Speke, John Hanning (spēk) [key], 1827–64, English explorer in Africa. He joined Sir Richard Burton in his expeditions to Somaliland (1854) and to E central Africa (1857–59). Together they discovered (1858) Lake Tanganyika; then Speke continued alone and discovered Lake Victoria, which he believed to be a source of the Nile. In 1862 he returned to the lake and proved that the Victoria Nile issues from the north end over Ripon Falls. He wrote Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile (1863).
See biography by A. Maitland (1971).