Shaka organised various grades into regiments, and quartered them in special military kraals, with regiments having their own distinctive names and insignia. Each of these amabutho had its own name and was lodged at one of the royal households, which became military communities as well as retaining their traditional functions. Born Sigidi Kasenzangakhona in 1787, Shaka was a king who ruled the Zulu from 1816-1828. The British-Zulu War begins as British troops under Lieutenant General Frederic Augustus invade Zululand from the southern African republic of Natal. Zwide's general Soshangane (of the Shangaan) moved north towards what is now Mozambique to inflict further damage on less resistant foes and take advantage of slaving opportunities, obliging Portuguese traders to give tribute. The settling of Mzilikazi's people, the AmaNdebele or Matabele, in the south of Zimbabwe with the concomitant driving of the AmaShona into the north caused a tribal conflict that still resonates today. [14], The Zulu monarch was killed by three assassins sometime in 1828; September is the most frequently cited date, when almost all available Zulu manpower had been sent on yet another mass sweep to the north. Nathaniel Isaacs published his Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa in 1836, creating a picture of Shaka as a degenerate and pathological monster, which survives in modified forms to this day. The majority then submitted to Shaka. [13] More modern researchers argue that such explanations fall short, and that the general Zulu culture, which included other tribes and clans, contained a number of practices that Shaka could have drawn on to fulfill his objectives, whether in raiding, conquest or hegemony. In 1787 Shaka was born to Senzangakhona who was a minor chief of one of the clans of Zulu tribe. The earliest are two eyewitness accounts written by European adventurer-traders who met Shaka during the last four years of his reign. Shaka's triumphs did not succeed in obliterating or diminishing the memories of his better-born rivals. His teachings greatly influenced the social outlook of the Zulu people. In a two-day running battle, the Zulu inflicted a resounding defeat on their opponents. He was the son of the Zulu tribe’s chief. Assassination by rivals to the throne is a constant in monarchies throughout history and around the world. Initial Zulu success rested on fast-moving surprise attacks and ambushes, but the Voortrekkers recovered and dealt the Zulu a severe defeat from their fortified wagon laager at the Battle of Blood River. H F Fynn, who knew him well, found him intelligent and often amiable, and mentioned occasions that leave no doubt that Shaka was capable of generosity. In the king's absence, administrative authority was wielded jointly by the female ruler of the settlement and by an induna who was usually a favourite of the king. [14], The figure of Shaka thus remains an ambiguous one in African oral tradition, defying simplistic depictions of the Zulu king as a heroic, protean nation builder on one hand, or a depraved monster on the other. They were organized in female equivalents of the male amabutho and took part in ceremonial dancing and displays. Shaka kaSenzangakhona (1787 – 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu was the leader of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Nathaniel Isaacs published his Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa in 1836, creating a picture of Shaka as a degenerate and pathological monster, which survives in modified forms to this day. credit Shaka with initial development of the famous "bull horn" formation. He and his mother, Nandi, were exiled by Senzangakona, and found refuge with the Mthethwa. While in the Mthethwa army Shaka became engrossed in problems of strategy and battle tactics, and Dingiswayo contributed much toward Shaka's later accomplishments in war. In Shaka's time, these cowhide shields were supplied by the king, and they remained the king's property. [16] Several other historians of the Zulu, and the Zulu military system, however, affirm the mobility rate of up to 50 miles per day.[19][20]. A cruel tyrant, he had men executed with a nod of his head. The young men were taken away to be enrolled alongside others from all sections of the kingdom in an appropriate amabutho, or age-regiment. Shaka was an illegitimate son of a minor chief, Senzangakhona, while his half-brother Dingane was legitimate. [30], A 1998 study by historian Carolyn Hamilton summarizes much of the scholarship on Shaka towards the dawn of the 21st century in areas ranging from ideology, politics and culture, to the use of his name and image in a popular South African theme park, Shakaland. When Shaka's mother Nandi died for example, the monarch ordered a massive outpouring of grief including mass executions, forbidding the planting of crops or the use of milk, and the killing of all pregnant women