Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom Died 1 May 1873 (aged 60)
near Lake Bangweulu, Northern Rhodesia Cause of death Malaria & internal bleeding due to dysentery Resting place The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster
51°29′58″N 0°07′39″W / 51.499444°N 0.1275°W / 51.499444; -0.1275 Nationality Scottish Known for Exploration of Central Africa Title Dr. Livingstone Religion Congregationalist
David Livingstone (19 March 1813–1 May 1873) was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?".
Perhaps one of the most popular national heroes of the late 19th century in Victorian Britain, Livingstone had a mythic status, which operated on a number of interconnected levels: that of Protestant missionary martyr, that of working-class "rags to riches" inspirational story, that of scientific investigator and explorer, that of imperial reformer, anti-slavery crusader, and advocate of commercial empire.
His fame as an explorer helped drive forward the obsession with discovering the sources of the River Nile that formed the culmination of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial penetration of the African continent. At the same time his missionary travels, "disappearance" and death in Africa, and subsequent glorification as posthumous national hero in 1874 led to the founding of several major central African Christian missionary initiatives carried forward in the era of the European "Scramble for Africa".
David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in the mill town of Blantyre, beside the bridge crossing into Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland, into a Protestant family believed to be descended from the highland Livingstones, a clan that had been previously known as the Clan MacLea. Born to Neil Livingstone (1788–1856) and his wife Agnes (1782–1865), David, along with many of the Livingstones, was at the age of ten employed in the cotton mill of H. Monteith – David and brother John working 12-hour days as "piecers," tying broken cotton threads on the spinning machines. The mill offered their workers schooling of which David took advantage.
Livingstone's father Neil was very committed to his beliefs, a Sunday School teacher and teetotaller who handed out Christian tracts on his travels as a door to door tea salesman, and who read books on theology, travel and missionary enterprises. This rubbed off on the young David, who became an avid reader, but he also loved scouring the countryside for animal, plant and geological specimens in local limestone quarries. Neil Livingstone had a fear of science books as undermining Christianity and attempted to force him to read nothing but theology, but David's deep interest in nature and science led him to investigate the relationship between religion and science. When in 1832 he read Philosophy of a Future State by the science teacher, amateur astronomer and church minister Thomas Dick, he found the rationale he needed to reconcile faith and science, and apart from the Bible this book was perhaps his greatest philosophical influence.
Other significant influences in his early life were Thomas Burke, a Blantyre evangelist and David Hogg, his Sunday School teacher. At age nineteen David and his father left the Church of Scotland for a local Congregational church, influenced by preachers like Ralph Wardlaw who denied predestinatarian limitations on salvation. Influenced by American revivalistic teachings, Livingstone's reading of the missionary Karl Gützlaff's "Appeal to the Churches of Britain and America on behalf of China" enabled him to persuade his father that medical study could advance religious ends.
Livingstone's experience from age 10 to 26 in H. Montieth's Blantyre cotton mill, first as a piecer and later as a spinner, was also important. Necessary to support his impoverished family, this work was monotonous but gave him persistence, endurance, and a natural empathy with all who labour, as expressed by lines he used to hum from the egalitarian Rabbie Burns song: "When man to man, the world o'er / Shall brothers be for a' that".
Livingstone attended Blantyre village school along with the few other mill children with the endurance to do so, but a family with a strong, ongoing commitment to study also reinforced his education. After reading Gutzlaff's appeal for medical missionaries for China in 1834, he began saving money and in 1836 entered Anderson's College in Glasgow, founded to bring science and technology to ordinary folk, and attended Greek and theology lectures at the University of Glasgow. In addition, he attended divinity lectures by Wardlaw, a leader at this time of vigorous anti-slavery campaigning in the city. Shortly after he applied to join the London Missionary Society (LMS) and was accepted subject to missionary training. He continued his medical studies in London while training there and in Essex to be a minister under LMS. Despite his impressive personality, he was a poor preacher and would have been rejected by the LMS had not the Director given him a second chance to pass the course.
