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|Regions with significant populations|
|South Africa||10,659,309 (2001 census)
(many also speak English, Portuguese, Afrikaans and Xhosa)
|Christianity, Zulu religion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Nguni, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, other Bantu peoples|
The Zulu (Zulu: amaZulu) are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated 10–11 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
The Zulu were originally a major clan in what is today Northern KwaZulu-Natal, founded ca. 1709 by Zulu kaMalandela. In the Nguni languages, iZulu means heaven, or weather. At that time, the area was occupied by many large Nguni communities and clans (also called isizwe=nation, people or isibongo=clan or family name). Nguni communities had migrated down Africa's east coast over centuries, as part of the Bantu migrations probably arriving in what is now South Africa in about the 9th century.
The Zulu formed a powerful state in 1818 under the leader Shaka. Shaka, as the Zulu King, gained a large amount of power over the tribe. As commander in the army of the powerful Mthethwa Empire, he became leader of his mentor Dingiswayo's paramouncy and united what was once a confederation of tribes into an imposing empire under Zulu hegemony.
On 11 December 1878, agents of the British delivered an ultimatum to 11 chiefs representing Cetshwayo. The terms forced upon Cetshwayo required him to disband his army and accept British authority. Cetshwayo refused, and war followed January 12, 1879. During the war, the Zulus defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January. The British managed to get the upper hand after the Battle at Rorke's Drift, and subsequently win the war with the Zulu being defeated at the Battle of Ulundi on 4 July.
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