Talk:Anglo-Zulu War

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This article goes well beyond it's stated scope of the "Anglo-Zulu War," and into Zulu command structure, the events long before and long after the war. These might be more profitably split up, making them reference-able from other articles. Zulu tactics, developed by Shaka, for example.

It would be more readable if shorter. Student7 (talk) 00:38, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. Moving the section in question to the Zulu Army article- "Impi". What is in this article should be more narrowly focused on the Ango-Zulu war itself.Serbchingo (talk) 21:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Also, the lead is a bit breathless, establishing the setting a la television, then proceeding to the heart of the matter. This is great showmanship, but not very good encyclopedia. The lead should summarize the article, not lead into it! Student7 (talk) 00:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Issues with the article[edit]

The (currently edit-protected) article has issues with regard to copy-edit, potential orginal research, sloppy referencing, and contains some statements that sound POV.

My overall impression is still very positive. (talk) 20:09, 3 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could you be more specific on the problems? Please place comments where attention is needed if you don't want to fix them yourself. For example <!---this sentence appears to be OR--> will not appear in the text when saved. But other editors will see it in their watchlists and be able to take action as needed. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 22:19, 5 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This must change[edit]

There is a huge contradiction in the Weapons section of the article. It states that the long spear was discarded, and then a couple sentences later states that it was not discarded. Very poor writing. 4 May 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Best thing to do is change it yourself. There may be people who won't like it and try to help. Be clear in the edit summary WHY you are changing it.
On the talk page only, please follow your remarks with four tildes. This results in a "signature" so we can tell who wrote it. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 15:05, 6 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, if you have a reference that contradicts what is there, it is a good idea to add that as well. Student7 (talk) 15:06, 6 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to overhaul section 6[edit]

The huge section 6, 'Anatomy and assessment of the Zulu army', was added by this guy:, who you can see has been blocked for abusing accounts.

Not only is is the section entirely without sources and reads like poor essay, it has also been taken word for word in a copy paste job from this site:

Not good.

In light of this, I am stating my aim here to do a systematic overhaul of this section (no. 6), clarifying statements, adding ref's, removing fallacies and trimming a lot of the article bloat. I will aim to keep the basic idea (a overview of the zulu way of war in relation to the Anglo-Zulu war) but cut it down into something that has value for the reader.

I will leave this for a few days to see any objections. Gaius Octavius Princeps (talk) 03:12, 15 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyright violations must be deleted.
Having said that, the section, rewritten, might be best as a stand-alone article for reference by other Zulu articles. (There may be one already or similar stuff in other articles). It would be summarized here. As it says in the beginning of the section, there are no footnotes. Need to add those. Student7 (talk) 12:55, 17 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was intending to save the core of section 6 and find sources to back it up, but on further reading it really would be a pointless task. It is not well written at all, informs us very little and is mostly irrelevant to the war itself. Also considering that the section is entirely a copy-paste job added at a whim by a banned editor (and thus also a copyright violation), a deletion of the section would probably be the best option. I will remove the section as discussed.Gaius Octavius Princeps (talk) 15:42, 24 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for doing that. I recopied back some stuff that seemed more germane. I can rewrite it, if necessary. Not sure about getting reliable citations, but it "sounds good." Student7 (talk) 20:51, 26 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added essay tag to section 'Assessment of Zulu performance against the British' - Needs fully referencing and rewritten fro it to remain Kernel Saunters (talk) 14:15, 11 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The cut and paste from the above website is more pervasive than just section 6. The lede & background are mostly word for word except where some editors & myself have made small changes. So too the ultimatum section and British Invasion & repulse. If you compare paragraphs side by side it is, almost in its entirety, the same article as that on the website, up to and including section headings. Doesn't this constitute plagiarism Wikipedia:Plagiarism? Tttom1 (talk) 15:44, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Six paragraphs from the Blair piece, which are virtually identical to the version in wp, aside from some minor recent edits :

The Anglo-Zulu War was fought in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Empire. From complex beginnings, the war is notable for several particularly bloody battles, as well as for being a landmark in the timeline of colonialism in the region. The war ended the Zulu nation's independence.

