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Author

Jack Archie

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Abstract

The journey to their destination of Ujiji took nearly a year, travelling by boat from Britain, around the Horn of Africa to Zanzibar, where they would travel by land to Ujiji. This voyage would be physically grueling, resulting in widespread sickness and even death amongst the mission. And yet the first correspondence received by the headquarters London Missionary Society upon the mission’s arrival in Ujiji in September 1878 informed them of two pieces of news: the leader had suffered a likely fatal stroke, and that his second-in-command, a missionary by the name E. C. Hore had purchased a boat. This boat, named the Calabash, was the largest boat operating on Lake Tanganyika and cost nearly 150 pounds to buy. A former slave dhow, it would be retrofitted as a vehicle of evangelism. Hore noted the Calabash was a welcome sight, as for the last month the only other boats he had seen were small canoes and rafts, and at last, he and the mission were in possession of a proper ship. Even then, though, he was not entirely satisfied, and oversaw the ship was overhauled and rebuilt after this purchase, to ensure its speed, stability and durability.

It is somewhat curious, that after spending several months on a boat, there would be the immediate impulse by the mission to buy another, instead of settling into the foreign land they had traveled so far to reach. But, the Calabash would prove essential to the LMS’ mission in Ujiji, and would be an epitome of the mission’s reach. Yet, an even larger steamship, bequeathed to the LMS by a wealthy Scottish philanthropist, would soon replace the Calabash. What the London Missionary Society described as a mission of proselytization and spiritual enlightenment would become in equal parts a mission of materialistic development. The mission was ambitious in just the first three years, spirituality would beget morality, politics and technology as the presence of these few British missionaries in East Africa, just four of the forty-one5 Europeans would fundamentally transform Ujiji and the settlements and space around it.

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