Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift, Battles of

Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift, Battles of

▪ South African history
      (Jan. 22–23, 1879), the major battles of the Zulu War, in South Africa. At Isandhlwana, the British failure to defend their encampment led to the obliteration of an imperial force of about 1,700 men by more than 20,000 Zulu, who advanced unnoticed. Though the Zulu lost 3,000 to 4,000 men, their unscathed rear guard advanced on the British base at nearby Rorke's Drift, which was, however, forewarned by the few survivors of Isandhlwana and was well fortified. Just over 120 men fended off the Zulu attack with minimal losses. Contrary to popular belief at the time, even had Rorke's Drift fallen, it is unlikely that the Zulu would have attacked the British settlement of Natal. The subsequent Battle of Kambula (March 28–29, 1879), in which the Zulu lost more than 2,000 men, was a more decisive British victory. In July the British took the Zulu capital, Ulundi, and the Zulu army ceased to be effective.

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Universalium. 2010.

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