In Africa, David Livingstone was a Scottish missionary, doctor, and adventurer. His extensive excursions to the African continent have made him famous. He was one of the most beloved national heroes of Victorian Britain in the nineteenth century. He is also recognized for influencing Western perceptions of Africa. He is credited for discovering a number of water bodies, including the well-known Zambezi River and Victoria Falls. After witnessing the horrors of slavery, he worked to end the African slave trade through ‘Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization.’ He was a protestant missionary, a scientist, and a reformer who had an inspiring story of going from rags to riches. Following his missionary trip and posthumous national hero status in 1874, other central African Christian missionary projects and activities arose.
Childhood and Adolescence
Neil Livingstone and Agnes had their second child, David Livingstone, on March 19, 1813, in a residential structure for cotton industry workers in Blantyre, Scotland.
He went to the Blantyre village school with the other mill children.
He began working in the cotton mill of Henry Monteith & Co when he was ten years old, tying broken cotton threads on spinning machines and later as a spinner.
Even after 14-hour work shifts, he was able to study with the help and support of his family.
David’s father wanted him to focus solely on theology, but his natural curiosity for science could not keep him away from it for long.
His fascination with the relationship between religion and science was heightened by missionary Karl Gützlaff’s ‘Appeal to the Churches of Britain and America on behalf of China.’
A preacher like Ralph Wardlaw had such an impression on David that he left the Church of Scotland for a local Congregational church.
In 1834, he was moved by Gutzlaff’s request for medical missionaries to China, and he decided to study medicine.
Finally, David enrolled in Anderson’s College (known for its science and technological education). He then went on to the University of Glasgow to study Greek and theology.
For two years (1838-40), he studied medicine, midwifery, and botany at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, where he also learned Latin from a local Roman Catholic, Daniel Gallagher.
David also became a member of the London Missionary Society (LMS), where he finished his medical education and became involved with a church in Ongar, Essex.
The Career of David
His desire to visit China was stifled by the Opium Wars of 1839-1842, but his meeting with a prominent Scottish missionary, Robert Moffat, from Africa reignited his desire to see the continent.
He set out for South Africa on November 20, 1840, and arrived in Cape Town on March 14, 1841, without further delay.
In 1841, David labored on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa, where he reaffirmed his resolve to travel farther into Africa and introduce Christianity to the locals.
He began his journey across the Kalahari in 1849, followed by the Lake Ngami in 1849 and the upper Zambezi River in 1851.
Four hard years were spent searching for a passage from the discovered Zambezi River to the coast, beginning in 1852.
The legendary ‘Victoria Falls’ were discovered in 1855, and he reached the river’s source from the Indian Ocean and the coastal region of Quelimane (modern-day Mozambique) in 1856. As a result, he was the first European to reach Southern Africa in its entirety.
His research revealed various truths about the African continent, completing the gap in western understanding of the area.
In 1857, his work on his African trips was published as ‘Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa,’ which received widespread acclaim.
Central Africa was further exposed to missionaries as a result of his excursions, who brought education, health care, and other facilities to these places. The African Lakes Company fostered trade, which improved relations between Africa and Britain.
David spent 1858 further researching the eastern and central areas of Africa on behalf of the British government, which was not well received due to poor results.
His return to England in 1864 was highlighted by his attempts to eliminate slavery, which culminated in the publication of the ‘Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries,’ which included a chapter on malaria.
In 1866, another expedition led to the discovery of Zanzibar. His search for the Nile’s source brought him to Nyangwe, a village where he witnessed a horrible bloodbath perpetrated by Arab slave smugglers.
David’s contributions to the abolition of slavery are well-known. His writings, which included novels, letters, and journals, had a significant impact on society.
His support structure of slave dealers did not back him for long in his trips, and as a result, he lacked competent counsel, and his last mission focused more on slaves and victims of slavery.
Achievements & Awards
The British Royal Geographical Society awarded David a gold medal for the first European discovery of Lake Ngami in 1849.
He was also named a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a position he held for the rest of his life.
Many sculptures have been erected in his honor around the world, including the one at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the town of Livingstonnia, and the city of Blantyre in Malawi, which are all named after David Livingstone.
The Rhodes–Livingstone Institute in Livingstone and Lusaka, Zambia, the David Livingstone Teachers’ Training College, the David Livingstone Clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi, the Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole, and many more have been named after him.
Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon, and The Livingstone Health service in Jardn Amèrica, Misiones, Argentina are all named after him.
From 1971 to 1998, his likeness appeared on £10 notes produced by the Clydesdale Bank.
Personal History and Legacy
David married Mary Moffat, the daughter of Robert Moffat, on January 2, 1845, and they had six children together.
His wife, Mary Moffat, was a missionary who was born in Africa.
She had a difficult time traveling with David because of her terrible health after the marriage. She died in 1862 due to health problems, allowing David to continue his missionary work alone for another eleven years.
Due to severe illness with malaria and dysentery in his later years, he was cut off from the outside world.
David’s fame and accomplishments came at the expense of his family. During his later years, he continually lamented his failure to spend meaningful time with his wife and children.
David Livingstone died on May 1, 1873, in Chitambo, Zambia, at the age of 63, from malaria and dysentery-related internal hemorrhage.
Chuma and Susi, two of his attendants, removed his heart and buried it under a Mvula tree that became known as the Livingstone Memorial. The rest of his remains were sent to the United Kingdom to be buried. Prior to his internment at Westminster Abbey, his remains were laid to rest at No.1 Savile Row.
Estimated Net worth
David is one of the wealthiest explorers and one of the most well-known. David Livingstone’s net worth is estimated to be $3.4 billion.