impress a local young belle. Stanley's first battle was at Shiloh, where he was promptly captured by the Union army. He was then shipped off to a P.O.W. prison in Illinois, where after living in disease and filth for a few weeks, he took the Union up on a bargain it offered to all the prisoners: sign on with the Union Army, and you will be set free at war's end. Although he was sentimentally attached to the South, as that was where he was living, he was a poor landless southerner, with no family ties and little interest for the Confederacy's economic dependence on slavery. So, Stanley marched out of prison as a Union soldier. Then he fell ill with dysentary he had picked up at the POW camp and was left by the side of the road to die by his unit. Obviously, he lived on, but this marked the end of Stanley's military career.

I think this sentence "discovered the Ruwenzori Range" should be changed to:

"was the first white man to see the Ruwenzori Range"

The Africans living around the Ruwenzori Range and Lake Edward were well aware that the mountains and lake existed before Stanley arrived on the scene. Thank you.

Actually a couple of the other officers on his expedition "discovered" them well before Stanley, so he should not even be credited with being the first white man to see them. They even noted in their journals how Stanley took credit for them when he saw them a few weeks after they had seen them without him (the expedition split up several times). I think the entire account of the relief expedition reads like Stanley's own defense of his actions, Jameson, Bartelett, Stairs & Jepheson tell very different accounts of what went wrong, putting much of the blame on Stanley. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aapold (talkcontribs) 13:59, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
It isn't enough to merely see something in order to discover it - people were catching colds for several years before the cold virus was discovered. Discovery implies reporting the thing discovered - something the local inhabitants hadn't done, for obvious reason. (I wonder if this implies that New York has yet to be discovered?) PiCo (talk) 00:12, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Generally speaking, quite a few of supposed "discoveries" by white explorers would not meet the standard you set there. For example (and I acknowledge this is not about Stanley himself), Samuel Teleki has been frequently credited with discovering Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya. Yet, as I have shown in the article on him, the presence of this lake was well known thousands of miles away.


I have a photo from Kisangani (taken before the overthrow) of a bust of Henry Morton Stanley with the years 1840-1904 engraved on the column. I don't know who made the monument, but was this a mistake on their part, or was his year of birth under speculation? Thanks, Meateatingvegan 17:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

According to this site, Henry Morton Stanley was born June 10th 1940. An eye wittness is quoting Stanley's coffin plate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

This article is wrong[edit]

Stanley is known for his brutal techniques against Africans. He used slaved and called Africans savages.

This article portrays only his good side. It shouldn't be added to the CD without that information being mentioned.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Sosha (talkcontribs)

Indeed its quite true Stanley was a bigot and quite harsh even in the 1800's, he even enjoyed shooting africans remarking "six shots and four kills!" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

The recent, and apparently very authoritative bigraphy of him (by Tim Jeal), suggests that far from being one of the most brutal of Victorian explorers, Stanley was actually less brutal than many contemporaries. His fault, suggests Jeal, was to both admit in print (unlike others) that people had been killed in the course of his explorations and that he exaggerated the deaths in his reports. His diaries (supported by others on his expeditions) suggest a lower total which was exaggerated for reasons the Jeal clearly explains.

Jeal's book also makes it clear that Stanley went to great lengths to avoid conflict where possible - sometimes at risk to himself and against the advice of his fellow travellers. As for his attitude towards slavery, Stanley, says Jeal, was a strong opponent of this evil.

I think the best that can be said regarding HMS on this topic is that he was a man of his times and his views while obviously wrong by today's standards, were perhaps progressive for his time. However, and even considering his words about recognizing black people as equals, he himself admits to treating blacks in a way that he would never ever treated white men. Where else does he describe a white person as having; "face was rugged, his mouth large, his eyes small, and his nose flat"? Where else does he describe any group of Europeans as "syphilitic, blear-eyed, pallid-skinned, abortion?" Where else does Stanley physically beat white people as a way of correcting them? Where else does he punch a white person for disobedience, insolence or whatever?

For every sentence where he claimed to accept a black person as equal to a white person, Stanley himself offers plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Tapaculos (talk) 20:34, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Jeal's biography is the only known biography that questions Stanlye's actions. Other evidence (as summarised in Sven Lindqvist's 'Exterminate the Brutes') shows that Stanley's brutal nature was always for commercial reasons. For example, upon his 'rescue' of Emin Pasha, he chose a route which would be more commercially exploitative and ended up randomly shooting anyone who was in his way. Whether or not Stanley was better than the rest or not, he was a typical colonialist, and in the Congo that meant kill, abuse and destroy. This article is biased in that it refrains from mentioning these criticisms. ( (talk) 09:00, 7 May 2009 (UTC))

