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Dr David Livingstone

British schools are helping to boost Islamism with politically correct lessons that tell black pupils that slavery was entirely the fault of English and Americans, and omit the long and vicious history of Arab slave trading, according to an influential Church of England bishop, Nazir Ali.

The men of African descent who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in London may have been fed this travesty of history, but they could have picked it up online. Presumably they never heard of Doctor David Livingstone, one of many Christians who battled to end the slave trade and slavery in Africa.

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Born two hundred years ago, in Scotland, David Livingstone began work in a textile mill at the age of ten. Somehow he educated himself, paid his own way through school to become a doctor, and simultaneously became an ordained minister. His faith led him to become a missionary in Africa, but his work was unsuccessful. After seven years, he had come no closer to ending 'the open sore of the world', African slavery. He decided to embark on a new strategy, though it was likely it would kill him.

Livingstone set himself

on a collision course with a sophisticated economic system organised from the East African coast by Arab and Portuguese slave traders. Yet in his usual undaunted way, he had soon worked out a scheme that would not only open up Africa to God and civilisation, but also dispose of slavery into the bargain. Like so many Victorians, he took it for granted that a free market would be more efficient than an unfree one In his view, the witchery of the slave trade had distracted attention from every other source of wealth in Africa: Coffee, cotton sugar oil iron and even gold were abandoned for the delusive gains of a trade which rarely enriches. If an easier route could be found by which honest merchants could travel to the interior and establish legitimate trade in these other commodities--buying the products of free African labour rather than taking that labour by force and exporting it--then the slave traders would be put out of business. Free labour would drive out unfree. All Livingstone had to do was to find this route.

In his search for the artery of civilisation, Livingstone was indefatigable. Indeed, compared with those who struggled to keep pace with him, he seemed indestructible. Already the first man to cross the Kalahari desert, the first white man to see Lake Ngami and the first white man to traverse the continent, in November 1855 he became the first to see what is perhaps the greatest of all the natural wonders in the world. . .the Zambezi. . .and Victoria Falls. Livingstone believed that the Zambezi could become Africa's great highway. -Niall Ferguson writing in Empire.

Livingstone's travels have entered the realm of myth. His belief that the two pioneers of civilisation are Christianity and commerce have been dismissed.

Many people love to travel, and there are many parts of the world we like to visit. We don't always want to live where we travel, don't you know.

Is it just an accident that most people would prefer to live in countries which have inherited the principles of freedom, honesty, and kindness espoused by Jesus and Livingstone?

They're 3 of the 27 gifts which inspired our book, Share the Inheritance (see sidebar).

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