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Henry Morton Stanley

(1841-1904)



Most famous for allegedly uttering the words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume," Henry Morton Stanley was one of the most stanleypic well-known of all nineteenth-century British explorers. In his early years (as a naturalized American) he led a roving life, fighting in the American Civil War, serving in the merchant marine and the federal navy, and reporting as a journalist on the early days of frontier expansion. He became famous when the New York Herald commissioned him to "find Livingstone" in Africa.

After finding Robert Livingstone (no mean feat, since Livingstone was living in the interior of Zanzibar, where even his friends could not find him), and following in the footsteps of Livingstone, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and others, Stanley went on to explore the rivers and lakes of central Africa. Through the Dark Continent (1877) is his account of those explorations. Failing to interest the British government in developing the Congo, Stanley accepted the invitation of King Leopold of Belgium to explore the region -- an expedition that led to the establishment of the "Congo Free State" under the sovereignty of King Leopold, and to Stanley's book, The Founding of the Congo Free State (1885). Stanley continued to explore and write until the end of the century, producing In Darkest Africa in 1890 and Through South Africa in 1898. He died in England in 1904.

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