Zulu War

A War in southern Africa (1879) between Great Britain and the Zulu tribes of king Cetshwayo (d.1884)..

To punish the Zulus for a series of depredation raids into the Transvaal, Lord Chelmsford, the local British commander, embarked on an advance on the Zulu capital, Ulundi, using three separate columns.

Early disaster struck when the Zulus overran the base camp of the central column at Isandlwhana massacring the garrison there. British honour was somewhat restored when a Zulu invasion of Natal was thwarted by the gallant defence of the mission station at Rorke’s Drift, heroically defended by B Company of the 24th Foot (South Wales Borderers), seven of whose members won the Victoria Cross for their gallantry during the battle.

After a four month pause Chelmsford once again advanced and shattered the Zulu army on the outskirts of Ulundi.; the Gatling guns (an early form of machine-gun) with the force proving to be especially effective in defeating the Zulu warriors. The indefatigable General Wolseley now arrived towards the end of the war to take charge of mopping up operations, including the capture of King Cetshwayo himself.

Zululand would become a British Protectorate in 1887 and a part of Natal in 1897.

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