Recommended: Africa: Zulu Empire I - Shaka Zulu Becomes King - Extra History (
With no written records from the Zulus themselves, historians and
anthropologists have pieced together their history from a smattering of
sources. We first learn of the Zulu as a minor tribe of the Bantu
people, living in South Africa. Shaka Zulu, the man who would organize
them into an empire, was born the illegitimate son of a Zulu king.

was sent away with his mother Nandi to grow up in her tribe, the
Langeni, but he eventually caught the attention of Dingiswayo, the
leader of another powerful tribe called the Mtethwa. Appointed as the
leader of a squadron called an ibutho, Shaka developed new tactics
including a short "iklwa" fighting spear and a simple but effective
military maneuever called "the Bull Horn.

" When his father died, Shaka -
now a successful military leader - returned with Dingiswayo's backing
to assassinate the rightful heir and assume control of his native tribe.
Just a year later, though, the neighboring Ndwandwe tribe murdered
Dingiswayo and Shaka vowed revenge on their leader, Zwide. He then
launched a bloody war that, combined with the strains created by
European colonization, led to the Mefacane, or the Crushing.

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