The British, with the imperialistic goal of increasing England's exploitable territory in Africa, set their sights on South Africa. This brought the British Empire into direct confrontation with the Zulu Kingdom. In 1879, the British invaded Zululand and this initiated the Anglo-Zulu War. Eleven days into their invasion the British force had their first major battle with the Zulus, on January 22, 1879 at a place called Isandlwana (Isandhlwana).
The British Army had fought other armies in Africa. They had usually employed guerrilla ambush and hit-and-run tactics. The British expected the same from the Zulus. However, the Zulus had been militarized under the great king Shaka. Everything from training to weaponry had been reformed, all with the goal of dominating enemies in major battles. The British would learn the differences between the Zulus and other foes at Isandwana.
A movie. "Zulu Dawn," gives a look at what transpired. CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH THE FULL MOVIE:
The result of the battle was the greatest defeat of the British Empire by a native army EVER!!! What followed was the failure of Britain's invasion of Zululand, and a retreat by British forces. In future clashes the British Army learned to classify Zulu infantry as "Light Cavalry" due to their speed, stamina, and distances covered when "running" to battle -- STILL BEING READY TO FIGHT UPON ARRIVAL!
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