Zulu Wars

John Laband

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI:
Zulu Wars

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The term “Zulu Wars” is an imprecise one, because there is no single, generally accepted understanding of what it encompasses. Most often it is applied to the Anglo–Zulu War of 1879, but this approach ignores the other wars the Zulu fought in the course of the 19th century against the aggressively advancing forces of European imperialism. Consequently, in this article the term is applied to the determined resistance the highly organized armies of the Zulu kingdom mounted, first in 1838 against the migrating Dutch-speaking Voortrekkers (Boers) from the Cape Colony who were intent on settling in Zululand, and then again in 1879 against invading British imperial and colonial forces bent on eliminating what they perceived as the Zulu military threat to neighboring British possessions. The crushing British victory in 1879 and the consequent fall of the Zulu monarchy triggered civil war in the fragmented kingdom between 1883 and 1884 and led to a fresh round of British and Boer military interventions, which culminated in their dividing Zululand between them in 1886–1887. In 1888 the uSuthu (the adherents of the deposed royal Zulu house) rebelled against the new British colonial administration. British forces vigorously suppressed the revolt and extinguished the last embers of an independent Zululand. Much primary material relating to the Zulu Wars as defined here is available in printed collections and in reissued contemporary books and articles. The secondary literature on the Zulu Wars is considerable, although by far the greater part of it is devoted to the Anglo–Zulu War of 1879.

Article.  13019 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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