David Livingstone

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David Livingstone
David Livingstone - Explorer (1813 - 1873)

Born into poverty in Scotland, David Livingstone's desire to spread the gospel and end slavery took him to Africa. He became famous for his exploration of the Zambezi and being the first European to see the great waterfall that he would call Victoria Falls in honour of his Queen.

This page details facts about David Livingstone's life and the events that shaped his history.

David Livingstone the Explorer - Fun Facts for Kids !
David Livingstone Fact   1: David Livingstone was born in Blantyre, Scotland, on 19th March 1813. He lived with his parents, Neil and Agnes, and six siblings in a tenement for cotton workers.
David Livingstone Fact   2: Having been born into poverty, David Livingstone went to work in a cotton mill at the age of 10. Despite working up to 14 hours a day, he attended the village school in the evenings.

David Livingstone Fact   3: David Livingstone grew up under the influences of the Scottish Church. His father was a Sunday School teacher whose avid reading of books on subjects such as theology rubbed off onto David, who also became a keen reader.
David Livingstone Fact   4: In 1834 David Livingstone read an appeal for medical missionaries in China. As a result, he decided that he would become a missionary doctor.
David Livingstone Fact   5: In 1836, while working part time in the mill, David Livingstone attended college in Glasgow where he studied Medicine, Greek and Theology. He applied to, and was accepted by, the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1838.
David Livingstone Fact   6: David Livingstone hoped to go to China as a missionary, however his hopes were dashed when the first opium war broke out in 1839.
David Livingstone Fact   7: In 1840 David Livingstone met Robert Moffat, an LMS missionary in London. Moffat, who was based in South Africa, convinced him that he should look to expand the missionary work north into the heart of Africa. After he was ordained, he sailed to South Africa arriving in Cape Town in March 1841.
David Livingstone Fact   8: David Livingstone left Moffat’s mission at Kuruman in the Kalahari region of South Africa, and headed north. Over the next few years he travelled further into the Kalahari region, learning about the local cultures and languages as he went.
David Livingstone Fact   9: While travelling to Mabotsa, to set up a mission, David Livingstone survived an attack by a Lion. His left arm was mauled and broken however, after being set by himself and a colleague, he regained a restricted use of it.
David Livingstone Fact 10: He married Mary Moffat, the daughter of Robert Moffat, in 1845.The couple went on to have six children, Robert, Agnes, Thomas, Elizabeth, William and Anna.
David Livingstone Fact 11: David Livingstone left the mission in Mabotsa in 1845 and moved on to Chonouane. He left there in 1847 and set up the Kolobeng mission in Botswana, where he continued to work on converting the locals to Christianity. While there, he persuaded Chief Sechele to convert, however this conversion only lasted for a short period.
David Livingstone Fact 12: In 1851 he led an expedition across the Kalahari and became the first European to see Lake Ngami.
David Livingstone Fact 13: In 1852 David Livingstone sent his wife and children back to Scotland, before beginning an expedition to find a route to the Atlantic Ocean from the Upper Zambezi. He believed this route, which would avoid the Boer territory, would be the best way to open up the African interior to missionaries and traders.
David Livingstone Fact 14: David Livingstone reached the Atlantic Ocean when he arrived at Luanda on the west coast of Africa on 31 May 1854. On 20 September he began the journey that would see him chart the Zambezi almost completely.
David Livingstone Fact 15: After almost two years of exploration, he reached the Indian Ocean when he arrived at Quelimane in Mozambique on 20 May 1956. It was during this expedition that, on 17 November 1855, David Livingstone became the first European to see the falls that he would name the Victoria Falls in honour of Queen Victoria.
David Livingstone Fact 16: On 9 December 1856 he returned to England. Hailed a national hero, he began work on a book which documented his expeditions. When his book ‘Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa’ was published, it sold in excess of 70,000 copies. He also toured widely, speaking about his journeys.
David Livingstone Fact 17: David Livingstone resigned from the London Missionary Society in 1857, and on 24 March 1858 returned to Africa to lead the British Government funded Zambezi Expedition. He was accompanied by his brother Charles and a Dr. John Kirk. The purpose of the expedition was to further explore the Zambezi region and promote trade and civilisation. The idea was that the latter would contribute to the ending of the slave trade.
David Livingstone Fact 18: He found the navigation of the Zambezi, by ship, impossible. He also made two attempts to navigate the Ruvuma River, which both failed. The expedition members became disillusioned with the leadership capabilities of David Livingstone, and his problems increased when his wife Mary, who had joined him on the expedition, died from malaria on 27 April 2016.
David Livingstone Fact 19: In 1864 the British Government recalled the failed expedition and David Livingstone returned to Britain. Along with his brother Charles, he wrote another book ‘Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries’ (1865).
David Livingstone Fact 20: In January 1866 he returned to Africa once again. His objectives were still to spread the gospel and abolish slavery however, on this expedition, he also intended to search for the source of the River Nile.
David Livingstone Fact 21: He decided against including Europeans in his team and took only Africans and Asians. Unfortunately trouble broke out amongst the men and some left the expedition and returned to Zanzibar where they said that he had died.
David Livingstone Fact 22: On 6 August, despite having had his medicines and most of his supplies stolen, he reached Lake Malawi. Needing replacement supplies from Zanzibar, he sent a message asking that they be delivered to Ujiji.
David Livingstone Fact 23: David Livingstone pressed on, arriving at Lake Mweru on 8 November 1867and Lake Bangweulu on 18 July 1868. With the help of Arab traders, he arrived at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in February 1869. However his much needed supplies had been stolen.
David Livingstone Fact 24: By this time David Livingstone was unwell, however he carried on to Nyangwe on the Lualaba River. Having travelled further west into Africa than any other European, he returned to Ujiji where he arrived on 23 October 1871.
David Livingstone Fact 25: By 1869 there had been no word from David Livingstone in several years, so the New York Herald newspaper sent one of their correspondents, Henry Morton Stanley, to find him.
David Livingstone Fact 26: On 10 November 1871 Stanley arrived at Ujiji, by Lake Tanganyika, where he found David Livingstone. It was at his point that Stanley said the legendary words ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume’.

David Livingstone Fact 27:
Before his departure on 14 March 1872 Stanley tried, in vain, to encourage David Livingstone to return home with him. Instead, he chose to continue his search for the source of the Nile until his death.

David Livingstone Fact 28:
David Livingstone died in Chitambo (modern day Zambia) from Malaria in 1873, at the age of 60. His servants removed his heart and buried it close to where he died. His body was returned to England and, on 18 April 1874, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

David Livingstone the Explorer (1813 - 1873) Fun Facts Info for Kids !

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