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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 502 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALBERT EDWARD NYANZA, a lake of Central Africa, the southern of the two western reservoirs of the Nile. It lies in the Albertine rift-valley between o° 8' and o° 40' S. and 29° 28' and 29° 52' E., at an elevation of 3004 ft. above the sea. It is roughly oval in shape and has no deep indentations. On its N.E. side it is connected by a winding channel, 25 in, long and from a quarter of a mile to a mile wide, flowing between high banks, with a smaller sheet of water, Lake Dweru, which extends north of the equator. Albert Edward Nyanza has a length of 44 M. and a breadth of 32 M. (maximum measurement). Dweru is about 20 M. long and 10 across at its widest part. The area of the two lakes is approximately 82o sq. m., or about the size of Leicestershire, England. A swampy plain, traversed by the Ruchuru and other rivers, extends south of the Nyanza and was once covered by its waters. The plain contains several salt-pans, and at the S.E. corner are numerous geysers. Along the eastern shore the low land extends to Kamarangu, a point about midway between the south and north ends of the lake, a considerable stretch of ground intervening between the wall of the rift-valley and the water, two terraces being clearly defined. The euphorbia trees and other vegetation on the lower terrace are of small size and apparently of recent origin. At some distance from the lake runs a belt of forest. North of Kamarangu the wall of the valley approaches the water in a series of bluffs some 300 to 350 ft. high. At the N.E. end the hills again recede and the plain widens to include Dweru. On the west side of the Nyanza the wall of the rift-valley runs close to the lake shore and at the N.W. corner the mountains close in on the water. North of the lake a high alluvial plain stretches to the southern slopes of the Ruwenzori mountains. From Ruwenzori a subsidiary range, known as the Kipura mountains, runs due south to the lake shore, where it ends in a low rounded hill. In general, the plain rises above the lake in a series of bold bluffs; a wide margin of swamp separating them from the water. The Semliki, the only outlet of the lake, issues from its N.W. end. Round the north-eastern shore of the lake are numerous crater lakes, many salt, the most remarkable being that of Katwe. This lake lies west of the Dweru channel and is separated from Albert Edward Nyanza by a ridge of land, not more than i6o ft. in breadth. The sides of this ridge run down steeply to the water on either side. The waters of the Katwe lake have a beautiful rose colour which becomes crimson in the shadows. The salt is highly prized and is exported to great distances. The main feeder of Albert Edward Nyanza, and western head-stream of the Nile, the Ruchuru, rises on the north side of the volcanoes north of Lake Kivu (see MFUMBIRO). On reaching the level plain 15 M. from the lake its waters become brackish, and the vegetation on its banks is scanty. The reedy marshes near its mouth form a retreat for a primitive race of fishermen. Lake Dweru, the shores of which are generally high, is fed by the streams from the eastern slopes of the Ruwenzori range. One of these, the Mpango, is a larger river than the Ruchuru. The outlet of the Nyanza, the Semliki, and the part played by the lake in the Nile system are described under ALBERT NYANZA. A feature of Lake Albert Edward Nyanza is the thick haze which overhangs the water during the dry season, blotting out from view the mountains. In the rains, when the sky is clear, the magnificent panorama of hills encircling the lake on the west and north-west is revealed. The lake water is clear of a light green colour, and distinctly brackish. Fish abound, as do waterfowl, crocodiles and, in the southern swamps, hippopotami. In the rainy season the lake is subject to violent storms. The entire area of Albert Edward Nyanza was found, by the work of the Anglo-German Boundary Commission of 1902–19041 to lie within the limits of the sphere of influence of the Congo Free State as defined in the agreement of the 12th of May 1894 between that state and Great Britain. Dweru was discovered in 1875 by H. M. Stanley, then travelling westward from Uganda, and by him was named Beatrice Gulf in the belief that it was part of Albert Nyanza. In 1888–1889 Stanley, approaching the Nile region from the west, traced the Semliki to its source in Albert Edward Nyanza, which lake he discovered, naming it after Albert Edward, prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VII. Stanley also discovered the connecting channel between the larger lake and Dweru. The accurate mapping of the lake was mainly the work of British officials and travellers, such as Scott Elliott, Sir F. D. Lugard, Ewart Grogan, J. E. Moore and Sir H. Johnston; while Emin Pasha and Franz Stuhlmann, deputy-governor (1891) of German East Africa, explored its southern shores. (See ALBERT NYANZA and NILE, and the authorities there quoted.) (W. E. G.; F. R. C.)

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