1879 Zulu War was provoked by Sir Bartle Frere, governor of Cape Colony
& High Comissioner for Native Affairs in South Africa, in order to find
an excuse to negate Zulu power in the region. Frere gave
Cetshwayo, King of the Zulus, an ultimatum which he had to refuse, and war
Lord Chelmsford led three columns into Zululand, ordered to converge at the
Zulu capital of Ulundi. The central column, led by Chelmsford
himself, further split its force and, on 22nd January 1879, a force of some
20,000 Zulus fell upon the 822 Europeans and 431 Africans he had left behind
at Isandlwana and annihilated them.
Concurrent actions at Rourke’s Drift; Nyezane (No 1 Column under Colonel
Charles Pearson); Hlobane and Khambula (No. 3 Column under Colonel Evelyn
Wood) were British victories, but Chelmsford had determined to return to
Natal and recommence operations. He was forced to delay his retreat in
order to rescue 1,300 men of Column No 1 garrisoning Eshowe, defeating the
Zulus at Ginginlovu, but eventually operations recommenced in June 1879.
Chelmsford led a force of some 4,000 whites and 1,100 Africans, in square,
to Ulundi: where they defeated 20,000 warriors and broke the power of
the Zulus for ever.