In 1862, Umtonga, a brother of Cetshwayo, son of Zulu king Mpande, fled to the Utrecht district, and Cetshwayo assembled an army on that frontier. According to evidence later brought forward by the Boers, Cetshwayo offered the farmers a strip of land along the border if they would surrender his brother. The Boers complied on the condition that Umtonga's life was spared, and in 1861 Mpande signed a deed transferring this land to the Boers. The south boundary of the land added to Utrecht ran from Rorke's Drift on the Buff to a point on the Pongola River.

The boundary was beaconed in 1864, but when in 1865 Umtonga fled from Zululand to Natal, Cetshwayo, seeing that he had lost his part of the bargain (for he feared that Umtonga might be used to supplant him, as Mpande had been used to supplant Dingane), caused the beacon to be removed, and also claimed the land ceded by the Swazis to Lydenburg. The Zulus asserted that the Swazis were their vassals and therefore had no right to part with this territory. During the year a Boer Commando under Paul Kruger and an army under Cetshwayo were posted to defend the newly acquired Utrecht border. The Zulu forces took back their land north of the Pongola. Questions were also raised as to the validity of the documents signed by the Zulus concerning the Utrecht strip; in 1869 the services of the lieutenant-governor of Natal were accepted by both parties as arbitrator, but the attempt then made to settle disagreements proved unsuccessful.

Such was the political background when Cetshwayo became absolute ruler of the Zulus upon his father's death in 1873. As ruler, Cetshwayo set about reviving the military methods of his uncle Shaka as far as possible, and even succeeded in equipping his regiments with firearms. It is believed that he caused the Xhosa people in the Transkei to revolt, and he aided Sikukuni in his struggle with the Transvaal. The activities of the missionaries were unwelcome to Cetshwayo. Though he did not harm the missionaries themselves, several converts were killed. The missionaries, for their part, were a source of hostile reports. For example, Bishop Schreuder (of the Norwegian Missionary Society) described Cetshwayo as "an able man, but for cold, selfish pride, cruelty and untruthfulness, worse than any of his predecessors."[citation needed]

In 1874 Lord Carnarvon, who had successfully brought about federation in Canada, thought that a similar scheme might work in South Africa. Sir Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner to bring it about. One of the obstacles to such a scheme was the presence of the independent states of the South African Republic and the Kingdom of Zululand.

In September 1876 the massacre of a large number of girls (who had married men of their own age instead of men from an older regiment, as ordered by Cetshwayo) provoked a strong protest from the government of Natal, and the occupying governments were usually inclined to look patronisingly upon the affairs of the subjugated African nations. The tension between Cetshwayo and the Transvaal over border disputes continued. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, whom Cetshwayo regarded as his friend, had supported him in the border dispute, but in 1877 he led a small force into the Transvaal and persuaded the Boers to give up their independence. Shepstone became Administrator of the Transvaal, and in that role saw the border dispute from the other side.Tttom1 (talk) 03:58, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the other hand, the Blair page has a citation needed tag at the end of para 4.Tttom1 (talk) 03:58, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The conclusion, arrived at by User talk:Moonriddengirl, is that the Blair piece is copied from WP and most of this WP article is taken, unattributed, from 1911 EB, called a 'text dump'. Tttom1 (talk) 14:08, 15 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Notes" vs "References"[edit]

Separating these into two different lists is interesting. Also, non-standard. "References" are normally reserved for un-footnoted material. See, for example, WP:INCITE. Student7 (talk) 19:59, 24 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello. Who was Sir Henry Bulwer ?[edit]

as in "After considerable discussion and exchanges of views between Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Henry Bulwer..." (during war preparation, § "Ultimatum"). The one Henry Bulwer I found in WP en died childless in 1872...Thanks, Arapaima (talk) 07:47, 25 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer, I think. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:21, 26 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Ghmyrtle, actually the dates fit OK. Arapaima (talk) 09:46, 21 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Various interactions[edit]

In Background > British Empire:

"Various interactions with these resulted in an expansionist policy."

This means nothing, as far as I can see. It is just the vaguest sort of justification for imperialist aggression. A policy of expansion (generally in the form of invading and occupying neighbours) is inherent in the nature of empire. Otherwise there could be no empire.

We have to distinguish between historical fact and the often ridiculously thin justifications given by proponents of imperialist expansion for what is usually a series of unjustifiable invasions.

