David Livingstone was born near Glasgow, Scotland, March 19, 1813, and he died in Central Africa April 30, 1873. After he had been admitted to the medical profession and had studied theology, he decided to join Robert Moffat, the celebrated missionary, in Africa. Livingstone arrived at Cape Town in 1840, and soon moved toward the interior. He spent sixteen years in Africa, engaged in medical and missionary labors and in making his famous and most useful explorations of the country. His own account of the beginnings of his work, taken from his Missionary Travels, shows the sincere and simple spirit of the man, and his natural powers of observation and description are seen in his own story of his first important discovery, that of Lake Ngami. The narrative of Thomas Hughes, the well-known English author, whose favorite subjects were manly men and their characteristic deeds, follows the explorer on the first of his famous journeys in the Zambesi Basin.
I embarked for Africa in 1840, and, after a voyage of three months, reached Cape Town. Spending but a short time there, I started for the interior by going round to Algoa Bay, and soon proceeded inland, and spent the following sixteen years of my life, namely, from 1840 to 1856, in medical and missionary labors there without cost to the inhabitants.
The general instructions I received from the directors of the London Missionary Society led me, as soon as I reached Kuruman or Lattakoo, then their farthest inland station from the Cape, to turn my attention to the north. Without waiting longer at Kuruman than was necessary to recruit the oxen, which were pretty well tired by the long journey from Algoa Bay, I proceeded, in company with another missionary, to the Bechuana or Bakwain country, and found Sechele, with his tribe, located at Shokuane. We shortly afterward retraced our steps to Kuruman; but as the objects in view were by no means to be attained by a temporary excursion of this sort, I determined to make a fresh start into the interior as soon as possible. Accordingly, after resting three months at Kuruman, which is a kind of head station in the country, I returned to a spot about fifteen miles south of Shokuane, called Lepelole (now Litubaruba). Here, in order to obtain an accurate knowledge of the language, I cut myself off from all European society for about six months, and gained by this ordeal an insight into the habits, ways of thinking, laws, and language of that section of the Bechuanas called Bakwains, which has proved of incalculable advantage in my intercourse with them ever since.