Online Encyclopedia

ULUNDI (Zulu for " high place" )

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 574 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ULUNDI (Zulu for " high place" ), the royal kraal of Cetywayo, situated in the Mahlabatini district of Zululand, about 3 M. north of the White Umfolosi River, and 115 M. N.N.E. of Durban. The valley of the White Umfolosi here forms an extensive basin called the Emhlabatini, and from the time of Chaka to the overthrow of Cetywayo in 1883 was the exclusive place of residence of the Zulu kings. The basin on the south side of the river is regarded as the cradle of the Zulu race; here all their early chiefs are buried, hence the term Emakosini (i.e. at the grave of the chiefs) applied to the district (see Blue Book C. 5143). During Cetywayo's reign a garrison of 3000 was kept at Ulundi. About a mile from the kraal on the 4th of July 1879 a Zulu army some 20,000 strong was totally defeated by Lord Chelmsford. The British force, consisting of the second division and Wood's column, numbered in all 4200 Europeans and some r000 natives. On the morning of the battle they formed a square, with the mounted troops (about 300) inside. The Zulus attacked with great gallantry but were received with so deadly a fire that they could not come within thirty yards of the rifles. After twenty minutes they broke and fled, and the cavalry followed them till broken ground rendered further pursuit impossible. The British loss was about Ion, that of the Zulus 1500. After the fight the royal kraal was burned. On the 1st of September following, at the site of the ruined kraal, Sir Garnet (afterwards Lord) Wolseley announced the partition of Zululand into thirteen petty chieftainships. But on the 29th of January 1883 Cetywayo was reinstalled by the British at Ulundi as chief over two-thirds of his old dominions. Attacked at Ulundi in July 1883 by the rival chief Usibepu, Cetywayo and his 5000 followers fled to the Nkandhla bush. The royal kraal was again destroyed and Ulundi ceased to be a rallying point. The magistracy for the district is situated 5 M. north of the site of Ulundi. (See ZULULAND.)
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