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The Art of African Exploration
«home :: The Smoke that Thunders: Victoria Falls

In 1855, David Livingstone became the first European to lay eyes upon Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders"), the astonishing waterfall on the border between present-day Zimbabwe and Zambia. He promptly renamed it Victoria Falls in honor of England’s queen. In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created lushly rendered paintings of the site. These works were exhibited, published as chromolithographs, and made into lantern slides. A proliferation of images spread the fame of the Falls throughout Britain.

The railway reached Victoria Falls in 1905, enabling Britain to impose imperial rule in the area and making the Falls a popular destination for British travelers. Advertising replaced ominous images of "Darkest Africa" with the attractions of "Brightest Africa." Victoria Falls was marketed as "the World’s Riviera," a destination for "tourists, sportsmen, invalids, and settlers."

 
The Rainbow Fall from Livingstone Island,  Image number:SIL28-270-01
The Rainbow Fall from Livingstone Island
Percy Clark was one of the first white settlers in the Victoria Falls area. Arri...
The Main Fall,  Image number:SIL28-270-02
The Main Fall
Percy Clark was one of the first white settlers in the Victoria Falls area. Arri...
The View from Hotel,  Image number:SIL28-270-03
The View from Hotel
Percy Clark was one of the first white settlers in the Victoria Falls area. Arri...
In Brightest Africa,  Image number:SIL28-271-01
In Brightest Africa
A 1905 promotional booklet encouraging travel to Africa, describing it as "the W...
The Falls by sunrise, with the
The Falls by sunrise, with the "spray cloud" rising 1,000 feet
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
The leaping water or westernmost cataract,  Image number:SIL28-274-02
The leaping water or westernmost cataract
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
The Falls from the western end of the chasm,  Image number:SIL28-274-03
The Falls from the western end of the chasm
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
Great Western (or main) fall, from Three Rill Cliff to Garden Island,  Image number:SIL28-274-04
Great Western (or main) fall, from Three Rill Cliff to Garden Island
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
Herd of buffaloes driven to the edge of the chasm,  Image number:SIL28-274-05
Herd of buffaloes driven to the edge of the chasm
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
Centre Rock Fall, and the eastern cataracts,  Image number:SIL28-274-06
Centre Rock Fall, and the eastern cataracts
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
Zanjueelah, the boatman of the rapids,  Image number:SIL28-274-07
Zanjueelah, the boatman of the rapids
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
The Falls from the narrow neck near the eastern headland of the outlet,  Image number:SIL28-274-09
The Falls from the narrow neck near the eastern headland of the outlet
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
The profile cliff, narrow gorge and torrent of the Zambesi,  Image number:SIL28-274-10
The profile cliff, narrow gorge and torrent of the Zambesi
In 1862 British artist and explorer Thomas Baines visited the Falls and created ...
Victoria Falls & Environs,  Image number:SIL28-284-01
Victoria Falls & Environs
A map of Victoria Falls in a 1951 guide book, by that time a long-established to...
 Image number:SIL28-305-01
Special Tour to the Victoria Falls, Matopos, and Khami Ruins
more information
 Image number:SIL28-306-01
Guide to Rhodesia for the use of tourists & settlers
more information
Rhodesia Railways, Sketch of the plan of Victoria Falls and environs,  Image number:SIL28-306-02
Rhodesia Railways, Sketch of the plan of Victoria Falls and environs
more information
 Image number:SIL28-307-01
The Guide to South and East Africa for the Use of Tourists, Sportsmen, Invalids & Settlers
more information
 
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