The Washing of the Spears
The Washing of the Spears is the definitive account of a bloody and tragic story: the rise of the Zulu nation under the great ruler Shaka, and its fall under Cetshwayo in the Zulu War of 1879. For over a century after the European landing at Capetown in the seventeenth century, the Boers advanced unopposed into the vast interior of Africa, encourtering only scattered bands of Hottentots and Bushmen. They met, fought and defeated the Bantu in the Kaffir Wars, but it was not until 1824 that Europeans came face to face with another expanding and imperial power, the Zulus - the most formidable nation in black Africa. That confrontation ignited a prolonged struggle, which culminated in a bitter war, the last despairing effort of Africans to stem the tide of white civilization. The Zulus challenged the might of Victorian England, and armed only with their assegais, their rawhide shields and their incredible courage, they inflicted upon the British the worst defeat a modern army has ever suffered at the hands of savages. The Washing of the Spears is a unique work of scholarship, recording the full sweet and vivid excitement of a decisive factor in the history of Southern Africa.
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