Speke, John Hanning: Les Sources du Nil. Journal de voyage du –. Traduit de l’anglais par E. D. Forgues. Cartes et gravures de’aprés du J. A. Grant. Troisième édition.
Published in Paris, 188, by Hachette. Third edition.
The spine is slightly worn. Richly illustrated with full-page and interleaved woodcut images. Gilt edges. Bibliophile copy in gilded half leather binding.
John Hanning Speke the adventurer
He was a British explorer, the first European who reached Lake Victoria in East Africa, which he correctly identified as a source of the Nile.
Commissioned in the British Indian Army in 1844, he served in the Punjab and travelled in the Himalayas and Tibet. In 1855, Speke was severely wounded in an attack by the Somalis that broke up the expedition. In December 1856 he rejoined Burton on the island of Zanzibar.
Their intention was to find a great lake said to lie in the heart of Africa and to be the origin of the Nile. After exploring the East African coast for six months to find the best route inland, the two men became the first Europeans to reach Lake Tanganyika. During the return trip, Speke left Burton and struck out northward alone. He managed to reach the great lake, which he named in honour of Queen Victoria.
Speke’s conclusion about the lake as a Nile source was disputed by many in England, but the Royal Geographical Society, which had sponsored the expedition, honoured Speke for his exploits. On a second expedition, he and James Grant mapped a portion of Lake Victoria.