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Natal becomes a British Colony 4 years 8 months ago #53361

  • Brett Hendey
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On 4 May 1843, 174 years ago, Natal was proclaimed a British Colony. This was followed a few months later by the arrival of a contingent of British soldiers in Natal, which led to the presence in the Colony of a British garrison that finally left 71 years later in 1914. The first small garrison had been diverted north after having been sent to the Cape of Good Hope to fight in another of the Frontier Wars that had plagued the eastern frontier for decades, and which would continue intermittently for decades more. This seemingly small sideshow in the Frontier Wars set in motion a chain of events that profoundly affected the later history of South Africa. Sovereignty over Natal would lead Britain to fight two wars against Dutch (Boer) settlers (1880-1881 and 1899-1902), who also had a territorial claim to Natal, as well as against the Zulus (1879), whose presence in Natal pre-dated those of both Boer and Briton. In the latter war, the Boers joined the British against a common enemy, and they would do so again in 1906 in a Zulu rebellion that Britain left to the Colonists themselves to put down. Later, in 1910, the Colony of Natal ceased to exist and it became a province in the Union of South Africa.

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