1813 - 1873
Missionary to Africaby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
David Livingstone was born at Blantyre, eight miles south of Glasgow, on 19 March 1813. He was born in a single apartment home on the banks of the Clyde River. At the age of ten, like other children of the village, he was put to work in the mills, which took up his whole day from six in the morning and did not release him till about eight at night. Then, with other children employed in the mills, he had to attend night school. Most were so tired after school that they could do little but sleep, but David studied hard and would continue with his lessons far into the night. Every spare moment, in the factory or out, he studied books and nature. As a child his dream was to be a medical missionary to China and spread the word.
When he was twenty-three years old he began medical classes at Anderson College in Glasgow. He advanced in his studies of medicine and theology, and then he interviewed with the London Missionary Society for service in China. Once accepted, he completed his studies in London. A war broke out in China preventing Dr. Livingstone from going on that foreign mission field. Instead he met Robert Moffat, a missionary to Africa, and Robert convinced him to go to Africa instead of China. David landed in Kuruman, spent many months in training, and he married Robert Moffat's daughter, Mary. David moved around a lot with his young family and studied the geology and natural history of the surrounding countryside. But as his family got older his concern for the welfare and education of his children made him decide they must go home to Britain. As he was in Africa he came in contact with the African slave trade and said he was 'so appalled by this terrible trafficking in human life' that he determined to put a stop to it. He said that the cure to slavery was in commerce and Christianity. David saw that Africa's great rivers might prove to be what Livingstone called 'the highway to the interior' and so he explored and trekked them until sickness forced him to temporarily cease exploration.
When his health had come back he renewed his quest exactly where he had left off. While exploring the rivers he came in contact with a great waterfall that the natives called, 'the smoke that thunders' and he named the waterfall, "Victoria Falls." Having crossed Africa from west to east, a journey of some 4,300 miles, mostly on foot, he set out by ship for England, reaching home in 1856. Livingstone was the first European to accomplish this amazing feat. Once in London he put together his diaries and published them under the title Missionary Travels. The book was an immediate best seller.
After their visit to England, Livingstone and his wife began their last journey together. It was during this adventure that Livingstone faced the severest trial of his life; Mary died in 1862 from a disease related to African fever. After her death Livingstone continued to travel around but Livingstone was often weakened by the African fever. Months rolled by and then years without the outside world knowing where he was. This is when a New York reporter, Henry Morton Stanley, accepted the challenge to "find Livingstone."
On November 10, 1871, Stanley's caravan, loaded with supplies, reached Ujiji, Africa. A thin, frail Livingstone stepped out to meet him as Stanley bowed, took off his hat, and spoke the now famous words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Livingstone and Stanley began a friendship and after Livingstone's death it was Stanley who continued with Livingstone's works. David Livingstone died in Africa on April 30, 1873, after a long illness. His body was sent back to England where he was buried in Westminster Abbey.
David Livingstone, http://www.higherpraise.com/preachers/livingstone.htm