July 30, 1858 — John Speke names Lake Victoria

A British explorer who, along with his fellow explorer Richard Burton, was among those to search for the source of the Nile, John Hanning Speke was the lucky one who actually found it. In 1856, he and Burton had journeyed to East Africa and worked their way inland looking for evidence of the Nile. They were the first Europeans to sight Lake Tanganyika, but that Burton fell ill.

Pressing on without him, Speke was the first European to find Lake Victoria, and named it in honour of his Queen. He returned to England before Burton, and became famous on the strength of this discovery, but history remembers Burton better (as he was a better writer, a more daring explorer, and a more shameless self-publicist). Speke is remembered in Uganda, one of the countries that the lake’s shores touch, with a mountain named after him.

John Hanning Speke (1827-64) RMG F8616 (cropped).jpg
By S. Hollyer; Southwell Brothers – http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/386468, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Raid on Entebbe — The Mountain Goats

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