Livingstone hoped to go to China as a missionary, but the First Opium War broke out in September 1839 and the LMS suggested the West Indies instead. In 1840, while continuing his medical studies in London, Livingstone met LMS missionary Robert Moffat, on leave from Kuruman, a missionary outpost in South Africa, north of the Orange River. Excited by Moffat's vision of expanding missionary work northwards, and influenced by abolitionist T.F. Buxton's arguments that the African slave trade might be destroyed through the influence of "legitimate trade" and the spread of Christianity, Livingstone focused his ambitions on Southern Africa. He was deeply influenced by Moffat's judgment that he was the right person to go to the vast plains to the north of Bechuanaland, where he had glimpsed "the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary had ever been."
Missionary work in southern Africa
Livingstone was assigned to Kuruman by the LMS and sailed in December 1840, arriving at Moffat's mission, now part of South Africa, in July 1841. Upon arrival, Livingstone was disappointed at the unexpectedly small size of the village and an indigenous Christian population, after Moffat's twenty years of work, of only about forty communicants and a congregation of 350. Reasoning that conversions would be more likely if the missionaries were themselves indigenous converts, Livingstone rapidly attached himself to the plans of missionary Rogers Edwards to found a mission farther north in territory increasingly disturbed by traders, hunters, and African settlers. Setting up the new mission at Mabotswa among the Kgatla people in 1844, he was mauled by a lion which might have killed him if it had not been distracted by the African teacher Mebalwe, who was also badly injured. Both recovered but Livingstone's arm was partially disabled and caused him pain for the rest of his life.
Dr. Robert Moffat arrived in Kuruman with his family in December 1843, and shortly afterward Livingstone married Moffat's eldest daughter Mary on January 2, 1845. She was also Scottish but had lived in Africa since she was four. After falling out with Edwards, Livingstone moved to an out-station at Chonuane among the Kwena under Chief Sechele, and finally moved with the Kwena to Kolobeng in 1847 under pressure of drought. Mary travelled with Livingstone for a brief time at his insistence, despite her pregnancy and the protests of the Moffats. She gave birth to a daughter, Agnes, in May 1847, and at Kolobeng began an infant's school while Livingstone worked on a philological analysis of the Setswana language, in which he had become fluent. The only Christian convert of Livingstone's career was made in Kolobeng when Sechele was baptized after renouncing all but his senior wife, although he was later denied communion after he took back one of his previous wives. Livingstone always emphasized the importance of understanding local custom and belief as well as the necessity of encouraging Africans to proselytize, however he always had acute difficulties finding converts he considered suited for training to be missionaries. Livingstone grew increasingly frustrated with settled missionary strategies and more willing to imagine more unconventional missionary methods. As Livingstone began to plan for new missionary initiatives, he recognized the difficulties presented by his growing family, and in 1849 he sent his family (now including daughter Agnes and sons Robert and Thomas) back to Kuruman as he planned further inland travels. Later Mary and David's family returned to England, but came to Africa again on the Zambezi Expedition.
Exploration of southern and central Africa
After the Kolobeng mission had to be closed because of drought, he explored the African interior to the north, in the period 1852–56, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") waterfall (which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria), of which he wrote (later), "Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."(Jeal, p. 149)
Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa, Luanda on the Atlantic to Quelimane on the Indian Ocean near the mouth of the Zambezi, in 1854–56. Despite repeated European attempts, especially by the Portuguese, central and southern Africa had not been crossed by Europeans at that latitude owing to their susceptibility to malaria, dysentery and sleeping sickness which was prevalent in the interior and which also prevented use of draught animals (oxen and horses), as well as to the opposition of powerful chiefs and tribes, such as the Lozi, and the Lunda of Mwata Kazembe.
The qualities and approaches which gave Livingstone an advantage as an explorer were that he usually traveled lightly, and he had an ability to reassure chiefs that he was not a threat. Other expeditions had dozens of soldiers armed with rifles and scores of hired porters carrying supplies, and were seen as military incursions or were mistaken for slave-raiding parties. Livingstone on the other hand traveled on most of his journeys with a few servants and porters, bartering for supplies along the way, with a couple of guns for protection. He preached a Christian message but did not force it on unwilling ears; he understood the ways of local chiefs and successfully negotiated passage through their territory, and was often hospitably received and aided, even by Mwata Kazembe.
Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa. His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue to him at Victoria Falls, was "Christianity, Commerce and Civilization." At this time he believed the key to achieving these goals was the navigation of the Zambezi River as a Christian commercial highway into the interior. He returned to Britain to try to garner support for his ideas, and to publish a book on his travels which brought him fame as one of the leading explorers of the age.
Believing he had a spiritual calling for exploration rather than mission work, and encouraged by the response in Britain to his discoveries and support for future expeditions, in 1857 he resigned from the London Missionary Society after they demanded that he do more evangelizing and less exploring. With the help of the Royal Geographical Society's president, Livingstone was appointed as Her Majesty's Consul for the East Coast of Africa.
The British government agreed to fund Livingstone's idea and he returned to Africa as head of the Zambezi Expedition to examine the natural resources of southeastern Africa and open up the River Zambezi. Unfortunately it turned out to be completely impassible to boats past the Cabora Bassa rapids, a series of cataracts and rapids that Livingstone had failed to explore on his earlier travels.
The expedition lasted from March 1858 until the middle of 1864. Livingstone was said[who?] to be an inept leader and incapable of managing a large-scale project. He was also said[who?] to be secretive, self righteous, moody and could not tolerate criticism which severely strained the expedition and led to his physician, John Kirk, later recording in 1862, "I can come to no other conclusion than that Dr. Livingstone is out of his mind and a most unsafe leader". The artist Thomas Baines was dismissed from the expedition on charges (which he vigorously denied) of theft. The expedition became the first to reach Lake Malawi and they explored it in a four-oared gig. In 1862 they returned to the coast to await the arrival of a steam boat specially designed to sail on Lake Malawi. Mary Livingstone, who by now was an alcoholic, which caused added strain, also arrived along with the boat. She died on 27 April 1862 of malaria and Livingstone continued his explorations. Attempts to navigate the Ruvuma River failed because of the continual fouling of the paddle wheels from the bodies thrown in the river by slave traders, and Livingstone's assistants gradually died or left him. It was at this point that he uttered his most famous quote, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward." He eventually returned home in 1864 after the government ordered the recall of the expedition because of its increasing costs and failure to find a navigable route to the interior. The Zambezi Expedition was castigated as a failure in many newspapers of the time, and Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising funds further to explore Africa. Nevertheless, the scientists appointed to work under Livingstone, John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton did contribute large collections of botanic, ecological, geological and ethnographic material to scientific Institutions in the United Kingdom.
The Nile River
In January 1866, Livingstone returned to Africa, this time to Zanzibar, from where he set out to seek the source of the Nile. Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke and Samuel Baker had (although there was still serious debate on the matter) identified either Lake Albert or Lake Victoria as the source (which was partially correct, as the Nile "bubbles from the ground high in the mountains of Burundi halfway between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria" ). Livingstone believed the source was further south and assembled a team of freed slaves, Comoros Islanders, twelve Sepoys and two servants, Chuma and Susi, from his previous expedition to find it.
Setting out from the mouth of the Ruvuma river Livingstone's assistants began deserting him. The Comoros Islanders had returned to Zanzibar and informed authorities that Livingstone had died. He reached Lake Malawi on 6 August, by which time most of his supplies, including all his medicines, had been stolen. Livingstone then traveled through swamps in the direction of Lake Tanganyika. With his health declining he sent a message to Zanzibar requesting supplies be sent to Ujiji and he then headed west. Forced by ill health to travel with slave traders he arrived at Lake Mweru on 8 November 1867 and continued on, traveling south to become the first European to see Lake Bangweulu. Finding the Lualaba River, Livingstone decided it was the "real" Nile, but in fact it flows to the Upper Congo Lake.
