- Livingstone, David
- (1813-1873)legendary Scottish missionary and adventurer in AfricaDavid Livingstone was born in Blantyre, Scotland, on March 19, 1813, into a deeply religious home. After completing his studies in medicine and theology at the University of Glasgow in 1838, he set his sights on a missionary career. He was inspired to choose Africa by Robert Moffat (1795-1883), a missionary who had first gone there in 1817. Livingstone joined Moffat and eventually (1845) married his daughter, Mary (1820-62).Ordained by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in December 1840, Livingstone left for South Africa. He made his way to Kuruman, the most northerly LMS station there, and set out to establish work farther north. A crippling encounter with a lion, a disagreement with a fellow missionary, and drought caused Livingstone to move his base camp several times. He became convinced that his task was to open new territory to the missionaries who would follow him.For the next quarter century, Livingstone conducted many wide-ranging exploratory excursions throughout South, East, and Central Africa, forging new routes connecting up the European colonies scattered along the continent's coasts. His triumphal visits back to England and his books made him a world-renowned celebrity. His lecture at Cambridge (1857) occasioned the founding of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa, for several generations an important missionary-sending agency.in 1857, Livingstone severed ties with the LMS after criticism from some of its more conservative members, but in 1858 the British government appointed him consul at Quilimane, Mozambique, and commander of an expedition to explore East and Central Africa. in 1861, he helped six missionaries sent by the Universities' Mission establish their station near Lake Nyasa.For a while in 1871, the outside world lost track of Livingstone's whereabouts. Henry M. Stanley, a reporter for the New York Herald, found him and uttered the famous phrase, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" In a vain attempt to find the source of the Nile, Livingstone set out on what proved to be his last journey. He died at Chit-ambo, in present-day Zambia, on May 1, 1873. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.Livingstone won legendary status among African missionaries. His adventures inspired many others to become missionaries, while those in the sending countries invoked his name to raise funds. His celebrity faded in the mid-20th century during a reappraisal and redirection of the missionary movement by most Protestant sending agencies.See also Africa, sub-Saharan.Further reading:■ David Livingstone, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (London: Murray, 1857)■ ----, Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries, and of the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa, 1858-1864 (London: Murray, 1865)■ George Seaver, David Livingstone: His Life and Letters (New York: Harper, 1957)■ Henry M. Stanley, How I Found Livingstone. Travels, Adventures, and Discoveries in Central Africa (London: Sampson Low, 1872)■ Sam Wellman, David Livingstone: Missionary and Explorer (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 1995).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.