Uptake of Leishmania major by dendritic cells (DCs) results in activation and interleukin (IL)-12 release. Infected DCs efficiently stimulate CD4− and CD8− T cells and vaccinate against leishmaniasis. In contrast, complement receptor 3–dependent phagocytosis of L. major by macrophages (MΦ) leads exclusively to MHC class II–restricted antigen presentation to primed, but not naive, T cells, and no IL-12 production. Herein, we demonstrate that uptake of L. major by DCs required parasite-reactive immunoglobulin (Ig)G and involved FcγRI and FcγRIII. In vivo, DC infiltration of L. major–infected skin lesions coincided with the appearance of antibodies in sera. Skin of infected B cell–deficient mice and Fcγ−/− mice contained fewer parasite-infected DCs in vivo. Infected B cell–deficient mice as well as Fcγ−/− mice (all on the C57BL/6 background) showed similarly increased disease susceptibility as assessed by lesion volumes and parasite burdens. The B cell–deficient mice displayed impaired T cell priming and dramatically reduced IFN-γ production, and these deficits were normalized by infection with IgG-opsonized parasites. These data demonstrate that DC and MΦ use different receptors to recognize and ingest L. major with different outcomes, and indicate that B cell–derived, parasite-reactive IgG and DC FcγRI and FcγRIII are essential for optimal development of protective immunity.