In March 1869 Livingstone, suffering from pneumonia, arrived in Ujiji to find his supplies stolen. Coming down with Cholera and Tropical ulcers on his feet he was again forced to rely on slave traders to get him as far as Bambara where he was caught by the wet season. With no supplies, Livingstone had to eat his meals in a roped off open enclosure for the entertainment of the natives in return for food. Following the end of the wet season he returned to Ujiji arriving on 23 October 1871.
Although Livingstone was wrong about the Nile, he "discovered" for western science numerous geographical features, such as Lake Ngami, Lake Malawi, and Lake Bangweulu in addition to Victoria Falls mentioned above. He filled in details of Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru and the course of many rivers, especially the upper Zambezi, and his observations enabled large regions to be mapped which previously had been blank. Even so, the furthest north he reached, the north end of Lake Tanganyika, was still south of the Equator and he did not penetrate the rainforest of the River Congo any further downstream than Ntangwe near Misisi.
Livingstone was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London and was made a fellow of the society, with which he had a strong association for the rest of his life.
Illness, pain, and death
Livingstone completely lost contact with the outside world for six years and was ill for most of the last four years of his life. Only one of his 44 letter dispatches made it to Zanzibar. One surviving letter to Horace Waller, made available to the public in 2010 by its owner Peter Beard and multispectrally imaged by an international team led by Adrian S. Wisnicki, reads: "I am terribly knocked up but this is for your own eye only, ... Doubtful if I live to see you again ... "
Henry Morton Stanley, who had been sent to find him by the New York Herald newspaper in 1869, found Livingstone in the town of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on 27 October 1871, greeting him with the now famous words "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" to which he responded "Yes, and I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you." These famous words may be a fabrication, as Stanley has torn out the pages of this encounter in his diary. Even Livingstone's account of this encounter does not mention these words. However, the phrase appears in a New York Herald editorial dated 10 August 1872 and the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography both quote it without questioning its veracity.
Some in Burundi claim the famous meeting took place 12 km south of Bujumbura at the spot marked by the Livingstone-Stanley Monument, Mugere, but that marks a visit they made 15 days after their first meeting (see linked article for references) on their joint exploration of the north end of Lake Tanganyika, which ended when Stanley left in March the next year.
Despite Stanley's urgings, Livingstone was determined not to leave Africa until his mission was complete. His illness made him confused and he had judgment difficulties at the end of his life. He explored the Lualaba and, failing to find connections to the Nile, returned to Lake Bangweulu and its swamps to explore possible rivers flowing out northwards.
David Livingstone died in that area in Chief Chitambo's village at Ilala southeast of Lake Bangweulu in Zambia, on 1 May 1873 from malaria and internal bleeding caused by dysentery. He took his final breaths while kneeling in prayer at his bedside. (His journal indicates that the date of his death would have been 1 May, but his attendants noted the date as 4 May, which they carved on a tree and later reported; this is the date on his grave.) Britain wanted the body to give it a proper ceremony, but the tribe would not give his body to them. Finally they relented, but cut the heart out and put a note on the body that said, "You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!" Livingstone's heart was buried under a Mvula tree near the spot where he died, now the site of the Livingstone Memorial. His body together with his journal was carried over a thousand miles by his loyal attendants Chuma and Susi, and was returned to Britain for burial. After lying in repose at No.1 Saville Row—then the headquarters of the Royal Geographic Society, now the home of bespoke tailors Gieves & Hawkes— his remaining remains were interred at Westminster Abbey.
Livingstone and slavery
"And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together." — Livingstone in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald.
Livingstone's letters, books, and journals did stir up public support for the abolition of slavery; however, he became humiliatingly dependent for assistance on the very slave-traders whom he wanted to put out of business. Because he was a poor leader of his peers, he ended up on his last expedition as an individualist explorer with servants and porters but no expert support around him. At the same time he did not use the brutal methods of maverick explorers such as Stanley to keep his retinue of porters in line and his supplies secure. For these reasons from 1867 onwards he accepted help and hospitality from Mohamad Bogharib and Mohamad bin Saleh (also known as Mpamari), traders who kept and traded in slaves, as he recounts in his journals. They in turn benefited from Livingstone's influence with local people, which facilitated Mpamari's release from bondage to Mwata Kazembe.
