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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

Lockdown 16th and 17th October

Dear Fellow Lockdowners,

I shall be teaching tomorrow, Monday, as well as Tuesday this week. The two lectures will be part of the wider South Africa Course.

I shall be looking at the two late 19th century wars that ensured the rise of British South Africa.

On Monday I shall talk about The Anglo-Zulu War where early defeat shook Britain.

The strangest thing is not that the British won in the end - with increased resources and firepower this was inevitable. What perhaps was less likely was the reception given in Britain for Zulu Chief Cetshwayo as well as the present day interest in the war by British military historians, amateur as well as professional, and indeed by the casual British tourist.

Please read the blurb to be sent out by Lockdown in advance of the zoom meeting, as well as the map that will be sent (you could of course download these items if you so choose)

NB A similar blurb and map will be sent out for The Anglo-Boer War talk.

On Tuesday I shall turn to The Anglo-Boer War, whose relevance is obvious in The South Africa of today. This is an unusual Imperial War as it involved two white 'tribes' of settlers, the Dutch and The British. Perhaps the only comparison, and that is a rough one, is with British and French Canada at the time of The 7 Years War in the 18th century.

In British history the war proved a further shock to imperial complacency and with hindsight can be said to mark the beginning of the end of The British Empire, even though, as in The Zulu War, Britain eventually won. Victorian Britain required British heroes and The South African War produced a number, the most significant perhaps being Baden Powell and Winston Churchill. The war also produced the British shame of Concentration Camps, which many opposed at the time. This was no glorious victory for the British, and for the Boer left a burning desire for revenge which was to lead to the horror of Apartheid.

Selected Booklist


The British Empire Ashley Jackson

Empire Jeremy Paxman

Empire Stephrn Howe

The Decline and Fall of The British Empire Piers Brendon

A Cultural History of The British Empire John MacKenzie

History of Africa Magazine style published by All About History

African History Parker & Rathbone

Zulu War

Zulu Magazine style by Key Publishing

Zulu Saul David

The Washing of the Spears Donald Morris

Boer War

The Boer War F/M Lord Carver

Commando Deneys Reitz

The Boer Wars (2) Ian Knight (Osprey)

The Boer War James Barbary (Puffin; do not be put off because it was originally published for children)

NB There are, of course, hundreds of books under all the above headings and you may prefer one not on the list. I have selected those that I have principally relied upon in my presentations.

See you all tomorrow or Tuesday or even much later if you download from Lockdown website.

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