Cetshwayo

1832–1884
Zulu king

Cetshwayo kaMpande was king of Zululand, in southeastern Africa, from 1872 to 1879 and again from 1883 to 1884. Although he fought with great skill and courage to keep his kingdom free and undivided, his efforts were overwhelmed by British colonial forces.

During his early reign, Cetshwayo developed ties with Britain’s coastal colony of Natal. He hoped the British would support him in his border dispute with Transvaal, Zululand’s inland neighbor. However, in 1877 the British annexed the Transvaal as part of a plan to establish a confederation in southern Africa. Cetshwayo resisted, and war broke out. Although the Zulu had the upper hand in the early stages of fighting, the British won a decisive victory in the summer of 1879 and sent Cetshwayo into exile.

Three years later Cetshwayo visited Britain and convinced the British government that he was not the warlike tyrant described by British colonial officials. He was restored to his throne in 1883, but local colonial officials supported Cetshwayo’s enemies. Civil war followed. Cetshwayo was defeated and died a refugee in a part of Zululand controlled by Natal.

Cetshwayo