Welcome to a new year. Even though the pandemic continues to impact many events, there are several new things to tell you about this year.
I have also seen an interesting snippet posted by Colin Edwards of Platform 9¾. This was completely new to me. Henry Stanley, famous for the line “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” was Welsh by birth.
Henry Morton Stanley was born John Rowlands on 28th January 1841 in Denbigh. He was a journalist and explorer, famous for his search for David Livingstone and his part in the European colonisation of Africa.
His parents were not married, and he was brought up in a workhouse, so in 1859, he left for America as a worker on a ship. Jumping ship in New Orleans, he decided to change his name. He fought on both sides in the American Civil War, before becoming a journalist with the New York Herald, persuading the paper’s editor to commission him to go to Africa to find David Livingstone, who he located on Lake Tanganyika on 10th November 1871. It was his reports on this expedition that made him famous.
Stanley went on to explore vast areas of central Africa, following the Congo River from its source to the sea and with the support of King Leopold II of Belgium. He returned with plans to develop the region and worked to open the lower Congo to commerce by the construction of roads, although his methods of using forced labour during this time have stained his reputation in recent histories. On his return to Europe in 1890, he began a worldwide lecture tour. He became the Member of Parliament for Lambeth and was knighted in 1899. He died in London on 10th May 1904.