David Livingstone’s Burialby J-Touchette
David Livingstone is famous for the life he lived, but his burial was no boring affair either.
Born March 19, 1813, Livingstone was not born into high standing and so had to work in a cotton mill as a young boy. Yet through night school and hard work, he eventually made his way through medical school. He was taken with some of the stories he’d heard of missionaries in Asia, and decided he would try to improve the world in the same way.
After becoming an ordained missionary, Livingstone set out to Africa, where he would spend the majority of the next 30 years of his life. Originally his mission was one focused on making the tribesman in Africa civilized, but his journey became one of exploration instead.
He was often the first European to meet a new tribe and was the first to explore many of the areas of Africa. He gained the trust of the tribes by providing his medical services and became very well known among the tribes.
He died May 1, 1873 in Chitambo’s village. It was requested that the body be sent back to England for burial, but the superstitious tribesmen wouldn’t allow his body to be moved. When finally they agreed, they first cut out his heart saying that Livingstone’s heart always belonged to Africa. The heart was buried under a mpundu tree, where there is now a monument to Livingstone.
His body was carried to the coast of Africa in a bark cylinder wrapped in sailcloth, then brought by boat to England. It was decided his body would be buried at Westminster Abbey, and the funeral was held on April 18, 1874.
And so it was that David Livingstone was buried in two places at once.