John Hanning Speke’s career as an explorer began inauspiciously in 1855, when he and his commander, the swashbuckling Richard Burton, were nearly killed by marauders on the beaches of Somalia. Less than a decade later, and amidst a terrible public battle with Burton over the source of the Nile, Speke lay dead, the accidental or suicidal victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. However, for a few short years in between, he was held by most to be one of the greatest European explorers of Africa and one of the bravest sons of England.
Read the rest at The Journal of African Travel-Writing.
The Journal of African Travel-Writing, Number 3, September 1997 (pp. 87-91).