Scotlands History

Mary Slessor (1848-1915)

Mary Slessor promoted women's rights and spread Christianity as a missionary in Nigeria.

Mary was born on 2 December 1848 in Aberdeen. Her family moved to Dundee when she was 11 and she worked in the Baxter Brothers' Jute Mill. She became deeply religious and decided to become a missionary.

On 5 August 1876, when she was 28 years old, she set sail for Africa aboard the SS Ethiopia. Mary Slessor lived among the Efik people of the Calabar region of Nigeria.

Blessed the man and woman who is able to serve cheerfully in the second rank - a big test.

Mary Slessor

She was gradually accepted and trusted by the people. Mary fought for rights for women, battled against the superstitious killing of twins and set up mission hospitals.

Mary died in Nigeria in 1915 and was given a state funeral.

  • Old photograph of a woman standing in long, full-skirted dress, her hair in a bun

Click on the image to view a larger version.