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Through the night of 22/23 January 1879, a small garrison of British soldiers behind a makeshift barricade of bags and boxes successfully defended the storehouse and field hospital at Rorke’s Drift, against an army of Zulu warriors who outnumbered them by about twenty to one. This heroic stand became on of the most famous actions in the history of the British Army, and inspired the epic film Zulu!
The way the Zulu war unfolded was a consequence of the actions of Britain's commander in the field, Lord Chelmsford, who thought that the outcome would be a foregone conclusion, but then found himself amidst one of the most shocking disasters in British military history. This book looks at events through Chelmsford's eyes, examining contemporary correspondence to tell the tale.
Through the Eyes of the Illustrated London News
The fascination of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 continues unabated. It was impassioned almost 40 years ago by the film Zulu, starring Stanley barker and a yet to be discovered Michael Caine. Zulu has been shown – and continues to be shown – on British television more than any other feature film. In the USA and elsewhere it has become a cult movie. Moreover, created a near avalanche of books, articles, lectures, documentaries and websites that has come close to being an industry.
The Zulu kingdom, created by Shaka kaSenzangakhona, lasted just over six decades before meeting the imperial might of the British Empire. Within six months the kingdom lay in pieces. A full military campaign, known as the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 was required to ensure its demise. The British High Commissioner in South Africa, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, believed that the robust and economically self-reliant Zulu kingdom was a threat to this policy. In December 1878 he picked a quarrel with the Zulu king, Cetshwayo kaMpande, in the belief that the Zulu army - armed primarily with shields and spears - would soon collapse in the face of British Imperial might. The war began in January 1879.