Stanley, Sir Henry Morton (1841–1904), an Anglo-American journalist and explorer of Africa. He is most famous for his difficult but successful search to find David Livingstone, the British missionary and explorer believed lost in central Africa. Stanley's African expeditions added much information about the geography of the continent and helped open it to colonization.
Stanley was born John Rowlands, in Wales, and as a child was sent to a home for the poor. While still a youth, he sailed as cabin boy to New Orleans, where he was adopted by a wealthy merchant. During the American Civil War Stanley served first in the Confederate Army and later joined the U.S. Navy.
After the war, Stanley turned to journalism, becoming a foreign correspondent for the New York Herald. In 1868 he accompanied a British expedition to Ethiopia and sent the first account of the freeing of British subjects who had been imprisoned there. Traveling for the Herald, in 1871 he led an expedition into the interior of Africa to find Livingstone. In November the two explorers met at a village on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. After several months of exploration with Livingstone, he returned to London and published How I Found Livingstone (1872).
Stanley made several more expeditions to Africa. During one of his most important journeys (1874–77) he explored the southern sources of the White Nile, discovered Lake Edward, and traced the entire length of the Congo River from near its source to the Atlantic Ocean. An account of these travels is in his book Through the Dark Continent (1878). In 1879 he led an expedition to the Congo region for King Leopold II of Belgium and helped found the Congo Free State. In 1887 he again sailed for Africa and led a mission that rescued Emin Pasha, a governor of the Sudan besieged by rebel forces, in 1888.
In 1890 Stanley settled in London. He regained his British citizenship in 1892, was knighted, and served in Parliament from 1895 to 1900.