and their husbands. It is claimed that Shaka was born into Senzangakhona's household but that the couple were not yet married according to traditional custom. SHAKA ZULU 1787 - 1828 Shaka was born in 1787 in unfortunate circumstances. These developments resulted in the evolution of powerful figures in later reigns with strong local power bases that they had been able to build up because of royal appointments and favours. [16], The figure of Shaka still sparks interest among not only the contemporary Zulu but many worldwide who have encountered the tribe and its history. His role in the Mfecane is highly controversial. He was able to recruit additional warriors from these sources and proceeded to train them in his own methods of close combat. Thus, the sense of identity of these subject chiefdoms was not entirely lost, but remained an important element in the later politics of the Zulu kingdom. Shaka was born into the small South African clan of the Zulus in 1787. The traditional leaders of the subject chiefdoms still held local administrative authority, and on the dissolution of the amabutho the young men would return to live in their community of origin. The loyalties of his people were severely strained as the frequent cruelties of their great king increased steadily. These and other sources such as A.T. Bryant gives us a more Zulu-centred picture. Their effects were felt even far north of the Zambezi River. His war cry was `Victory or death!' Shaka then led a fresh reserve some 70 miles (110 km) to the royal kraal of Zwide, ruler of the Ndwandwe, and destroyed it. Though much remains unknown about Shaka's personal appearance, sources tend to agree he had a strong, muscular body and was not fat. This ambiguity continues to lend the image of Shaka its continued power and influence, almost two centuries after his death.[31]. By means of much drilling and discipline, Shaka built up his forces, which soon became the terror of the land. [13], It is also supposed that Shaka introduced a larger, heavier version of the Nguni shield. Implementation was typically blunt. By then, Shaka had no major rival in the area of present day KwaZulu/Natal. J.H. This was too much for his assailants and they leapt upon him, stabbing. [13], Dingane and Mhlangana, Shaka's half-brothers, appear to have made at least two attempts to assassinate Shaka before they succeeded, with perhaps support from Mpondo elements and some disaffected iziYendane people. Shaka was victorious in battle, although his forces sustained heavy casualties, which included his head military commander, Umgobhozi Ovela Entabeni. Shaka fought as a warrior under Jobe, and then under Jobe's successor, Dingiswayo, leader of … The poem documents his exploits as a king of the Zulu people, produced considerable advances in State structure and military technologies of the Zulu. Most historians[who?] He was one of the most influential monarchs in the Zulu kingdom. Economic and social changes. After sifting through these sources and noting their strengths and weaknesses, Morris generally credits Shaka with a large number of military and social innovations, and this is the general consensus in the field. A diversion was created by Mbopa, and Dingane and Mhlangana struck the fatal blows. Shaka's first capital was on the banks of the Mhodi, a small tributary of the Mkhumbane River in the Babanango district. When Senzangakhona (Shaka's father) died in 1816, Shaka's younger half-brother Sigujana assumed power as the legitimate heir to the Zulu chiefdom. hold that popular depictions of Shaka as a suddenly appearing genius creating innovation are overstated, and that to the contrary, Shaka was a borrower and imitator of indigenous methods, customs and even ruler-lineages already in place. Some had black shields, others used white shields with black spots, and some had white shields with brown spots, while others used pure brown or white shields.[16]. They also argue that Shaka's line was relatively short-lived and receives undue attention, compared to other, longer established lines and rulers in the region. [clarification needed] To show his gratitude, Shaka permitted European settlers to enter and operate in the Zulu kingdom. Shaka is without doubt the greatest commander to have come out of Africa.