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December 16th, 1838 - The Battle of Blood River (Ncome)

Conflict: Great Trek

Combatants: Voortrekkers (Boers) vs. Zulus

Location: South Africa

Outcome: Voortrekker victory


Unwilling to submit to British control, around 12,000 Boers migrated north across the Vaal River and into Natal and Zululand, otherwise known as the Great Trek. In Zululand, the Zulu leader Dingane attacked and harassed the unwanted settlers. But in December of 1838, 500 Boers under the leadership of Andreas Pretorius defeated Dingane and 10,000 Zulus at Blood River. Some 3,000 Zulus died in the engagement.

Affaire du Dimanche (16 décembre 1838) by Adulphe Delegorgue


Points of Interest:

  • The victory at Blood River was celebrated as a national holiday until the of Apartheid.

  • Dingane would be overthrown in 1840 by his brother who had allied with the Boers.


Dingane in Ordinary and Dancing Dresses (1836) by Allen Francis Gardiner





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