Livingstone was also furious to discover some of the replacement porters sent at his request from Ujiji were slaves.
By the late 1860s Livingstone's reputation in Europe had suffered owing to the failure of the missions he set up, and of the Zambezi Expedition; and his ideas about the source of the Nile were not supported. His expeditions were hardly models of order and organization.
His reputation was rehabilitated by Stanley and his newspaper, and by the loyalty of Livingstone's servants whose long journey with his body inspired wonder. The publication of his last journal revealed stubborn determination in the face of suffering.
He had made geographical discoveries for European knowledge. He inspired abolitionists of the slave trade, explorers and missionaries. He opened up Central Africa to missionaries who initiated the education and health care for Africans, and trade by the African Lakes Company. He was held in some esteem by many African chiefs and local people and his name facilitated relations between them and the British.
Partly as a result, within fifty years of his death, colonial rule was established in Africa and white settlement was encouraged to extend further into the interior.
On the other hand, within a further fifty years after that, two other aspects of his legacy paradoxically helped end the colonial era in Africa without excessive bloodshed. Livingstone was part of an evangelical and nonconformist movement in Britain which during the 19th century changed the national mindset from the notion of a divine right to rule 'lesser races', to ethical ideas in foreign policy which, with other factors, contributed to the end of the British Empire. Secondly, Africans educated in mission schools founded by people inspired by Livingstone were at the forefront of national independence movements in central, eastern and southern Africa.
The church which Livingstone attended as a boy closed in 1966. It merged with a local Congregational Church, situated in South Park Street, Hamilton, of which his parents had been amongst the founder members. A small but active congregation continues worshipping and serving as Hamilton United Reformed Church. The majority of Scottish Congregational Churches formed a new United Reformed Church by joining with the existing United Reformed Church in April 2000.
The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre celebrates his life and is based on the very house in which he was born and raised, on the site of the mill in which he started his working life.
While Livingstone had a great impact on British Imperialism, he did so at a tremendous cost to his family. In his absences, his children grew up fatherless, and his wife Mary (daughter of Mary and Robert Moffat) eventually became an alcoholic and died of malaria trying to follow him in Africa. He had six children: Robert reportedly died in the American Civil War; Agnes (b.1847), Thomas, Elizabeth (who died two months after her birth), William Oswell (nicknamed Zouga because of the river along which he was born, in 1851) and Anna Mary (b.1858). Only Agnes, William Oswell and Anna Mary marrried and had issue.
His one regret in later life was that he did not spend enough time with his children.
The archives of David Livingstone are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS).
Places named in his honor and other memorials
- The Livingstone Memorial in Ilala, Zambia marks where he died.
- The city of Livingstone, Zambia which includes a memorial in front of the Livingstone Museum and a new statue erected in 2005.
- The Rhodes–Livingstone Institute in Livingstone and Lusaka, Zambia, 1940s to 1970s, was a pioneering research institution in urban anthropology.
- David Livingstone Teachers Training College, Livingstone, Zambia.
- The David Livingstone Memorial statue at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, erected in 1954 on the western bank of the falls.
- A new statue of David Livingstone was erected in November 2005 on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.
- A plaque was unveiled in November 2005 at Livingstone Island on the lip of Victoria Falls marking where Livingstone stood to get his first view of the falls.
- The town of Livingstonia, Malawi.
- The city of Blantyre, Malawi is named for his birthplace in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and includes a memorial.
- The David Livingstone Scholarships for students at the University of Malawi, funded through Strathclyde University, Scotland.
- The Kipengere Range in south-west Tanzania at the north-eastern end of Lake Malawi is also called the Livingstone Mountains.
- Livingstone Falls on the River Congo, named by Stanley.
- The Livingstone Inland Mission, a Baptist mission to the Congo Free State 1877–1884, located in what is now Kinshasa.
- A memorial in Ujiji commemorates his meeting with Stanley.
- The Livingstone-Stanley Monument, Mugere, Burundi marks a spot that Livingstone and Stanley visited on their exploration of Lake Tanganyika, mistaken by some as the first meeting place of the two explorers.
