The source of the Nile and its life-giving floods was a mystery for centuries. Ptolemy held that the source was the "Mountains of the Moon," and the search for these and for the origin of the Nile attracted much attention in the 18th and 19th cent. James Bruce, the Scottish explorer, identified (1770) Lake Tana as the source of the Blue Nile, and John Speke, the British explorer, is credited with the identification (1861–62) of Lake Victoria and Ripon Falls as the source of the White Nile.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.