Map drawn by John Kirk during the Zambesi Expedition 1860. On the reverse is a note "To accompany the Herbarium as a guide to principal localities".
Drinking vessel made from fruit of a Strychnos [Loganiaceae] donated to Kew by Livingstone's Expedition in 1860.
David Livingstone (1813-1873) was born in Blantyre (South Lanarkshire, Scotland) and died in Africa while searching for the source of the Nile. The second son of Neil, a tea-dealer, and Agnes, he had four brothers and two sisters and his family was highly religious. He started working in a cotton-factory at the age of ten. He studied at evening school from an early age, showing determination and stamina, studying at night reading Latin and natural sciences. His holidays were spent studying nature alongside his brothers.
At the age of nineteen Livingstone's earnings as a cotton-spinner enabled him to attend medical classes at Anderson College, a Greek course in Glasgow and divinity lectures given by Dr Wardlaw. During that period he offered his services to the London Missionary Society and in 1838 he went to London, where he pursued medical and scientific studies. In 1840 he set sail towards the Cape of Good Hope, settling in Kuruman, Bechuana country, in 1841. Here he met Mary Moffat, the daughter of Dr Robert Moffat, a South African Missionary who had been born and brought up in the country. She married Livingstone in 1844 and they had six children together, of whom one died in infancy.
For more than 30 years Livingstone travelled the continent widely, being the first white man to travel the length of Lake Tanganika. In 1855 he discovered Victoria Falls. During his expeditions he maintained a keen interest in all living things, and collected plant specimens, especially those of economic interest, many of them now preserved as part of Kew's Economic Botany collection. He kept up an extensive correspondence with Kew's Directors, Sir William Hooker and Sir Joseph Hooker, about the findings of his expeditions.
His last expedition was commissioned by the Royal Geographical Society to discover the source of the Nile. During this last expedition, Livingstone turned 60, became very ill and finally passed away. His servants removed his heart from his body and buried it near a tree in Ilala, on Lake Bangweolo. His body was dried and accompanied to the coast, where, after a 9 month march, it was sent back to London. Livingstone's remains are buried at Westminster Abbey in London.
Laura Pleasants, RBG, Kew
MacKenzie, J. & Skipwith, J., eds. (1996). David Livingstone and the Victorian Encounter with Africa. National Portrait Gallery Publications, London, 239 p.