Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Henry Stanley - "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

Lego Henry Stanley
John Rowlands was born, illegitimately, on 28th January 1841 in Denbigh, Wales. He was brought up in a working house. Although in 1859, Rowlands moved to New Orleans, where he befriended a merchant, Henry Stanley, whose name he adopted. 

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Stanley worked both sides and then worked as a sailor and journalist. In 1867, he became a special correspondent for the New York Herald. 

In 1869, he was commissioned to search for the missing Scottish Explorer David Livingstone, who had been missing since 1866, when he set off in search for the source of the Nile. Stanley went to Livingstone's last known location Zanzibar. In November 1871, he found the sick explorer.

Dr. Livingstone
After Livingstone died in 1873, Stanley continued his exploration of the region funded by the Herald and a British newspaper. He managed to explore most of central Africa, and travel down the Lualaba and Congo Rivers. Later reaching the Atlantic in August 1877.

After he failed to gain support from Britain, for his plans to develop Congo region, he found success in the King of Belgium, Leopold II, who was eager to tap Africa's wealth. In 1879, Stanley returned to Africa, where he worked to open the lower Congo to commerce by the construction of roads. In doing this he used brutal means, such as forced labour. On the other hand, Stanley's efforts created the foundation for the Congo Free State, which was privately owned by Leopold II.

In 1890, Stanley finally returned to England, where he married and began a worldwide lecture tour. Then becoming a member of Parliament for Lambeth in London, serving from 1895-1900. He was eventually knighted in 1899. However, on 10th May 1904 in London he died.

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