- Scottish Livingstone hospital in Molepolole 50 km west of Gaborone, Botswana
- There is a memorial to Livingstone at the ruins of the Kolobeng Mission, 40 km west of Gaborone, Botswana.
- The church tower of the Catholic Holy Ghost Mission in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, is called Livingstone Tower because his body was laid down there for one night before it was shipped to London.
- Livingstone House in Stone Town, Zanzibar, provided by the Sultan for Livingstone's use, January to March 1866, to prepare his last expedition; the house was purchased by the Zanzibar government in 1947.
- Plaque commemorating his departure from Mikindani on his final expedition on the wall of the house that has been built over the house he reputedly stayed in.
- David Livingstone Primary School in Harare, Zimbabwe.
- David Livingstone Secondary School in Ntabazinduna about 40 km from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
- David Livingstone Senior Secondary School in Schauderville, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
In New Zealand
- Livingstone Street in Westmere, Auckland
* A statue stands near the base of the Scott Monument in the Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.
- The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland, is a museum in his honour.
- David Livingstone Memorial Primary School in his birthplace, Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
- David Livingstone Memorial Church of the Church of Scotland, in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
- A statue of Livingstone is sited in Cathedral Square, Glasgow
- A bust of David Livingstone is among those of famous Scotsmen in the William Wallace Memorial near Stirling, Scotland.
- Strathclyde University, Glasgow (successor to Anderson's University), commemorates him in the David Livingstone Institute for International Development Studies, the David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability, and Livingstone Tower.
- The David Livingstone (Anderson College) Memorial Prize in Physiology commemorates him at the University of Glasgow.
- Livingstone street in Addiewell
- His grave is marked in Westminster Abbey, London.
- The Royal Geographic Society has a statue of Livingstone in the hall of their London headquarters.
- The London Missionary Society named their headquarters Livingstone House, in Carteret St, London SW1.
- Livingstone Cottage, Hadley Green, London Borough of Barnet, London, where he lived in 1857
- David Livingstone Primary School, Thornton Heath, London.
- Livingstone Primary School, New Barnet, London.
- Livingstone Primary School, Mossley, Tameside.
- The Livingstone Range of mountains in southern Alberta.
- David Livingstone Elementary School, Vancouver
- David Livingstone Community School, Winnipeg
- Bronze bust in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In the USA
- Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina.
- Livingstone Adventist Academy, Salem, Oregon.
From 1971–1998 Livingstone's image was portrayed on £10 notes issued by the Clydesdale Bank. He was originally shown surrounded by palm tree leaves with an illustration of African tribesmen on the back. A later issue showed Livingstone against a background graphic of a map of Livingstone's Zambezi expedition, showing the River Zambezi, Victoria Falls, Lake Nyasa and Blantyre, Malawi; on the reverse, the African figures were replaced with an image of Livingstone's birthplace in Blantyre, Scotland.
In popular culture
- According to a probably apocryphal story, perhaps Stanley's invention, Stanley told Livingstone what had occurred in Europe and America during his expedition; among other things he said that the 1872 U.S. presidential election campaign had begun and the Democratic Party had nominated Horace Greeley. Allegedly, Livingstone stopped Stanley there; he said, "You have told me curious things and wonderful, but there is a limit–when you tell me the Democrats have nominated Greeley for President I am hanged if I will believe it."
- In the film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent dresses up as Dr Livingstone at a fancy dress party.
- A 1936 British film David Livingstone.
- In 1939, a popular film called Stanley and Livingstone was released, with Cedric Hardwicke as Livingstone and Spencer Tracy as Stanley, portraying the works Livingstone did in Africa.
- "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is a song written by Artie Shaw and recorded by Artie Shaw & His Orchestra in the early 1940s.
- A different song entitled "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" appears on the 1968 Moody Blues album, In Search of the Lost Chord.
- In the series pilot of the television show "Remington Steele", the soon to be Remington Steele (played by Pierce Brosnan) says "Dr. Livingston, I presume" upon identifying Murphy Michaels in a photograph he has made.
