Transvaal and Zululand 1878


Map Code: Ax00126

In February 1875, a British commission was appointed to adjudicate on the ongoing border dispute between the Boers of Transvaal and the Zulu, finding almost entirely in favour of the Zulu. The British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, called the report ‘unfair to the Boers’ and remained determined to subjugate the Zulu, using some minor border incidents as a pretext to issue an ultimatum to the Zulu king, Ceteshwayo. The ultimatum included inter alia the disbanding of the Zulu army, unrestricted access to missionaries and the appointment of a British Resident to the Zulu kingdom. The terms were calculated to be unacceptable: when Ceteshwayo did not respond, the British invaded. The Zulu inflicted a crushing defeat on the British forces at Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, but within the year the British routed the Zulu at the Battle of Ulundi: Ceteshwayo was deposed and his kingdom partitioned and neutered.

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