Rare Map of the Kingdom of Zululand At the Outset of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War.
Rare map of Zululand and the surrounding districts, published in Brussels for the Revue Militaire in 1879, published shortly after the British defeat by the Zulu at the Battle of Isandhlwana in February 1879.
The map likely accompanies and article by Pape Drame entitled La bataille Anglo-zoulou d’Isandhlwana, 1879 Une réponse indigène à un défi militaire colonial, which was published early in 1879. Drame concludes his article as follows:
The Battle of Isandhlwana was, above all, a Zulu response to the British colonization efforts in southern Africa. The battle revealed the originality of the Zulu military and social system in the whole of Africa. English and international public opinion was surprised by the vitality displayed by the Zulu, who were considered only as "savages" and denied recognition for their capacity for strategic, tactical or even cultural value. The British staff failed to take into account, in a pragmatic way, its relative knowledge of the specificity of a Zulu social organization strongly marked by the impact of the "royal service", namely the military service. Thus Isandhlwana is a reminder of the problem of excessive confidence which the possession of technical superiority can cause to the colonial powers.
Shortly after the publication of this map, Zululand would be defeated and subdivided into thirteen smaller kingdoms by the British.
The map focuses on the towns, roads, rivers, boundaries and topography of the region, with some historical details. The place where the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief was killed in February 1838 is shown just to the northeast of the Royal Kraal of Dingna.
In 1816, Chaka Zulu became the king of the Zulu people. During his first year, he conquered the neighboring territories, establishing the Zulus as the dominant people of the region. By 1825, Chaka had a large empire covering a wide area from the ocean in the Indian Ocean to the Drakensberg Mountains in the west, and East London in the south to the Pongola River in the north.
In 1828, his half-brother Dingane assassinated him and succeeded him to the throne. Dingane organized the execution of Piet Retief and many trekboers in 1838. Dingane was in turn assassinated in 1840. Mpande succeeded him and reigned as King until 1872, replaced by his son Cetshwayo, Cetshwayo's reign was marked by periodic assaults of the Boers, which the Zulu's successfully defended. However, in this same time period, the English began to assert greater influence.
In 1878, Bartle Frere (High Commissioner to South Africa) gave Cetshwayo an ultimatum (against the advice of the British Empire) to surrender. Cetshayo refused, which resulted in the start of the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879. The first battle (Battle of Isandhlwana), ended in a bloody setback for the colonial army during which the Zulu killed thousands of British soldiers.
By July 4, 1879, the British had won the war and forced Cetshwayo into exile. Under the British administration, Zululand was subdivided into thirteen regions, each administered by a king. Thereafter, in December 1887, the British Empire annexed the whole territory and integrated it in Natal.
We were not able to locate another example of the map.