Victoria Falls


This late 19th- or early 20th-century photograph of Victoria Falls is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. The falls lie on the Zambezi River that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe. David Livingstone, the British explorer and missionary who in 1855 became the first European to see the falls, named it in honor of Queen Victoria. The local Kololo tribe called the falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” meaning 'the smoke that thunders,' after the vast cloud of mist and spray created by the cascading water. The Zambezi is about 1.6 kilometers wide at the site of the falls. At the center, the river drops 108 meters. At the time this photograph was taken, Zambia was the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe the colony of Southern Rhodesia.

Last updated: January 8, 2018