User:lenny2894 I strongly disagree on that score. Jeal's book is extremely well sourced, containing a great deal of material from Belgian archives previously inaccessible to historians, and includes extensive justification for Stanley's most controversial actions (the massacre at Bumbireh, etc). Also, refraining to mention modern opinions on colonialism hardly makes an article "biased" towards an article on Stanley, who after all predated colonialism in Africa. Given that we're concerned with the facts only, I really think this article is heavily biased against Stanley, rather than for him, as it contains lots of unnecessarily emotive language implying the man was evil without really giving evidence. There also are a few points where Stanley is portrayed as condoning slavery or similar nonsense. He was fanatically against the institution, according to almost every work concerning him, beginning with the Biography written by his wife a few years after his death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lenny2894 (talkcontribs) 08:53, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

A lot of the "emotive" language currently in article (as of now), actually comes from Stanley's writing himself. As I asked above, if his claims of accepting black men as his equal is to be taken as such, what then explains the extra harshness and the language used on Africans? Never once did Stanley employ such measures against his white companions.

user:robespierre2120 to be fair, while Jeal's book may use a number of Belgian sources, it is not beyond the pale to question whether these sources might purposefully present Stanley's actions in a much more positive light than other contemporary sources. True, colonialism in Africa was brutal and cruel all around, but even among European African explorers, Stanley enjoyed a rather critical reputation. I have added a reference to a statement made by Burton to this end that "Stanley shoots negroes as if they were monkeys." It would benefit this article greatly to present both sides of the arguments regarding Stanley's actions. Certainly, some of the references to Jeal's book make Stanley sound like Leopold's innocent puppet in the Congo, which is at odds with other modern scholarship on the subject, like Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost which has a great deal of information on Stanley and was surprisingly not referenced at all in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Robespierre2120 (talkcontribs) 07:43, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

user:robespierre2120 in addition, Jeal's book is not the "is the only known biography that questions Stanlye's [sic] actions." Consider John Bierman's Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley, which is referenced in Hochschild. Robespierre2120 (talkcontribs) 26 august 2010

Book as ref[edit]

As a Wikipedia novice, can you tell me if it would be possible to have a book I have just had published added as a reference to the H M Stanley wikipedia entry? The book is called `Blood River - A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart' and describes my attempt to cross the Congo using the route pioneered by Stanley in the 1870s. As the author, you won't be surprised to hear me say it is a good reference for Stanley. Not wanting to tarnish Wiki's reputation for fairness and objectivity, is there any editor/editorial process I can submit to that would assess Blood River's acceptability? Tim Butcher —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Stanley Electric[edit]

Someone is purposely mixing up their Stanley's. Stanley Electric was named after William Stanley, Jr. who had nothing to do with Africa. if there is no convincing reply within a few days, I will remove this highly erroneous link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobkeyes (talkcontribs) 03:42, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Go ahead. This entry is superfluous. JoJan (talk) 09:30, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


The Welsh Wikipedia says Jan 29 as DoB, this English Jan 28. Do the Welsh have a different calendar? -DePiep (talk) 12:15, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

The National Library of Wales states 28 January 1841 as his birthday (see : [2]). JoJan (talk) 15:23, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

I need help[edit]

Please give me a understanding of these following questions

NAtionality Name How? MOtivation When

for mr henry stanley and NO SPAM OR RUDE COMMENTS —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Thoroughbred Stallion[edit]

I'd like to underline this section as according to the book "Into Africa: The epic adventures of Stanley and Livingstone" his horse (actually there were 2 at the beginning of the expedition) died due to a parasite infection of some sort. In the book it is mentioned that John Kirk the english council in zanzibar indeed curse his horses to deaths predicting they wouldnt last more than 2 days with the arrousing of the tse-tse flies.. despite his predictions, to Stanle's please, both horses did not died so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Why the capitalization of Livingstone's response?[edit]

Just wondering what the reasoning is for Livingstone to reply in all caps. Is that the way it was originally printed in the Herald? I haven't been able to find an original copy and various sources seem to differ in the recounting of the actual conversation. Flovalflyer (talk) 22:50, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, since there is no source for this uppercase appearance, I'll change it into regular case. -DePiep (talk) 13:07, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

source this[edit]

"As the one white man stranded in the middle of black Africa, without local geographical knowledge, maps, or other information, Stanley's survival looked grim. Soon, the remaining men were actively plotting his death and theft of the remaining baggage. To stay alive he immediately set about showing his power by taking stern measures, including flogging deserters. Indeed, the customs of enforcing their authority amongst the common people by both Arab slavers and local Chieftains was considered barbarous by contemporary Western standards.

However, it was the only means of survival and his diaries are clear in stating the measures taken could only be considered brutal from the standpoint of civilized Victorian standards not the customs of Africa. Many missionaries of the day practiced tactics no less brutal than his, and Stanley's diaries show that he had in fact exaggerated the brutal treatment of his carriers in his books to pander to the taste of his Victorian public."

