Abandoned Slaves, Central Africa, 1866

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This record was last updated on 05 Nov 2012

Image Reference

David Livingstone, The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to his death . . . by Horace Waller (London, 1874, p.62; New York, 1875, facing p. 64).

Captioned "Slaves Abandoned," this engraving shows a small group of captured African who were left to die, some with the "slave sticks" still around their necks; hyenas hovering in the background. These people were being taken across Central Africa to the east coast of Africa. On June 27, 1866, Livingstone recorded: "To-day we came upon a man dead from starvation . . . One of our men wandered and found a number of slaves with slave-sticks on, abandoned by their master from want of food; they were too weak to be able to speak or say where they had dome from; some were quite young" (p. 62). This engraving, as others in the book, was made from one of Livingstone's sketches. Although often reproduced in modern secondary sources, the primary source is rarely cited. Also published in J. E. Chambliss, The Life and Labors of David Livingstone" (Philadelphia, 1875), p. 439, where it is captioned "Left to their Fate"; in "The Life and African Explorations of Dr. David Livingstone" (St. Louis, 1874), p. 123; and in Thomas W. Knox, The Boy Travellers on the Congo (New York, 1888), p. 421, where it is captioned "slaves left to die"; Knox is sometimes, erroneously, cited as the primary source.