The statement, as it stands, puts the cart before the horse. Heavenlyblue (talk) 21:00, 1 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps. But the fact is that the facts played out in favor of expansion. Kind of like the Sudan "retreat" by Gordon who was perhaps trying to precipitate an invasion. Nowdays, we would say, "let them sort it out." Which was some English statesmen and generals held. This opinion did not prevail in the short run. It resulted in an expansionist policy which was coming under criticism at home. I don't think it is justification per se. But rather how events played out. The American South used Lincoln's election as an excuse for withdrawal from the Union. This is just how it played out. I don't think it "justifies" it, particularly. It's just what happened. Student7 (talk) 01:36, 7 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, there is a very real and deliberate white-washing of Wikipedia by the British and their supporters. They refuse to let the truth come out when it comes to their supposed empire's shameful history. It's evident in countless entries related to any of the places the British had no right to be in the first place. 24rhhtr7 (talk) 02:31, 14 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The German Wiki article is citing the losses as following:

refer to Lord Chelmsford’s Official Account of the Battle of Ulundi, dat. 6. July 1879; printed in appendig C by Norris-Newman (2006), page 307–313, hier S. 312: „The loss of the Zulus killed in action since the commencement of hostilities in January, has been placed at not less than 10,000 men, and I am inclined to believe this estimate is not too great.“  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:C4:3F33:E600:50D1:E495:C6CD:7D14 (talk) 12:32, 18 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

datation problem / ref problem[edit]

i am currently translating this article to french and i found a problem in the dates:

In 1862, Umtonga, a brother of Cetshwayo, and another son of Zulu king Mpande, fled to the Utrecht district, and Cetshwayo assembled an army on that frontier. According to claims later brought forward by the Boers, Cetshwayo offered the farmers a strip of land along the border if they would surrender his brother. The Boers complied on the condition that Umtonga's life was spared, and in 1861 Mpande signed a deed transferring this land to the Boers. The south boundary of the land added to Utrecht ran from Rorke's Drift on the Buffalo to a point on the Pongola River.

how can mpande sign a deed in 1861 if umtonga leaves in 1862?

i don't know well the subject and i don't have any idea where to look... it would be nice if someone better informed could sort this out.

also a ref is strange: [6] Knight (1992, 2002), p. 8.

i don't know to what book does this refers to.

--SyntaxTerror (talk) 19:05, 19 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1862 is a typographical error. The source, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, Vol. 28, p. 1053 states 1861 for both dates. I changed the date in the article. Knight's 2004 book on page 8, by chance perhaps, has some text that has some, but not quite all, of the information in the two sentences in the text preceding footnote 6. Knight wrote several books on this subject so the writers of this article probably intended to refer to another book by Knight but forgot to put it into the references. Donner60 (talk) 02:15, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
thank you for the fast answer, i will just remove the footnote 6 in the french article as it is not a crutial information. some other notes needchanges to be clearer, i'll do it maybe when i'll have finished translating the article into french. --SyntaxTerror (talk) 09:13, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

strange sentence[edit]

By the time the ultimatum was presented, the two infractions by Sihayo’s sons and the roughing up of Smith and Deighton were only part of the justification used, as several matters had arisen in the meantime. One of these was Cetshwayo’s apparent breaking of promises he had given to the then Mr Theophilus Shepstone at the king’s 'coronation' in 1872. This farcical piece of theatre had been agreed to by Cetshwayo simply to satisfy the wishes of Shepstone and meant nothing to the Zulu people. Indeed, his real Zulu installation had taken place several weeks earlier when he had been acclaimed by his izinduna.[29]

can someone correct this sentence please?

--SyntaxTerror (talk) 14:22, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Syntax Terror: I have only a passing interest in this subject but I noticed your questions and thought I might be able to answer at least some of them with just a little research. It turns out that the paragraph in which the sentence you quote is taken, is copied entirely from a web site which is discussed above in detail I will not repeat. This site appears somewhat POV and seems to have copied material from other sources, including Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1911. For these reasons, as well as for clarity, it certainly seems this should be rewritten. I wanted to tell you that despite some efforts by other editors, some of this copied and POV material still exists in this article. It is no excuse for the poor writing, but the material you quote is taken exactly from that web site. Donner60 (talk) 00:41, 21 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

point of view?[edit]

this sentence at the end of the ultimatum section seems to be POV and needs a source:

For his part, Cetshwayo strenuously attempted to avoid war with the British and, should it occur, limit its scope and effects. He ordered his troops to defend their country only if attacked and not to carry the war beyond its borders. He directed them to avoid killing any of the invaders other than the regular British soldiers in their red coats.

