Zulu Wars 1879
 
History of the Zulu Wars - South Africa 1879
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Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
At about midday on Wednesday 22nd January 1879, the men at the hospital post at Rourke's Drift, heard artillery fire from the area of Isandlwana mountain nine miles away.
A few hours later two separate reports were received at Rourke's Drift, the camp at Isandlwana had been attacked by a massive Zulu army (impi), all was lost and the impi was on its way to Rorke's Drift.  
Lieutenant Chard and Lieutenant Bromhead, the senior officers at the post, were in a quandary, what to do? Should they defend or evacuate. Luckily, the previous experiences of Commissariat Officer Dalton came to their aid when he suggested, " use the materials readily at hand, bags of mealies and boxes of biscuits, to build a defensive fortification". more

Isandlwana

Isandlwana

King Ceteswayo, on his succession in 1872, set about building up the Zulu Kingdom.  The colonists of Natal saw this as a threat.
On the 11 December 1878 ultimatum was presented to the Zulu indunas. They carried the message to King Ceteswayo. With the expiry of the ultimatum on 11 January 1879, the British troops that had been massing on the Natal borders invaded Zululand.
The target of the British invasion was Ulundi, site of the Royal homestead, Ondini.  The British troops were divided into 5 columns.  One would advance from the coast, two would invade from Northern Natal (Utrecht and Rorke’s Drift), and two would patrol the Transvaal and Natal borders.
The second and third columns under the command of Col. Glyn, with Lord Chelmsford, the Commander-in-Chief, accompanying him, crossed the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift and invaded Zululand.On the 12th January, portions of the British army attacked Sihayo’s kraal and were surprised to find themselves being shot at.  Sihayo had managed to obtain 2 small cannons and had built these into caves in the hillside.  more

Lord Chelmsford

Lord Chelmsford
Frederic Augustus Thesiger was born on 31st May 1827, the eldest son of Frederic Thesiger, later 1st Baron Lord Chelmsford, his wife Anna Maria. He was educated at Eton, commissioned as an Ensign in the Rifle Brigade on 31st December 1844 and exchanged to the Grenadier guards as an Ensign & Lieutenant on 28th November 1845. He was promoted to Lieutenant and Captain on 27th December 1850, he went to Ireland in February 1852 as aide de camp to the Lord-Lieutenant and from January 1853 to August 1854 he was ADC to Sir Edward Blakeney who was commanding the forces there
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CetshwayoCetshwayo’s place of birth was his father’s kraal of Mlambongwenya, near Eshowe. He was born in a very troubled period in the history of the Zulu kingdom. At time of his birth, Shaka Zulu was wielding a very powerful command of the Zulu nation. Cetshwayo’s father was Mpande, half brother to Shaka Zulu. Though Cetshwayo was not heir to the throne, a turn of events at his early years would put him in the path to becoming the next Zulu king. Shaka Zulu was in conflict with Shoshangane, a leader of a breakaway faction that had fled the Zulu kingdom and had established their kingdom near Delagoa Bay. Cetshwayo’s father was sent to demand tribute and annex the newly established kingdom into the Zulu Kingdom.
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Battle of Ulundi

Battle of Ulundi

In April, 1879 the British found themselves at their original starting point for the invasion of Zululand, despite recent battles at Gingindlovu and Kambula resulting in massive losses for the Zulus. News of the massacre at Islandlwana had hit Britain hard and in response a flood of reinforcements had arrived in Natal. more

 
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