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22nd July 2005History IB internal assement: Events of Rourkes Drift
By Erol
Hi there! I am currently an IB student going into his final year. Unfortunatley my summer has been spent trying to write essays for my various subjects that accumulate to 20% of my total grade in each subject. This is where I thought you guys might be of help!

I have decided to write an essay on the "Evants of Rourkes Drift". I plan to talk about tactical implications because it was most definatley a victory in a military perspective. Then there was the propaganda victory due to the outcome.

Anyway! I am stuck with finding good primamry sources and was wondering if anyone could be of help.

22nd July 2005Michael Boyle

Before anyone else jumps on this, first check the top of this page for the proper spelling and punctuation and lest someone say there was no "Evants" at RD, change the "a" to an "e".

Then perhaps check out a copy of the "Red Book" and "The 1879 Zulu War Through the Eyes of the Illustrated London News" both by Lock and Quantrill (available for sale here in the 'shop' section as well) for contemporary newspaper accounts and published official despatches. "Rorke's Drift By Those Who Were There" by Jones and Stevenson would be a good starting place for further research as it also contains a comprehensive bibliography. Good luck.


22nd July 2005Erol
Sincere apologies for the spelling mistake! Thanks for the starting points! However, I have just purchased a book "nothing remains but to fight" by Ian Knight. It seems like this book is good.

In the mean time I have focused my research question to whether or not RD did prevent an invasion of Helpmekaar, Umsinga, Sand Spruit, Newcastlenot? (I still have to come up with a clearer and concise title though). Nevertheless, It seem Like Mr. Knight doesn't think so from what I have read already.

Thanks again!
22nd July 2005Michael Boyle
Good choice, Knight's book is credited as being one of the best. As for 'saving Natal', that has been discussed here a few times but it may be a difficult site search.

Contemporary newspaper accounts certainly credit the defence with saving Natal, but subsequent information of course has seemed to belie that for good reason. One should remember though that at the time there was much colonial opinion that held that the Natal Zulus would rise in revolt if King Cetshwayo managed a victory against Lord Chelmsford's forces (shades of the Indian Mutiny) and things did get quite confused after the disaster at Isandlwana with many expecting the Zulus to follow up their victory.

Check out "A Zulu King Speaks" for more information.
22nd July 2005Erol
Thanks for the source.

However, I was wondering if there are any websites that I could source the newspaper accounts from and perhaps use them as references in my essay?

Thanks for all your help it's greatly appreciated.
22nd July 2005Michael Boyle
Sorry, the only websites I'm aware of are subscription services which would quickly run you up quite a tab. Your best bet would be to find a library with a copy of the "Red Book" (for Natal papers' accounts) or "...Through the Eyes..." (for the ILN). There's also a visit to the National Archives or Newspaper Archives (the name of which escapes me at present).
23rd July 2005Edward Bear
Get off your idel butt, and get on with the necessary work.
23rd July 2005Paul Cubbin
Erol, if I may chuck my dirty copper penny into the sparkling fountain of knowledge (even though I am an 'esteemed historian' of great fame, as we all know), I would recommend you don't be afraid of coming to your own conclusions. You are in a fortunate position in that 'What if's?' are pure fantasy and guesswork. Everybody has their opinion, but as long as you clearly state how the evidence has influenced you and take a balanced view of all the information you are using, you really can't go wrong. Would the Zulus have flattened Natal? Maybe. Would they have turned and headed for home? Maybe. Would Chelmsford have torn open his shirt to reveal an 'S' on his chest..etc.. Just have fun with it. There's nothing wrong with agreeing with an expert, but neither is there anything wrong with disagreeing.
24th July 2005Trevor
Only "experts" on this subject, died of old age or on the battlefield well over 100 years ago.
Don't see this as a "true science" But alot of the guys on this site are good guessers. (If there's such a word"
They use snippits of information, and form educated guesses. They're very good at it, and i love the debates. Which i admit, some of the time go straight over my head.
Erol. If these comments don't bring a s--t storm down on me. I don't know what will?
Good luck with the essay mate. Be controversal. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!