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A civilization in Civilization Revolution 2
|Begin the game with||Overrun combat advantage|
The Zulu were never more than one unremarkable small Southern African tribe among many - until the coming of the great warrior Shaka Zulu, who was born sometime around 1787. Once in power Shaka instituted something of a military revolution among the Zulus, replacing the traditional "assegai" (a javelin-like throwing spear) with a shorter stabbing spear called the "lklwa." He also equipped his warriors with a larger shield which covered most of the soldier's body.
Under Shaka's command, the Zulu warriors would close to melee range with their opponents, where their shorter stabbing spears were more effective than the opposition's throwing weapons. Shaka also taught his warriors to fight in a new tactical formation known as the "buffalo horns." In this formation the center of the Zulu line would engage the enemy to hold them in position, while the right and left "horns" would move forward and envelop the enemy. Outflanked on right and left and equipped with inferior weapons, few enemies could stand up to the Zulu assault.
Within a decade, Shaka had accumulated an army of 50,000 warriors, defeated all of the surrounding tribes, and was master over most of the interior of what is now South Africa. Shaka set up a new capital for the Zulu at Bulaweyo, but his arrogance and cruelty caused dissatisfaction among his people. In 1828 Shaka was assassinated by his half-brothers.
It was into this picture of chaos and violence that the European settlers first began appearing onto the scene in the 1830s. The first European settlement in the Zululand region was the English colony of Port Natal (modern Durban). An English missionary went to live with the Zulu in 1837, and was tolerated by Shaka's successor, King Dingane. However, at the same time a group of Boer settlers known as the "Voortrekkers" (or pioneers) were moving north across the Orange River into the now-empty lands which had been vacated by tribes fleeing the Zulu. Dingane had given the Voortrekkers permission to settle in the area, but in 1838 - either as the result of a misunderstanding or because Dingane had planned it from the start - the Zulus attacked the newcomers.
This proved to be a huge mistake. At the Battle of Blood River, the Zulus vastly outnumbered their opposition, having 10,000 warriors fighting 400 Boers. Despite the odds, however, the Boers slaughtered their opponents, their firearms giving them an overwhelming advantage against their spear-wielding opponents. The Zulus were forced to allow the white men to settle in their territory, which became known as the Republic of Utrecht.
Following the battle, there was a generation of uneasy peace between the Zulus and the growing British and Boer presence in the region. However, after the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa in 1878, the British declared war and invaded Zululand on three fronts.
The Zulu warriors fought bravely (and much to the Europeans' shock managed to slaughter a British force at Isandlwana), but the British rifles and Maxim guns made the ferocity of individual Zulu warriors irrelevant, and the outcome of the war was never in doubt. The Zulu were defeated and Zululand was incorporated into British South Africa. The Zulus spent the next century under British and Afrikaner domination, forced to live under the racist apartheid laws of South Africa.
Following the fall of apartheid in the 1990s, however, today Zulus, the largest ethnic group in South Africa, enjoy full citizenship rights in their homeland.
AmaZulu, another name for the Zulu nation, means "people of heaven."
The Zulu language, isiZulu, is the most widely spoken in South Africa, the country where most modern Zulus live.