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African Levies In Natal And Zululand, 1838–1906

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Chapter Summary

The colonial conquest of Africa was primarily the work of locally raised African forces commanded by European officers. Nevertheless, in some campaigns, such as those in Zululand in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it proved necessary for the British and colonial authorities to raise levies for combat and logistical support. In Natal, for example, the governor, in his capacity as 'supreme chief' over the indigenous population, had the right to exact isibhalo, or compulsory labor and military service. In late 1837 the Boer Emigrant Farmers (Voortrekkers) from the Cape entered the Zulu kingdom in search of new lands to settle, but they were soon at war with Dingane, king since 1828. The literature on the Anglo-Zulu War has little specifically about the NNC and less on the Native Border Guard; in some cases the two are confused. The Anglo-Boer War and postwar depression increased tensions.

Keywords: African forces; Anglo-Boer War; Anglo-Zulu War; Dingane; European officers; levies; Natal; Zululand

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