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Zulu Dawn: General Lord Chelmsford: For a savage, as for a child, chastisement is sometimes a kindness. Sir Henry Bartle Frere: Let us hope, General, that this will be the final solution to the Zulu problem
 
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 Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand

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Ray63

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PostSubject: Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand   Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:38 pm

If the decision wasn't made to invade, what would the consequences have been.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand   Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:37 pm

This is how I would speculate, but of course it may be totally wrong we shall never know.

To my mind you have to ask, why confederation? It is not the same thing as colonialism or imperialism. Confederation had worked well in Canada and it is unsurprising that the British Government initially wanted something similar in South Africa. It had become too expensive for the home government to keep financing the ever expanding colonial presence (who rarely seemed to want to pay for anything themselves). So confederation was seen as a way of ensuring local financial responsibility and alleviating an ever growing tax burden on the British tax payer. Britain had a single strategic need and that was to retain a dockyard and coaling station at the Cape at all costs. It was vital for the true jewel in the crown which was India. But the British were really not keen to pay for anything else.

But there was a huge fly in the ointment and that was the Boers. Frere was not the only significant influence in South Africa, another was Shepstone. Shepstone convinced Frere that the only way that the Transvaal could be brought into an confederation was to annex it. But then of course the British Government became responsible for its defence (more cost). Who were the Boers most concerned about? The Zulu. Boers had encroached on Zulu land more and more and their attitude to the native people left a whole lot to be desired - it was the reason for the Boundary Commission. Shepstone thought he could control Cetshwayo, after all he had crowned him King. Trouble is the Boundary Commission came up with the wrong result for the Boers (three cheers for Anthony Durnford at this point) - hence Frere's and Shepstone's desperation to find an excuse to invade Zululand, in my view largely to appease the Boers and retain a chance of confederation. What would have happened if the invasion hadn't gone ahead is a very good question. The answer depends on how far you want to go with speculation. Disreali's Conservative government would probably have survived - there's a whole load of consequences to that. The Transvaal Boers might have become more demanding and the Transvaal would either have to be garrisoned with large numbers of British troops we could ill afford. Or the first Boer War may just have happened sooner and with a Boer victory even more complete leading, who knows, to an independent rail link from Pretoria to the sea. That would have been a huge threat to British interests at the Cape and our route to India. We would not have let that happen. Or the Zulu may not have put up with much more of the Boer incursions leading to greater attacks on isolated Boer farms to which the British would have had to respond. You could go on.

I'm sure others will have contrary views.

Steve
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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Re: Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand   Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:32 am

Sir Theophilus Shepstone was the one who influenced Frere that the Zulu's were a danger to their borders, consequently the ultimatum was issued. Would the Zulu's have carried on with their incursions over the borders ? Would the Zulu's have invaded Natal ?
If we hadn't invaded would the Boar wars have happened ?
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PostSubject: Re: Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand   Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:37 pm

While it is perfectly possible to regard both colonialism and imperialism as morally wrong (although few would have thought so at the time). I cannot see what the moral objection is to confederation. You might say the UK is now a federation, so is the USA, and Canada has continued to develop the approach laid down in the 19th century.  So for me they are certainly not all the same thing.

The business about exploiting mineral wealth is interesting and to be honest I am not sure what to conclude. It seems to me  that the mineral wealth in South Africa would not have been extracted at all without western technology and expertise. At the same time, it could not have been done without a huge workforce of workers who, without doubt, were exploited terribly. But, as was normal in victorian times,  all this was a business undertaking not a government one. The wealth accrued to companies and individuals like Rhodes, who certainly did their best to exploit the situation locally to their business advantage. But the profits did not go to the British government or the Treasury. I think the strategic imperitive for the British government was the paramount need for a staging post to India and not the mineral wealth. Don't forget the British government had no desire to go to war with the Zulu, it was purely locally driven. What government locally really needed (and business interests tended to dominate) was a stable situation and an available workforce. Frere, Shepstone and Chelmsford got that horribly wrong.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Frere' s decision to give the go ahead to invade Zululand   Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:08 pm

As no one else is joining in lets agree to disagree.

Steve
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