--SyntaxTerror (talk) 17:41, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I noted above, when one looks at this article more closely - and does a little research - one sees some copying problems, and some of the material copied appears to be POV. This is not a new observation as it is discussed above. I did not find the source of these statements but I can say that the first two sentences seem to be in general accord with some of the book excerpts I did find. I did not find a source for the last sentence or anything that resembles it. It does not mean there is not a source, just that it was not readily discoverable. Of course, especially if either exaggerated, this would be POV; if untrue, it should be deleted. Certainly the Zulus did not spare native allies of the British. Perhaps Cetshwayo wanted such a limitation but it is difficult to see how it could have been carried out in battle and his commanders in the field certainly did not, and probably could not, comply with it if it is genuine.
Someone who knows a little more about this and has some sources, and perhaps is willing to make some more edits, should make some revisions and add a few more good citations to this article. (The Encyclopedia Brittanica 1911 may be a good enough source but the Frost web site does not seem to be very reliable.) Also, I think someone more knowledgeable than me should answer or comment on your questions. Donner60 (talk) 00:51, 21 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

military campaigns in Canada?[edit]

The article states "Following a campaign by which Lord Carnarvon had successfully brought about federation in Canada, it was thought that similar combined military and political campaigns might succeed ... (in Africa)" What military campaigns in Canada?--Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:38, 7 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It was the UK, not the British Empire[edit]

The British Empire was not a political entity, merely being the colonies of the UK. For Example, the sentence 'In 1874, Sir Henry Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire to bring the plans into being.' is incorrect. High Commissioners were representatives of the UK government in Westminster, not 'the Empire'.

'By the 1870s the British Empire had colonies in southern Africa bordering on various Boer settlements, native African kingdoms such as the Zulus, and numerous indigenous tribal areas and states.' This too is incorrect. European empires in this time period were simply the sum of all colonies and possessions of the mother nation, not entities in themselves. As such it was the UK that had colonies in southern Africa, not 'the Empire'.

These points are evident in the fact that the British cabinet had a seperate minister 'for the colonies' and each colony had it's own colonial government, as the British government itself ultimately represented the United Kingdom alone, even if it had sovereignty and control over others.--Allthestrongbowintheworld (talk) 18:03, 13 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No one got anything to say? No counter-argument? Nothing at all???????????????????????????--Allthestrongbowintheworld (talk) 20:50, 4 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
British Empire is common usage (similar to Byzantine Empire & others) by authors and historians to described this empire, like German Empire etc., has a wiki article to explain it, as can be seen from link, had a queen styled 'Empress of India'. There is an animated map here: Territorial evolution of the British Empire. Are you suggesting that all this should be changed? Is it really a necessary change?Tttom1 (talk) 22:34, 25 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not advocating completely wiping the usuage of the word, I'm saying it's used wrongly too often in wikipedia. If obviously depends on the context of what is being explained. It was the empire of the United Kingdom with each colony a clear, seperate and distinct jusidiction, not a single sovereign entity on it's own, like ancient empires of Rome and Byzantine. The fact that there was a title 'Empress of India' is case in point of what I was saying, otherwise there would have been one single 'Empress of the British Empire'. My problem is not saying 'British Empire', but when people start reflecting what were actions solely of the UK government for the sake of the United Kingdom as somehow a federal act of 'The Empire'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Allthestrongbowintheworld (talkcontribs) 08:50, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is true that the European colonial empires pose a special issue of nomenclature, given that most were not formally structured politically as "empires." There are exceptions, of course - the First (1804-1814, 1815) and Second French Empires (1851-1870), the Russian Empire (to 1918), and The German Empire (1870-1918). Britain is a special case because, while it was consistently a kingdom (and constitutional monarchy) throughout this entire period, the reigning monarch was also styled as Emperor or Empress of the Indian Raj after 1876 - but that was in reference to the Empire of India, not the Empire of Britain. Otherwise, when the term "Empire" is used in connection with British colonial possessions abroad (a usage which goes back to the 1690's), it's more an informal gloss on the operation of British settlements abroad than its actual political structure. On the whole, however, I don't have a problem with the term used as a general gloss, making a general reference (like in topic headers). However, that said, more concrete references to offices and acts may require something more specific. For example, in the opening introduction: "Sir Henry Bartle Frere was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire..." Well, no, Sir Henry was not High Commissioner for some entity called "the British Empire," but rather for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland - though one could simply shorten it to "Great Britain," if one wanted to. But most of the other usages of "British Empire" in this article seem defensible to me. Alexander1926 (talk) 15:27, 13 December 2014 (UTC)Alexander1926Reply[reply]

