Henry Morton Stanley
Most famous for allegedly uttering the words, "Dr.
Livingstone, I presume," Henry Morton Stanley was one of the most
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
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.
Return to "Is he not in Congo-land?
Return to "Vessel of Last Resort"
Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights