BENUE, ben'we, or BINUE, a river of west Africa, the chief tributary of the Niger. It rises in the Bub'n Jidda hills on the cast of Adamawa, flows for a short distance north west then west to Bassama, after which its course is generally southwest to its junction with the Niger at Lokoja and 300 miles from the coast. Its length is about 850 miles. Its width in its lower reaches is from 1,600 to 3,200 feet, and it is navigable for about 600 miles during the rainy season, but is very shal low in the dry season (January-May). The source of the Benue was long unknown. Dr. Barth, who came upon the river in 1851, while traveling in Adamawa, near the confluence of the Faro, which joins,it on its left bank about lat. 12* 30' E., was told that it came from the southeast, a distance of nine days' journey. In consequence of his discovery an expedition was fitted out by the British government for the purpose of exploring the Niger from its mouth upward. The exploration was made in a small steamer called the Pleicd, and was under the command of Dr. William Balfour Baikie. After reaching the point of confluence of the Benue with the Niger, about lat. 7° 40' N., Dr. Mick followed the former eastward for a direct dis tance of about 370 miles. The point thus
reached was about lat. 9° 25' N.; long. 11° 30' E. There was'sufficient depth of water, though the river was only rising, to allow a still fur ther exploration. The natives, however, had begun to display their hostility in such a man ner as made it necessary to return. The result was to show that a large, fertile and populous tract of a region of Africa previously in a great measure unknown was accessible by means of a navigable river. A second expedi tion, also under Dr. Baikie, explored the same river in 1857. In 1879 a small steamer belong ing to the Church Missionary Society went up the river 140 miles, and its source was discov ered by Flegel in 1883. The explorer Robert Hegel journeyed along its navigable length and explored some of its tributaries in 1879. In 1892 the expedition of Mizon practically gave us a complete knowledge of the river. Its pnn cipal tributaries are the Majo, Kebbi, Gongola, Kadera and Faro. The freedom of navigation on the river is guaranteed by an agreement be tween Germany and Great Britain. With the Niger the Benue forms the only navigable route to the far interior of Africa.