John Hanning Speke Biography
(Discoverer of the source of the Nile)
Birthday: May 4, 1827 (Taurus)
Born In: Somerset
John Hanning Speke was an English explorer who became the first European to reach Lake Victoria in east Africa. Before embarking on his exploratory expeditions to Africa Speke had been an officer in the British Indian Army. Later on he joined Richard Burton on an expedition to Africa with the intention of searching for the great lake that was believed to be the origin of the river Nile. He received considerable fame for his search for the source of the Nile and correctly identified Lake Victoria as the source of the river. The source of the river Nile, generally regarded as the longest river in the world, had been puzzling explorers from the past several centuries and several expeditions had already been undertaken to establish the river’s source. Ultimately it was Speke who correctly identified the long-sought source of the river though his results were rejected by Burton who was not with Speke at the time of the discovery. This gave rise to a bitter feud between the two men regarding the actual source of the Nile and a debate was planned in order to shed more light on the issue. However, Speke died under mysterious circumstances before the debate could take place. Years later, it was finally proven that Speke had been right all along about Lake Victoria being the source of the Nile.