British Empire
The rise of the British empire - Africa
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Title page of a book about the explorer David Livingstone, published in 1871
(The British Library/Heritage-Images)
  • This source is the title page from a book about Dr David Livingstone published in 1871.
  • David Livingstone (who lived from 1813 to 1873) was a Scottish doctor, anti-slavery campaigner and missionary. He spent most of his working life in Africa.
  • Livingstone hoped to end the continuing slave trade in Africa by opening up the interior to honest trade and development. He published his diaries describing his journeys in 1856. The book was called 'Missionary Travels'. It was an instant best seller. He made two more long journeys through the African interior.
  • Livingstone discovered the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls in 1855. His next great journey was to try to find the source of the River Nile. All contact with him was lost for some time. He was eventually found in 1870 by Henry Morton Stanley, an American journalist. Stanley met him with the famous words: 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?'
  • The two explored together for some time but Livingstone wanted to continue his search for the sources of the Nile. He died on 30 April 1873 in Chitambo. His heart was buried in Africa, and his body was brought back to England and buried in Westminster Abbey.
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