Civilian casualties?[edit]

Does anyone have any figures on civilian casualties during the war? Zulu raids into Natal certainly killed some, mostly African civilians to my knowledge, while British invading forces must surely have killed some Zulu civilians? Jdorney (talk) 01:40, 25 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It almost goes without saying that there is no accurate count of Zulu civilian casualties, which ultimately must be quite high given the British scorched earth policy of burning kraals, storehouses, crops, killing cattle, etc. In comparison, any casualties on the Empire side of Europeans - however slight - is probably available in detail. Contemporary estimate by British sources of Zulus are not to be entirely trusted, given most of the self-serving estimates of military losses.Tttom1 (talk) 22:45, 25 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well ok, but even if it's a range, do we have any figures at all for Zulu victims of British and allied troops? As far as I'm aware, most of the civilians the Zulus killed were Africans rather than Europeans - particularly in raids on homesteads on the 'northern front', around Hlobane if I recall. I'll see if I can find any estimates of numbers. Jdorney (talk) 18:17, 29 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Opening sentence[edit]

This has to be one of the worst and most garbled opening sentences for any major article I've seen on Wikipedia:

The Anglo-Zulu War resulted from the second attempt in southern Africa of a successful policy with the (federation of Canada) that was believed by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord Carnarvon applicable and necessary for the entire Cape region to consolidate the administrative and political systems of the African kingdoms, tribal areas and Boer republics in southern Africa in order to protect and advance British Empire interests and secure the role the Cape had in the Imperial political and economic interests in the southern hemisphere from Africa to Australia.

"federation of Canada"?? Paul B (talk) 20:31, 13 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ah, I see they are a mere day's old "improvement" by an IP. Paul B (talk) 20:46, 13 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Historical error? Canadian federation instigated by Lord Carnarvon, WTF?[edit]

The second phrase of the article spills doubts over the whole article's credibility :

« Following Lord Carnarvon's successful introduction of federation in Canada »

How is this Lord Carnarvon connected in any way with the Canadian federation? Nowhere is this individual mentioned in serious articles treating about the Canadian federation. That Lord was NOT amongst the fathers of the Canadian federation. So please, either remove this fantasy, or provide serious and verifiable sources (myself I haven't been able to find such source on the Web. So maybe that someone else will succeed, but I doubt it since it doesn't seem to be true, in regards to all historical sources I've read about this). Thanks in advance for correcting the article, --HawkFest (talk) 21:39, 15 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seems to say so in Carnarvon's article. Other articles too, though not in North American Act. However, he was Secretary for Colonies, so it would seem likely. Who did introduce the federation if it wasn't Carnarvon? And who better than the Colonies secretary to (then) introduce it to South Africa? There may be some gaps in Wikipedia, but I don't see the profit of rm it in favor of nothing. Student7 (talk) 21:16, 20 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General Tone and Neutral POV[edit]

The entire article here really needs some major work, but the most salient issue to my eyes is the frequent use of non-neutral POV language. Whatever one thinks of the Sir Henry Bartle Frere or British imperialism in general, there is a standard of neutrality that is required on Wikipedia. Sometimes the bias is suggestive; sometimes it is blatant. See in particular the section "Boundary commission and ultimatum." Examples: "This farcical piece of theatre" and "these incidents were flimsy grounds." Likewise, assertions are made without any source being cited, and it is not like sources can't be found to support most of these assertions, albeit in somewhat different language (see for example the assertion beginning "Frere has been accused of chicanery by taking deliberate advantage of the length of time..."). It's impossible to read this entire section as anything other than (a poorly researched) indictment of Frere's course of action, rather than a neutral recounting of the episode. Recall what Wikipedia demands for for Neutral POV: "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic."

Alexander1926 (talk) 15:09, 13 December 2014 (UTC)Alexander1926Reply[reply]