A new book reappraises 19th-century explorer John Hanning Speke's place in history. During his life, Speke's claim to have the found the Nile source was challenged and his achievements were diminished by fellow traveller Sir Richard Burton, who described him as a "deluded nonentity" - a view repeated by successive biographers. However, Tim Jeal reveals a very different man in Explorers of the Nile, someone who he believes should be in the pantheon of the world's greatest explorers. Read more about it in an Observer article and a piece by Jeal.
Speke's theory that Lake Victoria was the source of Nile was rejected by Burton, thus beginning a bitter public dispute between the two men. On September 15 1864, shortly before Speke and Burton were to debate the subject publicly, Speke was killed by his own gun while hunting. It remains uncertain whether it was an accident or suicide. It was a sad end to an eventful life, as shown in this Manchester Guardian news item from September 19 1864: