People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.
~ David Livingstone
March 19 marks the 200th birthday of Scottish Congregationalist medical missionary David Livingstone. Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in Scotland.
Livingstone was one of the most popular public figures in late 19th century Victorian Britain. His October 1871 with H.M. Stanley brought about the phrase "Dr. Livinstone, I presume?"
Livingstone achieved great fame as an explorer and helped lead to a sort of obsession in discovering the vast resources of the Nile River and European colonization of the African continent.
Livingstone wanted to reach the people of the interior of Africa for the purpose of bringing them to Christianity and freeing them from slavery. He was one of the first medical missionaries to enter southern Africa and the first in central Africa. He was able to win the trust of the people. Because of his desire to end slavery, he became known as "Africa's first freedom fighter."
Livingstone's disappearance and death in Africa caused him to become a posthumous national hero and led to the founding of several major central African Central missionary efforts that moved forward with the European Scramble for Africa.
The Scramble for Africa was a European invasion and colonization of African countries during the era of New Imperialism from 1870-1914.
Livingston died from malaria and internal bleeding caused by dysentery on May 1, 1873 in what is present day Zambia. It is said that his final breaths were in prayer by his bedside. Two follows, Susi and Chuma removed his heart and buried it under a Mvula tree near the spot where he died. This is now the location of the Livingstone Memorial. His body was carried by Susi and Chuma over a thousand miles to the Bagamoyo on the coast where it was returned to Britain for burial at Westminster Abbey.
To learn more about David Livingstone and the 200th anniversary of his birth visit Livingstone 200.