John Hanning Speke

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John Hanning Speke
BirthplaceBideford, Devon, England
Officer and Explorer
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Speke, John Hanning


Born May 4, 1827, in Jordans, Somersetshire; died Sept. 15,1864, in Bath. English explorer of Africa. Speke accompanied R. F. Burton on expeditions to Somaliland (1854–55) and East Africa (1856–59). Burton and Speke discovered Lake Tanganyika, and Speke independently discovered Lake Victoria. Between 1860 and 1863, Speke and J. Grant made a number of significant discoveries. The two men discovered the Kagera River, the main tributary of Lake Victoria. They discovered the outlet of the Nile from Lake Victoria and from there traced the Nile’s path to the Mediterranean Sea. This journey finally resolved the problem of the river’s source and its entire course.


Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile. New York, 1922.
What Led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile. Edinburgh-London, 1864.


Gornung, M. B., I. G. Lipets, and I. N. Oleinikov. Istoriia otkrytiia iissledovaniia Afriki. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Freed after the death of his master, he served in the Sultan of Oman's army in East Africa before being hired by John Hanning Speke and Richard Burton, as gun-bearer, for their expedition to locate the central African Great Lakes in 1857-58.
And while the East drew many of these remarkable individuals, others chose instead to open up the 'dark' continent of Africa--James Bruce, who became doctor to the emperor of Abyssinia, Mungo Park, who endured terrible hardships exploring West Africa, John Hanning Speke, Burton's sometime colleague and rival, Verney Lovett Cameron, a Royal Naval officer and the first European to make an east west crossing of Africa, missionary/explorer David Livingstone (who penetrated deeper inland from the Cape than any other explorer and was the first European to cross the Kalahari), and Livingstone's 'discoverer' Henry Morton Stanley, who set out to discover the source of the Nile (and succeeded).
Now for a curious book--The Sad Story of Burton, Speke and The Nile or Was John Hanning Speke a Cad?--in which Stanford University professor WB Carnochan investigates the falling out of 19th-century explorers Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke over Speke's claim to have discovered the source of the Nile during their 1857-59 expedition to Africa.
Three British officers, including Captain John Hanning Speke, accompanied Burton on his journey.
Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke found Lake Tanganyika together in 1858, but split up to pursue different paths.
Curiosity about the source of the Nile led to European expeditions into the region, and in 1862 the British explorer John Hanning Speke was welcomed by the king of Buganda before he reached Lake Victoria and concluded that it was the major source of the Nile.
And I was obsessed by his search for the source of the Nile with John Hanning Speke over 150 years ago.
We had followed the trail of Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke's 1857 expeditions from Zanzibar across Tanzania to Lake Tanganyika.
Like John Hanning Speke, I wanted to be able to say for myself "The Nile is settled."