Luigi (Louis David) Jalla (1860 - 1943)

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Birthplace: Chiotti, Villasecca (Peranporth), Italy
Death: Died in Italy
Managed by: June Barnes
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About Luigi (Louis David) Jalla


Louis Jalla

Luigi (Louis David) Jalla (August 25, 1860 - March 21, 1943), pastor and missionary in Zambia for the Société des Missions évangeliques of Paris, he made ​​some voyages of exploration in the African region.


Born to Chiotti of Villasecca (Perranporth), was the son of Pastor Louis Auguste Jalla and his second wife Aline Biolley , brother of the shepherds Edward Jalla , director of the publishing Claudiana, Adolfo Jalla , missionary, John Jalla , a professor and historian, and his brother the pastor Julius Jalla , born of the father's first marriage.

He broke his secondary studies at the College Valdese Torre Pellice to pursue a career as a clerk at the bank Crédit Lyonnais Nice, but after meeting with the French missionary François Coillard, which between 1880 and 1882 he returned to Europe to a series of conferences that addressed appeal to young people because they were marked in Africa, he abandoned his profession to resume his classical studies and then theology at the Faculty of the Independent Church of Neuchâtel, the Société des Missions évangeliques of Paris and Edinburgh.

In 1886 he was consecrated as a missionary in the temple of Torre Pellice and 25 September of the same year he married Marie Turin (1864-1899), starting almost immediately for Africa, where he arrived on 21 January 1887 with his wife and colleagues Dardier and Goy in the mission founded by Coillard in the Zambezi two years earlier. That same year he accompanied his colleague James Weitzecker the trip to Kimberly on behalf of the Italian Geographical Society in order to document the conditions of life and work in the diamond mines of a group of immigrants of Italian origin.

Its first home was the missionary station of Sesheke in the south of the country and in 1889 moved to Kazungula, where he reached his brother Adolfo, founding the following year the first school.

In January 1888 was born the eldest daughter Marguerite, who died two months later, in his second maggio1890 Anita, who died in July of the same year, in 1891 the son Valdo, who followed in his parents footsteps becoming a missionary in Congo, Edward (1892-1895) and Guido (1895-1900).

Between the end of 1895 and the spring of 1898, the family returned to Italy Jalla for a period of leave, and to entrust the surviving children to relatives in the Waldensian Valleys and avoid them the climate of the Zambezi, and Louis performed some travel in Europe with the Coillard pastor and Captain Alfred Bertrand holding a series of lectures on their work.

It dates back to those years the important donation of his zoological collections at the Natural History Museum of Turin and the issue of its ethnographic collection for the National Exhibition of Turin in 1898, where he was awarded the silver medal.

A few months after his return to Africa with his wife, that he died suddenly of a tropical disease in Sesheke April 2, 1899, at the age of only thirty-five.

In 1905, Louis undertook a journey of exploration in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, during which, instead of following the southern route safer and notes, preferred to point north, reaching walk Uganda and Mombasa. He then returned to Europe for a second period of leave, during which he was invited by the Companies gGografiche of Rome, Paris and Geneva to talk about her experiences.

In 1906 he married Josephine (Nina), daughter of the doctor According to Laura (1875-1963) of Turin, with which he returned for the third time on the African continent since May 1907 in Livingstone going to colleague Augusto Coïsson who worked there with his wife Margaret Nisbet since 1904. the city had been created after the construction of the railway line about ten kilometers from the Victoria Falls, three more children were born here: Mario (1906), Renée (1909) and Yvonne (1910). After a third dismissal in Italy in 1911, Louis was again sent to Sesheke, where he created a series of secondary centers (annexes) and a network of schools.

In 1916 his wife was forced to return to Italy with their children for health reasons, and Louis continued his work alone, returning only once at home in 1918, from Congo where his son Waldo and his wife Marguerite were Poggi their time missionaries in Elizabethville (the young couple died of Spanish flu that year).

In 1922 he returned to Italy, reaching his wife and children in Lucerna St. John, but even after his emeritazione continued to devote his energies to the missionary work, lecturing and writing.

He died suddenly in Viareggio March 21, 1942.

Archival sources

Archive of the Waldensian Studies Society (ATV), Fund Family Cards Jalla. National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography "L. Pigorini "of Rome, correspondence between L. Jalla and L. Pigorini 1905/1909.

Key publications

L. Jalla, Du Cap de Bonne Espérance au Victoria Nyanza. Notes de voyage, Florence, Claudiana, 1905. L. Jalla, From the mouth of the Zambezi to the sources of the Nile, "Bulletin of the African Society of Italy," XXIV year, fasc. V, VI, VII, 1905. L. Jalla, The country and the tribes of Upper Zambezi, Rome, the Italian Geographic Society, 1912. L. Jalla, a missionary journey through the forests of the region Batotela zambesiana, Travel Notes of the missionary Louis Jalla, Florence, Claudiana, 1923. L. Jalla, Sur les rives du Zambezi. Notes ethnographiques, Paris, Société des Missions Evangéliques, 1928.


A. The missionary Louis Jalla, in "The Echo of the Waldensian Valleys," no. 14, April 2, 1943. G. Weitzecker, The Waldensians in southern Africa, published by the Committee "The Waldensians Abroad" for the World Exposition 1906 in Milan, Turin, Union Tipografico-publishing, 1906. R. Coïsson, the people of the river. A Brief History of the Evangelical Mission in Barotseland, Torre Pellice, Claudiana, 1956. R. Coïsson, The Waldensians and the missionary work, Torre Pellice, Waldensian Studies Society, 1963. J.-F. Zorn, Le grand siècle d'une Mission Protestant. The Mission de Paris de 1822 à 1914, Paris, Karthala-Les Bergers et les Mages, 1993. A. Mazzocco, The missionary experience of Louis Jalla, Waldensian pastor in the "Land of the Barotse," Thesis in Geography discussed at the Faculty of Arts, University of Genoa, draftsman F. Surdich, academic year 1999-2000. R. Coïsson, The first Waldensian missionaries in southern Africa 1883-1897, in "The Beidana," 70, February 2011, p. 18-25.

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Luigi (Louis David) Jalla's Timeline

August 25, 1860
January, 1888
Age 27
Age 29
Age 30
Age 31
Age 34
Age 45
Northern Rhodesia
Age 48
Northern Rhodesia
Age 49
Northern Rhodesia
March 21, 1943
Age 82