Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stanley and Livingstone

Victorian newspapers thrilled their readers with tales of explorers finding the sources of tropical rivers, discovering unknown species of birds and lost tribes. Often as not the famous explorers eventually disappeared themselves, which is what happened to African explorer, Dr. David Livingstone. When Henry Morton Stanley set off to find him in the spring of 1871, Livingstone hadn't been heard from for six years. Stanley found him on November 10th, uttering the famous words "Dr. Livingstone, I presume," or so it was reported in the New York Herald. The Herald paid Stanley's expenses and the story sold a lot of papers. Livingstone had survived pneumonia, exhaustion, disorientation, kidnapping, theft and extreme conditions. At one point the natives confined him in a roped enclosure where he begged passersby for food. Though Stanley found him, he couldn't make him leave. Livingstone died in central Africa two years later, of malaria and an advanced case of dysentery. He was 60. Stanley and Livingstone both appear in A Book of Ages, as do Hernando De Soto, Hernan Cortez, Robert Falcon Scott, Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook, Roald Amundsen who discovered the South Pole and Christopher Robin Milne who discovered the North Pole in a memorable expedition described in one of his father's books.

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