Livingstone, David

Livingstone, David

biographical name


David Livingstone, oil painting by F. Havill after photographs; in the National Portrait Gallery, …—Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

(born March 19, 1813, Lanarkshire, Scot.—died May 1, 1873, Chitambo, Barotseland) Scottish missionary and explorer in Africa. Of working-class origins, Livingstone studied theology and medicine in Glasgow before being ordained (1840) and deciding to work in Africa to open up the interior for colonization, extend the Gospel, and abolish the slave trade. By 1842 he had already penetrated farther north of the Cape Colony frontier than any other white man. He was the first European to reach Lake Ngami (1849) and the first to reach Luanda from the interior (1854). He encountered and named Victoria Falls (1855), journeyed across the continent to eastern Mozambique (1856, 1862), explored the Lake Malawi region (1861–63), came across Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu (1867), and penetrated to points farther east of Lake Tanganyika than any previous expedition had managed (1871). His attempt to find the source of the Nile (1867–71) failed. When he was found by Henry Morton Stanley in 1871, his health was failing; he refused to leave, and in 1873 he was found dead by African aides. Livingstone produced a complex body of knowledge—geographic, technical, medical, and social—that took decades to mine. In his lifetime he stirred the imagination of English-speaking peoples everywhere and was celebrated as one of the great figures of British civilization.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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