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|Battle of Blood River|
|Part of the Great Trek|
Entrance to the Battle of Blood River Monument in Kwazulu-Natal
|Commanders and leaders|
|464 Pioneers + 200 servants
|12,000–21,000 men (not recorded)|
|Casualties and losses|
|3 wounded||3,000+ dead|
The Battle of Blood River (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers ("Pioneers"), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated 15,000–21,000 Zulu attackers on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to 3,000 of king Dingane's soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Pioneers commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius himself.
In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River in January 1840, Prince Mpande finally defeated King Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe and was subsequently crowned as new king of the Zulu by his alliance partner Andries Pretorius. After these two battles, Dingane's prime minister and commander in both the Battle of Maqongqe and the Battle of Blood River, General Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane for high treason. General Ndlela had been the personal protector of Prince Mpande, who after the Battles of Blood River and Maqongqe, became king and founder of the Zulu.
The Trekkers—called Voortrekkers after 1880—had to defend themselves after the betrayal murder of chief Trekker leader Piet Retief, his entire entourage, and some of their women and children living in temporary wagon encampments during 1838.
Dingane had agreed that, if Retief could recover approximately 700 head of cattle stolen from the Zulus by the Tlokwa, he would let them have land upon which to establish farms.
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