Sir Henry Morton Stanley


Biography of Sir Henry Morton Stanley

Sir Henry Morton Stanley born John Rowlands, Kongo byname Bula Matari (“Breaker of Rocks”) (28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904), was a Welsh American journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley allegedly uttered the now-famous greeting, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley is also known for his discoveries in and development of the Congo region. He was knighted in 1899.

When Stanley was born in Denbigh, Wales, his mother, Elizabeth Parry, was 19 years old. He never knew his father, who died within a few weeks of his birth; there is some doubt as to his true parentage. His parents were unmarried, so his birth certificate describes him as a bastard and the stigma of illegitimacy weighed heavily upon him all his life.

Originally taking his father's name of Rowlands, Stanley was brought up by his grandfather until the age of five. When his guardian died, Stanley stayed at first with cousins and nieces for a short time, but was eventually sent to St. Asaph Union Workhouse for the poor, where overcrowding and lack of supervision resulted in frequent abuse by the older boys. It has also been postulated that he was raped by the headmaster of the workhouse in 1847. When he was ten, his mother and two siblings stayed for a short while in this workhouse, but Stanley did not recognize them until told by the master about their identities. He stayed until the age of 15. After completing an elementary education, he was employed as a pupil teacher in a National School.

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