David Livingstone

From ArticleWorld

David Livingstone was a Scottish missionary and doctor who spent most his life exploring the African interior during the mid-nineteenth century. Livingstone’s name is now best remembered from American journalist Henry Morton Stanley’s quote, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”


David Livingstone was born in Scotland in 1813. He studied medicine and theology at the University of Glasgow. Following the footsteps of his mentor, Robert Moffat, Livingstone joined the London Missionary Society.

In 1844, Livingstone married Mary Moffat, the daughter of Robert Moffat. Mary begrudgingly joined Livingstone for some of his early expeditions and then remained in England with their children until her death in 1863.

In 1866, Livingstone took to Africa until his death of malaria in 1873. His late years were spent isolated in the Lake Tanganyika area of Africa. His body was returned to Britain and buried in Westminster Abbey.


From 1852 to 1856, David Livingstone explored the African Interior in hopes of establishing trade routes. He was the first European to see the Victorian Falls, which he named for Queen Victoria. Livingstone’s exploration operated under the motto of “Christianity, commerce, and civilization.”

In 1858, Livingstone led the large Zambezi Expedition. The group was to report Southeast Africa’s natural resources. While scientists John Kirk, Charles Meller, Richard Thornton made significant contributions to the worlds of biology and geology, the Zambezi Expedition was largely considered a failure and was recalled in 1864.

In 1866, Livingstone forged his final expedition into Africa. He lived with his small staff exploring the Lake Tanganyika area for years, isolated from the outside world. As a publicity stunt, the New York Herald sent Henry Morton Stanley to find Livingstone in 1869. Three years later, Stanley found Livingstone in Ujiji and joined him for a year of exploration before returning to America. Livingstone remained in Africa, traveling the African continent until his death in 1873.