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David Livingstone and the Lion

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David Livingstone and the Lion


"Hi! My name is Kirsty Earley from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and today I want to talk to you about David Livingstone.

David Livingstone was a Scottish physician, medical missionary, and explorer during the 19th century. His missionary work was done through the London Missionary Society, who sent him to Africa. This work involved preaching Christian theology and taking care of the health of the people that he came into contact with.

Some of his work was quite dangerous though. While stationed in the village of Mabotsa, which is in modern-day South Africa, Livingstone was attacked by a lion. The lion jumped on Livingstone and pinned him to the ground, piercing his shoulder. As a result, Livingstone's arm was broken and thankfully that was the only injury he suffered. However, he was the only medical man in his group so he had to set his arm himself. As a result, part of his arm was 180 degrees out of alignment.

The College has a plaster cast of Livingstone's arm in their collection. You can see the bump where the fracture in the humerus was and also how it is out of alignment. These anatomical features were used to identify Livingstone's body after his death.

As part of our new Reframed series, the College is looking at David Livingstone's story in a new light and how Scotland presents the white savior complex. This event is on 25th March and you can sign up for it now.

Join us for these videos where we tell you short stories from our heritage- we bring our heritage to you. Bye!"