Northern KwaZulu-Natal saw a great many bloody conflicts during the 1800s. Today, the ‘battlefields region’ tourism route attracts those with an interest in military history.
The area around Escourt was the scene of several major battles in the 1838 conflict between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus, culminating in the Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838.
At Isandlwana, a British force was defeated by 24,000 Zulus in January 1879.
At Rorke’s Drift, a day later, about 100 British soldiers defended themselves for 12 hours against an attack by 4,000 Zulu warriors.
The Newcastle and Glencoe areas were the scenes of several fierce battles between the Boers and the British during the Transvaal war of independence, 1880-1881. Famous sites include Lang’s Nek, Fort Mistake, and Majuba.
Dundee, Glencoe, Ladysmith and Colenso saw a number of battles in the South African war of 1899-1902, which resulted in Britain establishing itself as the colonial power over what would become the Union of South Africa.