Join us at St Paul’s on the Green at Tadley for a fascinating talk on the Zulu Wars. People who have previously heard this talk seem very enthusiastic, particularly about the unexpected twist at the end of the talk!
The pretext for the war had its origins in border disputes between the Zulu leader, Cetshwayo, and the Boers in the Transvaal region.
Following a commission inquiry on the border dispute which reported in favour of the Zulu nation in July 1878, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, acting on his own, added an ultimatum to the commission meeting, much to the surprise of the Zulu representatives who then relayed it to Cetshwayo. Cetshwayo had not responded by the end of the year, so an extension was granted by Bartle Frere until 11 January 1879. Cetshwayo returned no answer to this, and in January 1879 a British force under Lieutenant General Frederick Augustus Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford invaded Zululand, without authorization by the British Government.
The exact date of the invasion was 11 January 1879. Chelmsford crossed the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift, an old Irish trader’s post that had become a mission station, in command of 4,700 men, which included 1,900 White troops and 2,400 African auxiliaries.