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A Chronology of Livingstone's Life

The following table details the major events in David Livingstone's life from his birth in Blantyre in 1813 to his burial in Westminster Abbey in 1874.

Date  
1813 19 March - born at Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland
1836 Enters Anderson's University, Glasgow, to study medicine
1837 First contact with London Missionary Society
1838 Starts a probationary year at the London Missionary Society in Essex
1840 January - moves to London to continue medical studies
Meets Robert Moffat
November - passes exams to become Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and is ordained a missionary in London
December - sails for South Africa
1841 March - reaches Cape Town
July - arrives at the mission centre at Kuruman
October - travels with Rogers Edwards
1842 2 long journeys north from Kuruman
1843 Mission founded at Mabotsa
1844 May - Gets engaged to Mary Moffat
1845 January - marries Mary Moffat, daughter of Robert Moffat
1846 January - birth of their first child, Robert
Begins work at Chonuane
1847 May - birth of their second child, Agnes
Moves to Kolobeng
1849 March - Birth of their third child, Thomas
Expedition to Lake Ngami with William Cotton Oswell
1850 Expedition northwards with family
Birth of their fourth child, Elizabeth (dies after 6 weeks)
1851 August - Reaches Zambesi with Oswell
Birth of their fifth child, (William) Oswell
1852 Mary and children leave for Britain
Sack of Kolobeng by Boers
1853 May - arrives at Linyanti
November - sets off up Zambesi
1854 May - reaches Luanda
1855 Returns to Linyanti
November - sets off for Zambesi and Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls which he names after Queen Victoria
1856 March - reaches Tete
July - sails to Mauritius
December - returns to Britain
1857 Publication of Missionary travels and researches in South Africa
Resigns from London Missionary Society
1858 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
March - Leaves for Zambesi Expedition with Mary and son Oswell whom he leaves in Cape Town with the Moffats
May - reaches mouth of Zambesi
November - birth of their sixth child, Anna Mary in Kuruman
1859 Mary and children return to England
Expedition up the Shire River to Lake Nyassa
1860 Travels up Zambesi and returns to east coast
1861 Paddle steamer, the Pioneer arrives from England with missionaries to build a mission on the Shire
1862 Mary Livingstone joins expedition
April - Death of Mary Livingstone
1863 Expedition recalled from London
Explores western side of Lake Nyassa
1864 Returns to Britain
1865 Publication of Narrative of an expedition to the Zambesi and its tributaries
Leaves England for Bombay
1866 January - sails from Bombay to Zanzibar
Arrives on the African mainland and travels up Rovuma valley
1867-8 Reaches Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu
1869 March - arrives at Ujiji with pneumonia
September - reaches Bambarre & travels to Luama river
December - returns to Bambarre
1870 Travels north but falls ill and returns to Bambarre in July
1871 February - leaves Bambarre
March - reaches Nyangwe and Lualaba river
October - returns to Ujiji
November - joined by H M Stanley
1872 Travels with Stanley to Unyanyembe
March - Stanley leaves
August - Leaves Unyanyembe for Lake Tanganyika
1873 May 1 - dies at village of local headman, Chitambo
1874 Body shipped to Britain via Zanzibar and Aden
April 24 - buried in Westminster Abbey

Find out about Livingstone's medical education