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The First Anglo-Zulu War

Posted in Anniversary, Famous battles, History on Friday, 31 December 2010

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picture, Zulu warrior

A Zulu warrior. Illustration by James E. McConnell

11 January marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the First Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. For many years there had been disputes on the borders of lands held by the Zulus and a number of incidents ended in the Zulu king Cetshwayo being given an ultimatum, which he ignored.

The British invasion of Zululand was led by Frederick Thesiger (Baron Chelmsford), who badly underestimated the Zulus. British forces lost heavily at Isandlwana and barely managed to defend Rorke’s Drift and were eventually forced to retreat. After being reinforced, they invaded again and the Zulus were defeated and the Zulu army dispersed. Cetshwayo was eventually restored to his throne in 1882 by the British Government.

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