Friday, August 8, 2014
Stanley’s Search for Livingstone
Dr. David Livingstone was a missionary who had been sent to Africa in 1841. He set out to explore the African interior when the Kolobeng Mission where he had been working, closed. He discovered Victoria Falls and became one of the first westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. He then grudgingly set his sights on finding the source of the Nile, a mystery more than three thousand years old. His journey took him from Zanzibar, up the Ruvuma River to Lake Malawi and then to Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. By the time he reached Ujiji he was practically alone, most of his supplies had been stolen and he had fallen ill. He sent word to Zanzibar for more supplies and continued to Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu with slave traders. He found the Lualaba River and, believing it was in fact the source of the Nile, he returned to Ujiji, where he found that his fresh supplies had been stolen. By then rumors of his death had been swirling throughout Europe and America for a few years and caught the attention of a young American journalist by the name of Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley was born John Rowlands in Wales and was orphaned at an early age. He came to America when he was eighteen years old and began working for a trader named Henry Stanley. When Stanley died, John took his name and joined the Confederate Army. After the Civil War he became a journalist working for the New York Herald. The newspaper funded his expedition to find Livingstone- he began in Zanzibar in 1871. He followed the same route as his predecessor and faced many of the same challenges such as desertion and tropical diseases like malaria and dysentery. Stanley found Livingstone on October 27, 1871 in Ujiji. He was standing in the midst of a group of Arab slave traders and Stanley approached him and uttered the famous greeting “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
Stanley’s expedition was guided by 200 experienced porters, most of whom deserted the expedition or died of disease along the way. So many porters tried to leave that Stanley began flogging them. Livingstone, on the other hand, had set out with a team consisting of freed slaves, twelve Sepoys and two loyal servants from his previous expeditions. When Livingstone died in 1873 it was these two servants, Chuma and Susi, that brought his body and his journal to the coast so it could be taken back to England.