Stanley, Henry Morton

1841–1904
British explorer and author

Henry Morton Stanley made several extensive journeys in Africa in the second half of the 1900s. The books he wrote about his adventures were widely read. Stanley was born John Rowlands in Wales, where he grew up in an orphanage. In 1859 he traveled to the United States and changed his name to that of a merchant who had befriended him. Drifting from place to place, Stanley fought on both sides in the American Civil War and served on naval and merchant ships. In the late 1860s he became a journalist reporting on the Indian Wars of the American West.

Stanley, Henry Morton

Stanley went to Africa as a correspondent for the New York Herald. In 1871 the newspaper sent him to search for David LIVINGSTONE, the British missionary and explorer who was missing in central Africa. Stanley found the explorer and uttered the now famous greeting, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” His accounts of the journey received wide attention. When Livingstone died a few years later, Stanley decided to continue the explorer’s work. Between 1874 and 1877 he led an expedition across Africa from east to west by way of Lake Victoria and the CONGO RIVER—a journey described in his book Through the Dark Continent (1878).

Stanley next spent five years working for King Leopold II of Belgium, overseeing the construction of a railroad in the Congo colony. In the late 1880s he led a third and final expedition, crossing Africa from west to east to rescue EMIN PASHA, a European working as a provincial governor for Egypt. Emin was reportedly stranded in the center of the continent. Stanley wrote In Darkest Africa about that expedition. He spent his remaining years in England, serving as a member of the British Parliament. (See also Travel and Exploration.)