John Hanning Speke

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John Hanning Speke
BirthplaceBideford, Devon, England
Officer and Explorer

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.
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However, Uganda was promoted from private-company-rule to a British protectorate in 1894, and 20 years later in 1914 London finally succeeded in cobbling together what is today's Uganda from the traditional kingdoms that existed in the area before the arrival in the 1860s of the British explorers, Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke.
What was discovered by James Grant and John Hanning Speke in 1860?
John Hanning Speke arrived back in Britain ahead of his fellow explorer, Richard Burton, and delivered a speech to the RGS about their expedition to discover the source of the Nile.