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Old 02-23-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default Military history - The Zulu Empire

This is a thread of another grand project I'm working on, to give brief but detailed information about military history - including empires, events, and battles. Reading through wikipedia may be boring, so read these shortened texts instead. I hope you will learn many new things, as I will rarely write about major occassions in history but smaller, less attentioned events.

Shaka - Father of the Empire:
Spoiler:


In the deep jungles of southern Africa, a small tribe known as the Zulu rose to power with surprising speed. How was it possible for them to annex much larger tribes, or even civilizations, in South Africa? The answer was something that few other native nations had - leadership. This leader was Shaka, a military genius well educated in the art of war. He did a massive reformation to the army that came to make the Zulu one of the world's strongest native tribes. Though the empire itself was merely a small area in today's Natal, it had allies or vassal states all over Africa and a standing army of more than a hundred thousand warriors. Shaka had plans of driving out the Europeans, but died before he could do this.

Mazulu impi:
Spoiler:

The secret of Shaka's military reformation was his personal guard, called Impi, or in a more specific term Mazulu impi. These were African native warriors trained with iron discipline, their training time beginning at the age of 7 and proceeding nonstop until death on the battlefield (it was considered that an Impi who died from disease or natural causes had not done his duty). Another important part was the Impi's armament. While other tribes were using a long, wooden thrusting spear for battle and covering themselves with a round shield, the Impi had a much better equipment. This was a short spear which could be thrown at will, but also used with great agility for melee combat. Their shields were as tall as an adult man and very broad, and were even able to resist long-range musket bullets. The spear also had an iron edge - a great improvement over the sharpened stones used by the mightiest African tribes.

Zulu tactics and strategies:
Spoiler:

The Impi utilized a tactic known as "chest and horn of the buffalo", a formation that required great numbers but could destroy a much better equipped army with ease. This was that one section of the army would be in the center, acting as the "chest". The first line held their shields in protection for the second line, which used bows or muskets to fire at the enemy. Meanwhile, two more sections of the army concentrated into horn-like formations, of course representing the horns, charged into the enemy flanks with melee weapons. This tactic proved decisive in the war against Britain, as the single columns used by the Redcoats was a perfect prey.

The war against Britain:
Spoiler:




The Zulu fought a war against the British colonial empire in the late 1800's. Though Shaka's vision of a victory could have been possible during his lifetime, the Zulu were greatly inferior in a time of repeating rifles, howitzers and mortars, and machine guns. Despite many initial victories, the Zulu were soon pushed back to their capital of Ulundi. After a time of siege, the British had victored and burnt the city to the ground, exiling the remaining Zulu people into the deeper jungles of Africa. A minor rebellion occured again in the early 1900's, but few casualties occured.
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Military history - The Zulu Empire

Ahh, I remember this. Kitchener showed them a what for. :3
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Military history - The Zulu Empire

The Monty Python take was most informative, I thought.
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