Thursday, November 21, 2013

David Livingstone 1867- 1872

In January 1866 Livingstone arrived in East Africa to head up the Royal Geographic's expedition in search of the source of the Nile and he had accepted the assignment to focus public attention on the slave trade in East Africa. It was now impossible to travel unless you were part of a large convoy of caravans so he would joined his modest caravan with one of these larger affairs and set sail into the interior but the slave trade was on his doorstep every morning and he was powerless to do anything to stop it. All he can do is keep a detailed record of every atrocity he witnessed, and write letters to influential men back in Briton pleading for them to take up this cause. 

To get these letters to the coast he must entrust them to the slaver traders who were under no illusion of the threat he posed to their livelihood, so they destroyed his letters isolating him in the interior of the continent, where they could keep an eye on him. For several years this state of affairs continued and Livingstone was content to bide his time certain that eventually someone will come looking for him. So the stage was set for the most well publicized meeting in Africa's history and on the 10th of November 1871 an unknown journalist marched into the village of Ujiji and also into the pages of history- his name was Henry Morton Stanley. 

Stanley prove a godsend to Livingstone since as a journalist he could put the East African slave trade on the front page of every major newspaper in the Western World. As Livingstone had predicted, the British public were outraged and would force their government to pass legislation to close the slave markets of East Africa for ever. These articles would also lead to a remarkable resurgence in Livingstone's popularity and tragically he would never become aware of this since he had chosen to remain in Africa to set of on one final epic journey to explore the East African watershed, but it was a journey he would not survive...

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