- Mountains of the Moon is a 1990 film in which Livingstone is portrayed by Bernard Hill.
- "What about Livingstone" is a song by Swedish pop singer Peter Blake. Livingstone appears in the third row.
- In 1997, a made for television movie called "Forbidden Territory: Stanley's Search for Livingstone" was produced by National Geographic. Stanley was portrayed by Aidan Quinn and Livingstone was portrayed by Nigel Hawthorne.
- "Doctor Livingstone" is a song by Crowded House which is on their Afterglow album (1999).
- The fish seen in the background of Captain Picard's ready room in the popular television series Star Trek The Next Generation is named Livingston after the famous explorer.
- The fifth season episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is entitled: Doctor Bashir, I Presume? where we learn that Dr. Julian Bashir received genetic enhancements as a young boy.
- In the Get Smart reunion movie, "Get Smart, Again!", Max says "Dr. Hottentot I Presume".
- A video game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System entitled "Stanley and the Search for Dr. Livingston."
- A video game was released for the ZX Spectrum and other 8-bit computers called "Livingstone Supongo" ("Livingstone, I presume" in its UK release).
- In the video game Far Cry 2 a trophy/achievement called "Dr Livingstone, I presume" is awarded for entering every square kilometre of the map of a fictional region of Africa.
- In Wilbur Smiths action/adventure book The Falcon Flies Dr Livingstone is portrayed as Fuller Balyntine the great explorer of the interior of Africa
- In the Telex song "Cafe De La Jungle" from the album Looking For Saint Tropez, the words "Dr Livingstone , I presume?" are repeated.
- In the Garfield Comics, the line "Dr. Livingstone I presume" is often used in coincidence with Garfield running amok amongst Jon's plants.
- The 2009 History Channel reality series, Expedition Africa, documents a group of explorers attempting to traverse the route of Stanley's expedition in search of Livingstone.
- In March 1974, on pop group ABBA's second album WaterLoo, the song "What about Livingstone" heralds the explorer as a pioneer
- In the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, the director of the Megapolis Zoo is named Stanley Livingston.
- In Robert Heinlein's novel "Farnham's Freehold", the cat is named Dr.-Livingstone-I-Presume.
- Butcher, Tim (2007). Blood River:A Journey To Africa's Broken Heart. London : Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-7981-3
- Eynikel, Hilde (2005). Mrs. Livingstone: een biografie. Leuven: Davidsfonds. ISBN 90-5826-347-9 (Dutch)
- Holmes, Timothy (1993). Journey to Livingstone: Exploration of an Imperial Myth. Edinburgh: Canongate Press. ISBN 978-0-86241-402-3
- Jeal, Tim (1973). Livingstone. London: Heinemann. pp. 427p. ISBN 0-434-37208-0.
- Livingstone, David (1905) . Journeys in South Africa, or Travels and Researches in South Africa. London: The Amalgamated Press Ltd.
- Livingstone, David and James I. Macnair (ed.) (1954). Livingstone's Travels. London: J.M. Dent.
- Livingstone, David (1999) . Dernier Journal. Paris: Arléa. ISBN 2-86959-215-9 (French)
- Maclachlan, T. Banks. David Livingstone, Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1901, ("Famous Scots Series").
- Martelli, George (1970). Livingstone's River: A History of the Zambezi Expedition, 1858–1864. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-1527-2
- Morrill, Leslie, and Madge Haines (1959). Livingstone, Trail Blazer for God. Mountain View: Pacific Press Publication Association.
- Philip, M. NourbeSe (1991). Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence. Stratford: The Mercury Press. ISBN 978-0-920544-88-4
- Ross, Andrew C. (2002). David Livingstone: Mission and Empire. London and New York: Hambledon and London. ISBN 978-1-85285-285-6
- Waters, John (1996). David Livingstone: Trail Blazer. Leicester: Inter-Varsity. ISBN 978-0-85111-170-4
- Wisnicki, Adrian S. (2009). "Interstitial Cartographer: David Livingstone and the Invention of South Central Africa". Victorian Literature and Culture 37.1 (Mar.): 255-71.