What Is The Anglo-Zulu War?

The war, based on Britain’s desire to unite the Boer Republic, the Independent States and all of their South African colonies under one British Commonwealth, marked a turning point in the region’s colonial history. Preparations for war began in 1877 when Sir Henry Freer, the British colonial administrator, was sent to Cape Town with the task of unifying South Africa into a British Commonwealth.

The British High Commissioner to South Africa, Sir Henry Bartle Freer (1815-1884), believed that the independent and self-sufficient Zulu Kingdom posed a threat to this policy. In 1878, Zetshwayo received an ultimatum as part of a British plan to create a coalition of nations in South Africa including Zululand. In December 1878, despite the British government’s reluctance to wage another colonial war, Freer gave Cechwayo an ultimatum to disband the Zulu army and accept a British resident.


On January 11, 1879, Chelmsford put his plan into action when British troops crossed the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift and entered Zulu lands. On January 22, 1879, under Mount Isandlwana, a Zulu force of about 20,000 men attacked a British military camp with about 1,700 men; British regulars, colonial volunteers and indigenous recruits, part of the column that had invaded Zululand just twelve days earlier. Here the British fought with rifles and bayonets, and the Zulu detachment, led by Prince Dabulamanzi, lost 500 men in this fruitless battle.

Meanwhile, the British managed to capture Eshawi’s mission post after defeating 6,000 Zulu in Nizan against the troops led by Colonel Charles Pearson. The British eventually launched a second invasion, but were completely defeated at the Battle of Intoba, where the Zulu plundered a supply convoy and only 40 British managed to escape. In response, a Zulu force of 40,000 men armed with Assege was mobilized against the British Expeditionary Force of 15,000 men (divided into three columns of 5,000 men), 15,000 Zulu and about 1,700 British and Native soldiers (most of the column left Lord Chelmsford to establish the next camp), another 4,000/5,000 cut off the retreat and served as reserves.

After a convincing victory against the British at Isandlwana, the Zulu reserve force, not seen in the fighting of the previous days, struck back at a “hastily erected fort” in the small garrison of Rorke’s Drift. The day after the triumph, about 4,000 Zulu warriors marched towards Rorke’s Drift, where they were stopped for 12 hours by a small British regiment, although this had little effect on the British side. The initial result was the humiliating defeat of the British forces by the Zulu army on Mount Isandlwana.


In July 1879, his troops defeated the main Zulu army at no small cost at the Battle of Ulundi. By 28 March, Chelmsford ordered Woods’ troops to confuse the Zulu army with a distracting attack near Hloban as they marched towards Eshawi.

By March 1879, the Anglo-Zulu War was in its third month, and two of the three British columns advancing into Zululand were blocked: one was defeated at Isandlwana, the other was surrounded and besieged at Eshowe. The 1879 war went badly for the British at first, but within six months the Zulu state was fragmented and dismembered. The end of the war had many consequences for the Zulus and for the British.

The war itself did not destroy the kingdom, but subsequent events divided the Zulus and undermined their economic and social cohesion. The expansion of the Boers into the hinterland of South Africa from 1835, the attempt of the Zulus to assert their independence, and the aggressive policy of the British to establish control over South Africa by imposing their power on the Boers and the Zulus led to a chain of events. which led to the war of 1879, in which the British suffered a humiliating defeat before subduing the Zulus. Britain sent about 15,000 military forces to defeat the Zulus, resulting in bloody clashes including the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.


During the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, famous for the bloody battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, more than 15,000 British soldiers invaded Zululand, an independent state in what is today South Africa . The British Zulu War began with the invasion of Zululand from the Republic of Natal in South Africa by British forces led by Lieutenant General Frederick Augustus. The war began in January 1879 when an army led by Lieutenant General Chelmsford invaded Zululand to enforce British demands. The British decided to intervene because of a pre-existing desire to fight the Zulu over land disputes.

A landslide British victory in 1879 and the subsequent fall of the Zulu monarchy sparked civil war in the fractured kingdom between 1883 and 1884 and led to a new round of British and Boer military interventions culminating in their division of Zululand in 1886-1887. The determined resistance which the highly organized armies of the Zulu kingdom organized first in 1838 against the Dutch-speaking Voortrekkers (Boers) migrating from the Cape Colony who intended to establish themselves in Zululand, and then again in 1879 against the invasion of the British imperial and colonial forces, he decided to eliminate what they saw as a Zulu military threat to neighboring British possessions. However, the British tried to explain that the war was against the royal house of the Zulus. This gave the British “badly needed propaganda to thwart the Zulus’ success in Isandlwana”.

As the British lost the Battle of Isundwana, the Zulu were underestimated in numbers and capabilities. Cetshwayo did not respond to Bartle Frere[g]’s request, and in January 1879, the British army, led by Lieutenant General Frederick Sessig, 2nd Baron Chelmsford, invaded Zurich without the permission of the British government Ruland. When the Anglo-Zulu War broke out, Sir Henry Edward Battle Freer, Governor of the British Cape Colony and High Commissioner for South African Indigenous Affairs, and his military commander, General Chelmsford, drew up plans to invade Zululand. In addition, Freer planned to use the Boundary Commission meeting with the Zulu to deliver a surprise ultimatum he devised to allow British troops under Lord Chelmsford, which he had previously been authorized to use only for the defense of the Zulu people. Invasion of Natal is to invade Zululand.

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