Between 1838 and 1888 the recently formed Zulu kingdom in southeastern Africa was directly challenged by the incursion of Boer pioneers aggressively seeking new lands on which to set up their independent republics, by English-speaking traders and hunters establishing their neighboring colony, and by imperial Britain intervening in Zulu affairs to safeguard Britain's position as the paramount power in southern Africa
As a result, the Zulu fought to resist Boer invasion in 1838 and British invasion in 1879. The internal strains these wars caused to the fabric of Zulu society resulted in civil wars in 1840, 1856, and 1882-1884, and Zululand itself was repeatedly partitioned between the Boers and British. In 1888, the old order in Zululand attempted a final, unsuccessful uprising against recently imposed British rule. This tangled web of invasions, civil wars, and rebellion is complex. The Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars unravels and elucidates Zulu history during the 50 years between the initial settler threat to the kingdom and its final dismemberment and absorption into the colonial order. A chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, maps, photos, and over 900 cross-referenced dictionary entries that cover the military, politics, society, economics, culture, and key players during the Zulu Wars make this an important reference for everyone from high school students to academics.