Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa
The Natal Battlefields
The 1879 AngloZulu War -
The Anglo Zulu War of 1879 - the Causes
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The Causes of the War
The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and then gold in 1871 changed South Africa overnight from a backwater to a colony with prospects. Britain was approaching bankruptcy, having financed incessant wars for many years and also, watching with envy the rising power of the United States and Germany. The British Government however, was faced with two British colonies, two independent Boer republics and several independent African states. The answer - to the British - was confederation, all under the Union Jack.
Cetshwayo was the Zulu king and had for some years been manipulated by the British against the Transvaal Boers as Zululand was seen as a large untapped resource of mine labour. The Zulus had no inclination to work for the white man and had rejected both settlers and missionaries.
On 11th December 1878 on the basis of several minor border disputes, the British met with the Zulu chiefs and contrived an ultimatum to Cetshwayo that virtually disarmed the entire Zulu nation. An answer was expected within twenty days. The Zulus predictably required more time - taken by the British as a refusal.
Next: Defeat at Isandlwana