[25]. The "loins" would be committed wherever the enemy impi threatened to break out of the, Zulu king Shaka is referenced in Jamaican, Shaka has been featured as a playable leader for the Zulu civilization in all six, This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 01:06. Old chiefdoms vanished and new ones were created. Shaka, king of the Zulus, was born around 1787 to the Zulu chief Senzangakhona KaJama, and Nandi, of the neighboring Langeni clan. With the impi in the iziCwe regiment, he had the companionship he had previously lacked, while the battlefield provided a stadium in which he could demonstrate his talents and courage. One popular narrative is that Shakas conception was a mistake after his parents got carried away during uku-hlobonga, a ritual for unmarried couples involving sexual foreplay and no penetrative sex. According to members of his family, Shaka's last words were: Hastily they buried his body in a grain-pit nearby. His father Senzangakhona was a minor chief of the Zulu speaking clans, while his mother Nandi was the daughter of Chief Mbhengi of the rival Langeni clan. Napier", "The Zulu Military Organization and the Challenge of 1879", "Shaka Zulu's brutality was exaggerated, says new book", "Warfare, Political Leadership, and State Formation: The Case of the Zulu Kingdom, 1808-1879", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shaka&oldid=994882615, Wikipedia articles with style issues from September 2017, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2020, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from September 2014, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from September 2017, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from July 2015, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from January 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2019, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The main force, the "chest," closed with the enemy, While the enemy impi was pinned by the "chest," the "horns" would, The "loins," a large reserve, was hidden, seated, behind the "chest" with their backs to the battle, for the sake of them not losing any confidence. A more credible account is that the relationship between Nandi and Senzangakhona was illicit, and that Shaka was born in Langeni territory at the Nguga homestead of Nandi's uncle. The current tendency appears to be to lionise him; popular film and other media have certainly contributed to his appeal. Phongola is near the present day border of KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa. [16] Different coloured shields distinguished different amabutho within Shaka's army. Under Shaka's successors, Dingane, Mpande, and Cetshwayo the Zulu monarchy profoundly influenced the course of South African history. He had a big nose, according to Baleka of the Qwabe, as told by her father. According to Donald Morris, Shaka ordered that no crops should be planted during the following year of mourning, no milk (the basis of the Zulu diet at the time) was to be used, and any woman who became pregnant was to be killed along with her husband. Thunderer-while-sitting, son of Menzi Soga and Bryant related each of them to a larger grouping they called Mho. Certain aspects of traditional Zulu culture still revere the dead monarch, as the typical praise song below attests. [citation needed]. Yet British fortune-seekers of the 1820s found Shaka's Zulus a dignified people whose martial qualities were tempered by generosity and hospitality. Facts about Shaka Zulu: Shaka Zulu was born in 1787. Famine and chaos followed the wholesale extermination of populations and the destruction of herds and crops between the Limpopo and the Gariep River. In 1825, when Lieutenant James King paid him a visit, Shaka sent a goodwill delegation to Major J Cloete, Cape government representative at Port Elizabeth. Senzangakhona claimed that Nandis bloated belly was a symptom of iSh… Shaka was born in 1787. His outstanding deeds of courage attracted the attention of his overlord and, rising rapidly in Dingiswayo's army, he became one of his foremost commanders. Shaka was born almost certainly in 1787. He thus retained his forces intact. "[16] The throwing spear was not discarded but used as an initial missile weapon before close contact with the enemy, when the shorter stabbing spear was used in hand-to-hand combat. If a chiefdom resisted, it was conquered and either destroyed or, like the Thembu and Chunu, driven off as landless refugees. The Gaza Empire. He lived in an area of South-East Africa, between the Drakensberg and the Indian Ocean, a region populated by many independent Nguni chiefdoms. As for the ruling Qwabe, they began re-inventing their genealogies to give the impression that Qwabe and Zulu were closely related in the past. Shaka observed several demonstrations of European technology and knowledge, but he held that the Zulu way was superior to that of the foreigners. Sigujana's reign was short, however, as Dingiswayo, anxious to confirm his authority, lent Shaka a regiment so that he was able to put Sigujana to death, launching a relatively bloodless coup that was substantially accepted by the Zulu. At the time of his death, Shaka ruled over 250,000 people and could muster more than 50,000 warriors. [16] He was tall and his skin tone was dark brown. Here, growing up as a fatherless child, Shaka seems to have been the victim of humiliation and cruel treatment by the Langeni boys. [5] Thus Shaka became Chief of the Zulu clan, although he remained a vassal of the Mthethwa empire[6] until