Subversive Historian – 01/12/09

{Depiction of The Battle of Isandlwana}

The British-Zulu War

Exactly one-hundred and thirty years ago, the British-Zulu War began in Southern Africa. On January 12th, 1879, British Lieutenant General Lord Chelmsford commanded three columns in an invasion of the Zulu Nation. Prior to the start of the war, Sir Henry Bartle Frere as British High Commissioner sought to defeat Zululand as part of his plans to incorporate various colonies and independent African nations under a single colonial authority. The self-reliance of Zululand stood in the way and as such, Frere put an ultimatum to their king demanding that their army be disbanded. From the onset of the war that ensued, the British suffered defeats at the hands of Zulu warriors including the battle at Isandlwana where 1,300 British troops and their allies were killed.

However, Lord Chelmsford was able to regroup in the end and invaded Zululand once more finally toppling its capital on July 4th, but such was no independence day.

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2 responses to “Subversive Historian – 01/12/09

  1. Yip, at Isandlwana, the Zulus totally outmaneuvered the British and encouraged them to split their army and lure them further away from Isandlwana. The Battle began in the early morning with skirmishes all over the place and picket units firing away most of their ammo. By the time the Brits realised that the in fact an entire Impi was heading towards the camp (late morning) nothing was seriously prepared,

    In fact I suspect that some British companies had “skirmished” out +- 2km from camp to get a glimpse of the enemy and figure out what the shooting was all about and coming from… unfortunately for them, they got themselves cut off from the camp and any hope of falling back became pretty futile.

    Then relying on NNC levies to hold the line against Zulu warriors, When a few had rifle and most spears and less training than the Zulu was unfair and ridiculous, so of course they would break from the line.

    Well at the least the Brits learn t to fight unfairly after this hiding behind lagers and barricades, and in the final battle a square with machine gun and cannon. No Nepolionic line formation here, no way! maybe against the Xhosa but not these Zulus!!

    Sadly not many Zulus are aware of their great victory on 22 Jan 1879, A 130 years ago. The killing of Prince Imperial really put the cherry on the cake making the Zulu Nation a Nation spoken about through the Empire and to this day.

  2. Oh! one more thing, the Zulus would not have thrown themselves at the British for nothing! Damn there must have been plenty of oxen at the camp seeing that most of the transport wagons were around and the cattle grazing around the area, the Zulu must have scored nicely in terms of this and logistically totally cutting off the 3rd columns supply lines! if only they had surrounded Chelmsford there would have been two sieges by the Zulu during this period.

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