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The Creation of the Zulu Kingdom, 1815–1828
War, Shaka, and the Consolidation of Power

  • Date Published: February 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107428027


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About the Authors
  • This scholarly account traces the emergence of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa in the early nineteenth century, under the rule of the ambitious and iconic King Shaka. In contrast to recent literary analyses of myths of Shaka, this book uses the richness of Zulu oral traditions and a comprehensive body of written sources to provide a compelling narrative and analysis of the events and people of the era of Shaka's rule. The oral traditions portray Shaka as rewarding courage and loyalty, and punishing failure; as ordering the targeted killing of his own subjects, both warriors and civilians, to ensure compliance to his rule; and as arrogant and shrewd, but kind to the poor and the mentally disabled. The rich and diverse oral traditions, transmitted from generation to generation, reveal the important roles and fates of men and women, royal and subject, from the perspectives of those who experienced Shaka's rule and the dramatic emergence of the Zulu Kingdom.

    • The first history of this subject based on a comprehensive use of both written and oral evidence
    • Constructs a careful narrative of events and identifies the roles of individuals in the creation of the Zulu Kingdom
    • Provides complex and nuanced assessments of the characters of both Africans and Europeans involved in the events narrated
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107428027
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.563kg
    • contains: 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Political history in precolonial Africa: the case of the AmaZulu Kingdom
    2. Powerful chiefs before Shaka
    3. Shaka's early life: oral traditions, tales, and history
    4. Shaka as warrior
    5. AmaZulu expansion and repercussions: early conflicts and migrations
    6. Chiefs, chiefdoms, violence, and political reconfiguration
    7. Challenges and consolidation, 1824–7
    8. Royal women: authority and subservience
    9. Zulu voices, Zulu meanings: ancestors, praises, and history
    10. Shaka's rule: social configuration and social control
    11. Shaka's ambitions
    12. The legacy of Shaka's reign
    Appendix: James Stuart interviewees.

  • Author

    Elizabeth A. Eldredge
    Elizabeth A. Eldredge is an independent scholar. She has published A South African Kingdom: The Pursuit of Security in Nineteenth-Century Lesotho (Cambridge, 1993) and Power in Colonial Africa: Conflict and Discourse in Lesotho, 1870–1960 (2007).

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