Dingiswayo's death in battle a year later at the hands of Zwide, powerful chief of the Ndwandwe (Nxumalo) nation. Once again, most Zulu successes rested on their mobility, ability to screen their forces and to close when their opponents were unfavourably deployed. As the great King Shaka's life ebbed away, he called out to his brother Dingane: He meant the white people, because they made their houses of mud, like the swallows. On the death of Shaka's father (c. 1816), Dingiswayo lent his young protégé the military support necessary to oust and assassinate his senior brother Sigujana, and make himself chieftain of the Zulu, although he remained a vassal of Dingiswayo. Once in power Shaka began reorganizing the forces of his people in accordance with ideas he had developed as a warrior in Dingiswayo's army. Shaka's reign coincided with the start of the Mfecane ("Upheaval" or "Crushing"), a period of devastating warfare and chaos in southern Africa between 1815 and about 1840 that depopulated the region. He was ultimately assassinated by his half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. His mother was Nandi, the daughter of a Langeni chief. In 1826, in order to be closer and more accessible to the settlers at Port Natal, Shaka built a large military barracks at Dukuza, (‘the place where one gets lost'). Zwide decided to smash his new rival. Omer-Cooper's "The Zulu Aftermath", which advances the traditional Mfecane theory.[32]. He was born c. 1787. [17] Shaka drilled his troops frequently, in forced marches that sometimes covered more than 50 miles (80 km) a day in a fast trot over hot, rocky terrain. leader, Shaka – King of the Zulu, who changed Zulu and African history forever. It seems much more likely that Shaka, seeking to build the power of a previously insignificant chiefdom, drew on an existing heritage of statecraft known to his immediate neighbors. Historian Donald Morris states that Shaka's first major battle against Zwide, of the Ndwandwe, was the Battle of Gqokli Hill, on the Mfolozi river. That year, Henry Francis Fynn and Francis Farewell visited Shaka. Morris nevertheless references a large number of sources, including Stuart, and A. T. Bryant's extensive but uneven "Olden Times in Zululand and Natal", which is based on four decades of exhaustive interviews of tribal sources. He was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom. Nevertheless, the concept of "light" forces is questionable. [12] (He died in mysterious circumstances soon afterwards.) [36], The theory of the Mfecane holds that the aggressive expansion of Shaka's armies caused a brutal chain reaction across the southern areas of the continent, as dispossessed tribe after tribe turned on their neighbours in a deadly cycle of fight and conquest. One visitor, Nathaniel Isaacs, wrote to Henry Fynn, a white adventurer, trader and quasi-local chieftain: Fynn, according to Wylie, complied with the request, and Wylie notes that he had an additional motive to distort Shaka's image— he applied for a huge grant of land— an area allegedly depopulated by Shaka's savagery. Cementing the Realm Shaka set about consolidating his empire, building enormous military barracks in strategic locations and populating them with vast numbers of new recruits. [3], Shaka further refined the ibutho military system and, with the Mthethwa empire's support over the next several years, forged alliances with his smaller neighbours to counter the growing threat from Ndwandwe raids from the north. His half-brothers assassinated him. When Zulu elders including Senzangakhona himself discovered that Nandi was pregnant, they tried to deny it. Shaka kaSenzangakhona also known as Shaka Zulu was the leader of the Zulu kingdom from 1816 to 1828. That so much youth was concentrated at the royal barracks resulted in a massive transfer of economic potential to a centralized state. Shaka and the Zulu Nation . This produced a sense of common identity amongst them. The male amabutho. [28], Their accounts may be balanced by the rich resource of oral histories collected around 1900 by the same James Stuart, now published in six volumes as The James Stuart Archive. He was an unwanted child and this affected his approach to life throughout his entire life. Until such time, however, sexual intercourse between members of the male and female age regiments was forbidden. [31], Military historians of the Zulu War must also be considered for their description of Zulu fighting methods and tactics, including authors like Ian Knight and Robert Edgerton. In Qwabe, Shaka may have intervened in an existing succession dispute to help his own choice, Nqetho, into power. Boys and girls aged six and over joined Shaka's force as apprentice warriors (udibi) and served as carriers of rations, supplies like cooking pots and sleeping mats, and extra weapons until they joined the main ranks. 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