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Timeline Event

Mapping the Zambezi

1851 - 1856

After reaching the river Zambezi in 1851, Livingstone believed it to be the ‘key to the interior’ and made plans to map it. The following year, he sent his wife and children back to Britain and set out on his expedition from the village of Linyati, the northernmost mission post in South Africa at the time.

Livingstone arrived at the Atlantic Ocean in Loanda, Angola, in May 1854, seriously ill and depleted of all his goods. He considered the route he had taken too difficult for future travellers, so he retraced his steps to Linyati to follow the Zambezi east across the continent. In 1856 he reached Quelimane, Mozambique, on the Indian Ocean, and became the first European to cross the whole continent of Africa.

Key people


David Livingstone

David Livingstone  was a Scottish physician, Congregationalist, and pioneer Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society, an explorer in Africa, and one of the most popular British heroes of the late 19th-century Victorian era. He had a mythical status that operated on a number of interconnected levels: Protestant missionary martyr, working-class “rags-to-riches” inspirational story,…

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