Henry Stanley - British Empire 1815-1914

British Empire
Go to content
The Meeting of Stanley and Livingstone at Uiji 1871


Sir Henry Morton Stanley

Fighting in the US Civil War
Stanley was an explorer and journalist. He was born John Rowlands in Denbigh in 1841, and went to New Orleans as a cabin boy. There he was adopted by a merchant and he took their family name, Stanley and also took American citizenship. He fought on the side of the Confederates in the American Civil War and also served in the US Navy before, in 1867,  becoming a special correspondent for the New York Herald at the age of 26 and was sent to East Africa and Spain. He accompanied General Napier’s expedition into Abyssinia and was the first correspondent to report on Napier’s  victory at the Battle of Magdala. In 1869 he ordered by Mr Gordon Bennett to find David Livingstone, thought to be lost in central Africa. He began by travelling down the newly opened Suez Canal, following his witnessing of its opening, and then visited Palestine, Turkey, Persia and India. In March 1871 he left Zanzibar  for Tanganyika.
Henry Morton Stanley
Finding Livingstone
He came across Livingstone in Ujiji on 10 November 1871 and the two men explored the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika together. He returned to Britain and wrote an account of his finding Livingstone. He went to west Africa to report on General  Wolseley’s Ashante campaign in 1873/74 before setting out for east Africa in August 1874 to Victoria Nyanza, and then to Lake Tanganyika, tracing the course of the River Congo down to the sea. He published Through the Dark Continent (1878) and  returned to the Congo on behalf of King Leopold II in 1879, attended the West African Conference in Berlin and from 1886 to 1889 led another expedition to Africa to find the German explorer and acting governor of Equatorial Sudan, Emin Pasha, who was allegedly murdered by the troops of the Mahdi.
Marriage and British citizenship
Stanley found Emin in April 1888 on the shores of Lake Albert after two years of further exploration and led  him to Zanzibar, thus tracing a new route across central Africa from west to east. He married the artist Miss Dorothy Tennant in 1890 and wrote four books describing his travels, all of which aroused a good deal of interest in Africa. He used his experiences to give lectures throughout Britain, Australia, New Zealand and America. He re-took British citizenship in 1892 and became a unionist-Conservative MP for Lambeth North from 1895 to 1900. In 1900 he received a knighthood and died in 1904.
Back to content