Henry Morton Stanley

By: Isabel Martínez

Henry Morton Stanley

Original name John Rowland. Was born in January 28, 1841, Denbighshire, Wales and died May 10, 1904,in London England. His mother Elizabeth Parry was 18 years old, and she abandoned him as a very young baby and cut off all communication. Stanley never knew his father, who died within a few weeks of his birth. After all he became a great British American explorer of Central Africa and became famous for his rescue of the Scottish explorer David Livingstone and for his discoveries and development of the Congo region.


Between 1874 and 1877 Henry Morton Stanley traveled central Africa East to West, he explored Lake Victoria which is one of the greatest African lakes of all, named Lake Victoria as the Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Stanley also explored Lake Tanganyika which is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, and the Lualaba and Congo rivers. He covered 7,000 miles from Zanzibar in the east to Boma in the center of the Congo.


-Henry Morton Stanley was born as John Rowlands on 28 January 1841 in Denbigh, Wales.

-In 1859, he left for New Orleans.

-In 1867, Stanley became special correspondent for the New York Herald. Two years later he was commissioned by the paper to go to Africa and search for Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

-Stanley reached Zanzibar in January 1871 and proceeded to Lake Tanganyika, Livingstone's last known location.

-In November 1871 he found the explorer who greet him with the famous words: 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?' Stanley's reports on his expedition made his name.

When Livingstone died in 1873, Stanley resolved to continue his exploration of the region.

-August 1877, after an epic journey that he later described in 'Through the Dark Continent' (1878).

-In 1879, with Leopold's support, Stanley returned to Africa where he worked to open the lower Congo to commerce by the construction of roads.

-In 1890, now back in Europe, Stanley married and then began a worldwide lecture tour.

-He became member of parliament for Lambeth in south London, serving from 1895 to 1900.

-He was knighted in 1899.

-He died in London on 10 May 1904.

Effects of Exploration

Although Stanley was loved and honored by his african followers, he was also really feared. Stanley acknowledged that many people had called him "hard", also he wrote in "Through the dark continent" a passage that says "the savage only respects force, power, boldness, and decision. He would abuse of the African people. His expeditions were different. Stanley traveled with several hundred African men, modern equipment, a ship and plenty of weapons. But he used guns to force his men forward at high pace. Stanley destroyed everything in his way and fought wars with a lot of African tribes. He managed to navigate on Lake Victoria and finally followed the Congo River all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. He became the first European to map these areas. In 1878 he went back to Europe loaded with Ivory and eager to tell all of his adventures.

What can we learn from this explorer and his explorations?

Although Stanley was a person who grew up with no one by his side and taking care of him. His future was never clear because of his way of living. But even thought he succeed and became a really famous explorer and writer of adventure journals. From his part we can learn that any dream can come true if you just work for it. From his explorations we learn that although he wanted to help african people with some problems and explore their territory but he also abuse of them. But thanks to Stanley new routes and places of Africa are now well known.