Dr. David Livingstone: Bringing Jesus to the Jungle


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Dr. David Livingstone was a strange mix of religiosity and hard-hearted practicality. He set off into the wilds of Africa looking to save a race of people from eternal damnation ... and from humanity itself. How much do you know about this famous explorer?

Dr. David Livingstone gained fame for his explorations of which area?

Livingstone spent large chunks of his life exploring swaths of Africa. His daring and persistence opened the eyes of many Westerners to African culture.


Livingstone was born in 1813. What were his thoughts on religion?

He was a Protestant believer to his bones. He thought it was a duty of his life to take Christianity to the people of Africa.


How did Livingstone feel about slavery?

Livingstone was a godly man who felt as if slavery was one of the worst sins of humanity. He wanted more than anything to abolish the degrading practice.


Livingstone was enthralled with Africa, but he grew up where?

Livingstone was born near Glasgow, Scotland and raised in a poor family. He began working hard at a young age to help support his family.


Livingstone first wanted to become a missionary in which country?

His original plan was to become a missionary in China. But a war there made him change his mind.


Livingstone was the first white person to see what the locals called "the smoke that thunders," which was what?

Livingstone was lucky enough to be the first white person to see Victoria Falls, a gigantic and deafening waterfall. He gave the falls their current name, after Queen Victoria.


Early in his African mission trips, Livingstone was badly hurt. What happened?

A lion stalked a local sheep herd and Livingstone decided to intervene. He was rewarded with a maimed arm that never completely healed.


Livingstone rarely encountered any sort of violence during his travels.

The man suffered through dozens of attacks on his person during his years in Africa. But he didn't dwell on the attacks -- nor publicize them -- because he didn't want to frighten other missionaries.


Why was Livingstone intent on mapping many of the region's rivers?

He felt that the rivers were a conduit of sorts, not just for economic improvement, but as a means to spread Christianity.


Livingstone would have never succeeded in his first transcontinental journey without the help of which person?

A young African king named Sekeletu helped Livingstone with men and supplies, both of which aided the trip's success. Sekeletu's wasn't just being nice. He wanted to benefit from an economic boom he hoped would result from the white man's explorations.


In 1858, Livingstone led the second Zambezi Expedition, which was funded by the Royal Geographical Society of Britain. What was the purpose of the trip?

The journey lasted from 1858 to 1864, and its purpose was to find mineral resources ripe for exploitation. It was during this trip that his wife joined him.


Polygamy was a way of life for many Africans. How did Livingstone approach this subject?

Polygamy wasn't the Christian way, and Livingstone was adamant that the Africans give up the lifestyle. Most of them simply scoffed at his suggestion.


Livingstone had a motto for his mission trips. What was that motto?

His famous motto was "Christianity, Commerce and Civilization," a quick road map that he thought would improve the lives of all Africans.


Why did Livingstone become obsessed with finding the source of the River Nile?

The explorer was convinced that finding the Nile's source would make him very famous -- and powerful -- in a way that would help him fight slavery.


In the middle of the 1850s, Livingstone returned to England and shared his discoveries. How was he treated?

His exploits across Africa turned him into a national hero. He used his notoriety to begin a push for the abolition of slavery.


From a religious standpoint, Livingstone was a fabulously successful missionary, converting many Africans to Christianity.

Livingstone was not a convincing missionary. He converted perhaps one African to Christianity.


He was often in charge of many people who relied on him for guidance. What sort of leader was Livingstone?

Livingstone was an indecisive and emotionally unstable leader who couldn’t make reasoned decisions. On every expedition, his followers tended to abandon him for home.


Livingstone was so deep into Africa that he lost contact with the West for how long?

For six years, Livingstone might as well have been dead and gone. He was so deep into Africa that even his family heard nothing from him for six years.


Who uttered the famous phrase, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

In 1869, a man named Henry Morton Stanley set off to locate the long-lost Livingstone. In 1871, Stanley finally caught up to him and uttered the legendary words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"


Livingstone married a woman named Mary in 1847. How did she die in 1862?

Mary made the mistake of following Livingstone on one of his African adventures … and she got malaria and died. Two of her six children were born during Livingstone's expeditions.


During the second Zambezi Expedition, the men fell on hard times. Livingstone said, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be WHAT?"

He said, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward." He might have been a little crazy, but Livingstone's determination was legendary.


The government decided to stop funding the years-long second Zambezi Expedition. Why?

The government was primarily interested in finding minerals and the best routes to the interior of Africa, but Livingstone wasn’t very successful. The explorer was forced to return home.


During his later expeditions, Livingstone was on friendly terms with slave traders.

Livingstone had a hard time keeping help around for his trips. But African slave traders helped solve his labor problems … and they benefited from Livingstone's strong relationships with the locals. They also helped Livingstone when his health failed.


What event finally stopped Livingstone's pursuit of the Nile's origins?

In 1871, he witnessed hundreds of Africans being massacred by Arab slave traders. The event was so disheartening that he finally gave up his quest to find the Nile's source.


Later in his life, Livingstone had one major regret. What was it?

As he grew older, he really only regretted one thing -- not spending enough time with his children.


David Livingstone stomped all over Africa. How did he die?

He was beset by malaria and dysentery, and he couldn't fight off the effects. He died at age 60 in what's now Zambia.


How long was Livingstone sick before he died?

His health declined for about four years before he finally died. Many 19th-century missionaries were killed by tropical diseases.


Livingstone perished in Africa. Where was his body buried?

He died in Africa, but his countrymen had no intention of leaving him there. His corpse was shipped back to England and buried in London.


Livingstone knew he was dying. What were his final journal entries like?

Even as the end approached, Livingstone was still determined and stubborn in his religiously-driven cause. He hoped that his work would not fade away in vain.


David Livingstone's work helped to stamp out the East African slave trade.

His observations and insights, particularly regarding the wretched massacre, made headlines in Britain, thanks in large part to Henry Stanley. In the end, the slave trade suffered due to Livingstone's work.


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