This Day in History – December 30th, 1897

The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa, as one of its provinces. It is now the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The Indians who were brought to this country from India called it ‘Netaal Tapu’ (island of Netal).

Zululand

It was originally only about half the size of the present province, with the north-eastern boundaries being formed by the Tugela and Buffalo rivers beyond which lay the independent Kingdom of Zululand (KwaZulu in Zulu). The present province was also enlarged by the addition of Griqualand East to the south.

Zululand 3

Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, and eventually the Boers accepted British annexation in 1844 under military pressure. A British governor was appointed to the region and many settlers emigrated from Europe and the Cape Colony. The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. Farm owners had a difficult time attracting Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India. As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban became the home to the largest concentration of Indians outside of India.

Zululand 2

On December 30th, 1897, the British Colony of Natal annexed the Zulu Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Zulu Empire (or Zululand).  The country was previously a monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north. The small kingdom grew to dominate much of what is today KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa, but when it came into conflict with the British Empire in the 1870s during the Anglo-Zulu War, it was defeated despite an early Zulu victory in the war. The absorption into the Colony of Natal later became part of the Union of South Africa.

Flourish 3

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