Matabele Wars

Matabele Wars
(1893–1894, 1896–1897)
   Two short conflicts between indigenous African and British forces, initially caused by the migration of the Matabele people into Southern Rhodesia just as the British South Africa Company became an important presence there. Originally a branch of the Zulu, the Matabele people under Moselekatse refused to pay tribute to Shaka and were forced by punitive Zulu attacks against them to flee to the Orange Free State and Transvaal where they made raids on the Bantu, but in 1836, they suffered defeat at the hands of the Boers. Moselekatse then took the Matabele north of the Limpopo River and made raids against the local Mashona. In 1893, the British South Africa Company insisted that these raids be stopped and sent an expedition against the Matabele when the raids persisted. A force of 1,200 volunteers led by Leander Starr Jameson and armed with Maxim guns in-flicted terrifying defeats on the Matabele at Shangani River and Imbembese. By February 1894, most of the Matabele had surrendered. In March 1896, the Matabele revolted and inflicted heavy losses on isolated settlers and their families.
   Regular British troops were sent to put down the rising, which spread to include the Mashona. The Matabele finally laid down their arms in October 1897 in response to British military pressure and a conciliatory diplomatic approach by Cecil Rhodes who promised attention to the Matabele grievances. A much harsher line was adopted with the Mashona, and several of their religious leaders were executed.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    Glass, Stafford. The Matabele War. Harlow: Longmans, 1968;
    Laing, D. Tyrie. The Matabele Rebellion, 1896. London: Dean & Son, 1897;
    Mason, Philip. The Birth of a Dilemma: The Conquest and Settlement of Rhodesia. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982;
    Ranger, Terence. Revolt in Southern Rhodesia, 1896–97. London: Heinemann, 1967.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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