Sample Essay on Anglo Zulu War

Anglo Zulu War

Anglo Zulu war was between the Zulu Kingdom and British Empire fought in 1879. Following the successful introduction of federation in Canada by Lord Carnarvon, it was assumed that a similar political effort together with military campaigns might work for the tribal areas, Boer republics in SA and African Kingdoms. Sir Henry Bartle Frere was therefore sent to SA as the High Commissioner in 1874 for the British Empire in order to see to it that such plans were implemented.

However, things did not work out as expected as there were numerous obstacles some of which included presence of independent state of the Kingdom of Zululand, South African Republic and its army.  Without consent from the British government, Frere presented an ultimatum on 11 December 1878 with intent of instigating a war with the Zulu. Zulu king, Cetshwayo did not comply with the ultimatum causing Frere to send Lord Chelmsford to invade Zululand.

Under the common of Lord Chelmsford, British forces (many of them whites/colonials or Natal Native Contingent/blacks members started carrying out the  general plan which was out into place to  invade Zululand. The objective was to occupy Zulu royal kraal at Ulundi by advancing on it from 3 directions. The attack plan was similar to the tactic used by the Zulu of attacking from 3 sides by means of a central chest or main force, an extended left and right horn on either side.

The first attack took place on 12th January 1879 when the Sihayo’s kraal position which was located at the Batshe Image 2Valley threatened successful advancement of British column. Under orders from Chelmsford, the attacking force moved across Batshe and attacked a rocky gorge into which Sihayo’s men had retreated while driving their cattle before them.

The Native Natal Contingent showed reluctance facing the Zulus as some were armed with rifles. In a bid to thwart the attack, stones were rolled down into the attackers and after this action, the Zulus retreated with thirty dead, four wounded and 10 captured. The British however did not have a high casualty number as there were only 2 casualties and 15 wounded.

The battle of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift followed thereafter. A depot at Rorke’s Drift was attacked without orders from Cetshwayo who preferred a defensive strategy. After an overwhelming victory over the British at Isandlwana, reserve forces of the Zulu who were not in the battle field the previous day attacked a hastily erected fort at the Rorke’s Drift garrison. While the Zulu kingdom was not destroyed by the war, the subsequent events divided the Sulu and undermined their social and economic cohesion.

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