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Chapter I. The Occupation of Northern Rhodesia Λ φ ^ Λ ο ι ι David Livingstone, "the end of the geo2 2 • ι C^ graphical feat [was] the beginning of the 4* W^ tj-missionary enterprise."1 His patient exploraQ 5 C-j tions kindled a renewed Western interest VL*Y"'v'-' in the heart of Africa and encouraged other Britons to concern themselves with the welfare of "dark­ est Africa." Although he was anticipated in his discoveries by a number of Portuguese entrepreneurs, his example alone opened up Central Africa and made its rapid occupation by missionaries of many denominations possi­ ble. In some way each denomination sought to emulate him, and to minister to the benighted millions of Central Africa in his name. Livingstone went to work in a Scottish cotton mill at the age of ten, and later studied medicine in Glasgow. He joined the London Missionary Society (an undenomi­ national foundation that later developed strong ties to the Congregational Church), hoping to be sent to China, but the first Opium War intervened, and he was instead persuaded to join the experienced Robert Moffat at the Kuruman station in Bechuanaland. Before too long, Livingstone had begun to prospect for sites for a new mission station beyond Kuruman. In 1849, after marrying Moffat's daughter and estab­ lishing his own stations, Livingstone guided the first successful European crossing of the Kalahari desert to 1 Quoted in George Seaver, David Livingstone: His Life and Letters (London, 1957), 267. 3 OCCUPATION Lake Ngami. Later, in order to provide a new outlet for evangelical enterprise, he followed up the visit to Lake Ngami with journeys across the desert toward the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. Upon reaching the Zambezi at Old Sesheke in August 1851, he anticipated that the river might provide him with an easy road into the heart of Africa—with its unevangelized millions—that was not dependent upon the dangerous route across the Kalahari desert. For the first time, he also came into contact with the slave trade. Together, apparent evangelical opportunity and the horrors of the slave trade provided the tasks to which he devoted the remainder of his life. He wrote: "You will see .. . what an immense region God in His Providence has opened up. If we can enter in and form a settlement we shall be able in the course of a very few years to put a stop to the slave trade in that quarter. . . . Providence seems to call me to regions beyond."2 Livingstone became obsessed with a desire to open up the interior of tropical Africa to new forms of commerce and Christianity in order to end the slave trade, foster missionary endeavor, and destroy ignorance, poverty , and isolation—all obstacles to the "civilization" of Africa. Between 1853 and 1856 he therefore investigated the "unknown" regions of Central Africa. From Linyanti, the Kololo center on the Chobe, Livingstone in 1853 travelled up the Zambezi River at the head of a small company of Africans. This, his first visit to Barotseland, in many ways prepared the way for its later settlement by British and French Protestant missionaries. Wherever his party went, it was greeted hospitably: "The people of every village treated us most liberally, presenting, * Ibid., 144. 4 OCCUPATION besides oxen, butter, milk, and meal, more than we could stow away in our canoes. The cows in this valley are now yielding . . . more milk than the people can use, and both men and women present butter in such quantity, that I shall be able to refresh my [Kololo] men as we move along."3 They continued north, across Lunda country—to which Plymouth Brethren were later to take the Gospel—and in early 1854 traversed Portuguese territory to Luanda, on the Atlantic Ocean. After a much needed rest, Livingstone turned once again towards the Zambezi River. In September 1855, after another trek across Barotseland, he reached Linyanti, where he had originally embarked upon his explorations nearly two years before. Within a few months Livingstone completed his pioneer examination of the heart of Africa. Travelling down the Zambezi River, he experienced the thrill of the falls that he named Victoria, after the Queen of England. Then, avoiding the warlike Ha, he crossed the Tonga plateau and eventually followed the course of the Zambezi River to Tete and Quelimane, in Mogambique. He arrived at the Indian Ocean in May 1856, having taken twenty months to negotiate the African continent from west to east. Six months later, after the news of his travels had preceded...


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