Such statements cannot stay in Wikipedia unattributed. Elinruby (talk) 08:41, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

At least some of the material that you removed is supported by the citation [John Carey (18 March 2007). "A good man in Africa?". The Sunday Times. London. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 2007-11-15. ] at the end of the next sentence after the material you removed. Citations at the end of a paragraph often apply to most or all of the paragraph. Did you consult that citation before removing all that material? I will say that the citation is not the best possible, as it is to a book review, and it would be better to cite the book itself. -- Donald Albury 11:11, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Apart from the first sentence it's perfectly fine. The book review is not too bad, though admittedly a little overwrought, as a source. It is instantly verifiable, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the person removing the factual statements above didn't bother to do so. Nevard (talk) 23:39, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Addition of unsourced opinion[edit]

I saw the message you just sent me about my edit. What I stated is that certain language is ABSENT from Stanley's books. How am i supposed to cite that? Is that not a fact as plain as saying that, "by default, asphalt/tarmac is not red"? I also noticed a curious lack of interest to remove claims which are uncited and which do not portray HMS in a bad light. In any case, the comment I am adding is a statement of fact as observable as saying that the sky is blue. Do you need a citation for that too? Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:192:8200:1920:E46A:802B:9480:A962 (talk) 11:28, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Unfortunately many articles contain potentially contentious uncited material but while we work on slowly cleaning such material up, we also need to prevent any more uncited material being added. There is a perfectly acceptable way to introduce such material and this is by finding an authoritative source that make the case that you are trying to put forward. The statement that you added said :

However, it is curious to note that Stanley did not use the level of extremely negative and vitriolic language against white people such as he did while describing Africans. In the example provided above regarding half-castes, it is interesting to note that he was not talking about punishments or any wrong done to him, merely describing an entire group of people and doing so in a most negative way.


Perhaps if another editor sees thius, they can find an appropriate source to support it and re-add it. Regards  Velella  Velella Talk   11:58, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

I noticed a peculiar pattern, whenever I add a sentence/quote/paragraph or whatever, as long as that content is apparently negative towards HMS (and also cited), there is always an effort from one or two people to have the last word and try to reverse my content. The other observation is that despite the fact that there are other phrases/claims/sentences that are not quoted in the articles bout HMS,those are left as they are and my antagonists do not get bothered by them. But anything apparently negative to HMS gets hot under our collars and we feel the need to "correct" them asap.

Lastly, how exactly do you cite a negative? For example, if I were to say that the night sky is not red, does that have to be cited? Is that not an easily observable fact? My sentence in HMS' article is the logical equivalent of saying the same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:192:8200:1920:E46A:802B:9480:A962 (talk) 17:32, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

This is all very curious. You have made three , more or less identical edits to the article. The very first one here appears to be a rebuttal yet there is no earlier edit. Of all those editors who are seeking "to have the last word", I assume that I must be one, and the other is an IP from Virginia. No exactly a cabal of editors, nor much of an effort. I note that you have also removed a statement which I am sure could be easily supported by a ref here. I have explained my reasoning so perhaps it is time for you to explain why you cannot assume good faith of two other editors? Perhaps now is the time to revert your unreferenced addition or provide an authoritative source please.  Velella  Velella Talk   19:44, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

First, I am not going to remove the last edit because as I said earlier, you cannot cite a negative. Can you respond to that (because I went to some length to explain what I mean).

Second, I have added back that sentence in different ways but retained the same meaning. This is because I sometimes did it from memory and it is not possible to retain the exact same phrase. Other people too have modified it.

Third. I am assuming the best motives on your art but I noticed you did a classic sidestep on the thrust of what I inferred up there. You avoided it. Let me rephrase it; what explains the fact that 100% of my edits (even when cited from HMS' own writings) always have to get a follow-up phrase/rebuttal from you and/or whoever else? Every single one of them. Meanwhile, other unsourced claims are left there for years. What explains both? Even when I have some follow-up to the "rebuttal"; like clockwork, someone comes up after me to get the last word.

Lastly, why is it that this is happening to information I add which does not portray HMS in good light vis-à-vis his treatment of Africans. Is it too unreasonable for me to see a pattern? To me, I do see a certain patter (you obviously disagree) that to a degree that does not scream of good faith— Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:192:8200:1920:B43A:3273:B009:EE4B (talk) 20:22, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Editorial Issues[edit]

The section titled New country, New name is in violation of wikipedias anti-editorial policy. If someone could see to revising it. Briwivell (talk) 19:53, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Finding source of the nile.[edit]

Stanley did not find the source of the nile, in his journeys after livingstone he circumnavigated Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika, in an attempt to confirm theories of Livingstone and Specke, however never actually found the "source". According "Into Africa" by Martin Dugard the source was not "found" until the advent of satellite imagery showed the furthest branches originating in Burundi.

The page here ( details some journeys which show this: The source they were looking for was in Burundi, not Lake Victoria. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes. What he did was disproving that the upper Congo (Lualaba) was the Nile. He could say: "This is not the source of the Nile" DePiep (talk) 13:15, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

He apparently deserted instead of being given a discharge in 1862[edit]

According to the September 2015 issue of "America's Civil War" (page 56) published by historynet, Stanley lied about being medically discharged and he was in fact officially listed as a deserter from his Union Army outfit on August 31, 1862. (talk) 13:54, 7 July 2016 (UTC)