History and heritage
South African history: the discovery of diamonds
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Natal, and the Battle of IsandhlwanaThe Colony of Natal, however, was developing along somewhat different lines, the size of the Zulu nation assuming threatening proportions to the colonists. Reserves were created under traditional African law for refugees from Zulu might; outside those reserves, British law held sway. As almost all blacks were deemed to fall under the rule of the chiefs in the reserves, almost none had any chance of political rights outside their borders. Economically, Natal had the advantage of being ideal for the cultivation of sugar cane. The consequent labour requirements led to the importation of indentured labourers from India, many of whom – in spite of discrimination – remained in the country after their contracts had expired: the forebears of today's significant and influential Indian population. The late 19th century was an area of aggressive colonial expansion, and the Zulus were bound to come under pressure. But they were not to prove easy pickings. Under King Cetshwayo, they delivered resounding proof at Isandhlwana in 1879 that the British army was not invincible. However, they were defeated in the following year, leading to Zululand eventually being incorporated into Natal in 1897.
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