This podcast episode continues our look at the European explorers in Africa. We look at two of the most significant of those explorers, David Livingstone and Henry M Stanley.
These two men could not have been more different from one another. Livingstone was a missionary, teetotaler, and abolitionist. He was respected in both Europe and Africa for his commitments to humanitarianism. Henry M Stanley was a possible con-man, sensationalism journalist, and adventurer. Their entries and exits in Africa were linked together and helped usher in the age of imperialism that followed.
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Interested in learning more about David Livingstone and Henry M Stanely? Check out these links and books:
- David Livingstone Biography (BBC)
- Henry Stanley’s Unbreakable Will (Smithsonian)
Livingstone was a living legend in his day and inspired a generation of explorers. He epitomized the image of the Victorian era hero in the eyes of many of his contemporaries.
“Few achievements in our day have made a greater impression than that of the adventurous missionary who unaided crossed the Continent of Equatorial Africa. His unassuming simplicity, his varied intelligence, his indomitable pluck, his steady religious purpose, form a combination of qualities rarely found in one man. By common consent, Dr. Livingstone has come to be regarded as one of the most remarkable travellers of his own or of any other age.”—British Quarterly Review
Henry M Stanley on the other hand represented the darker reality of the age of explorers and the imperialist mindset.
“Only by proving that we are superior to the savages, not only through our power to kill them but through our entire way of life, can we control them as they are now, in their present stage; it is necessary for their own well-being, even more than ours. (Stanley wrote these words on his first expedition commissioned by King Leopold II of Belgium after describing with horror the horrible scenes of atrocities and cannibalism that take place in the Congo.)