1871: Stanley finds Livingstone
Sir Henry Morton Stanley (GCB – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath) was born John Rowlands on 28 January 1841 and died on 10 May 1904). He was a Welsh journalist and explorer who was famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone.
Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley reportedly uttered the infamous question “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”
Stanley is also known for his search for the source of the Nile, his pioneering work that enabled the plundering of the Congo Basin region by King Leopold II of Belgium, and his command of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. He was knighted in 1899. In 1869, Stanley received instructions to undertake a roving commission in the Middle East, which was to include the relief of Dr. David Livingstone, of whom little had been heard since his departure for Africa in 1866 to search for the source of the Nile.
Stanley travelled to Zanzibar in March 1871, later claiming that he outfitted an expedition with 192 porters. In his first dispatch to the New York Herald, however, he stated that his expedition numbered only 111. This was in line with figures in his diaries. Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald and funder of the expedition, had delayed sending to Stanley the money he had promised, so Stanley borrowed money from the United States Consul. During the 700-mile (1,100 km) expedition through the tropical forest, his thoroughbred stallion died within a few days after a bite from a tsetse fly, many of his porters deserted, and the rest were decimated by tropical diseases. Stanley found Livingstone on 10 November 1871 in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania.
Neither man mentioned it in any of the letters they wrote at this time. Livingstone’s account of the encounter does not mention these words. The phrase is first quoted in a summary of Stanley’s letters published by The New York Times on 2 July 1872. Stanley biographer Tim Jeal argued that the explorer invented it afterwards to help raise his standing because of ‘insecurity about his background’.
The Herald‘s own first account of the meeting, published 1 July 1872, reports: Preserving a calmness of exterior before the Arabs which was hard to simulate as he reached the group, Mr Stanley said: – “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” A smile lit up the features of the pale white man as he answered: “Yes, and I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.” Stanley joined Livingstone in exploring the region, finding that there was no connection between Lake Tanganyika and the Nile. On his return, he wrote a book about his experiences: How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa.
Most notable historic snippets or facts extracted from the book ‘On This Day’ first published in 1992 by Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, London, as well as additional supplementary information extracted from Wikipedia.
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