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Heroic Failure and the British$
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Stephanie Barczewski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300180060

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300180060.001.0001

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The ‘Last Stand’

The ‘Last Stand’

(p.131) Chapter Five The ‘Last Stand’
Heroic Failure and the British

Stephanie Barczewski

Yale University Press

This chapter examines three examples of the ‘last stands’ in late nineteenth-century British military history: the 24th Foot at Isandlwana in 1879, the 66th Foot at Maiwand in 1880 and the Shangani Patrol during the First Matabele War in 1893. It begins with a discussion of the Matabele Wars pitting the Ndebele people vs. Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company, citing the conflicts as a prime example of how the British army and its auxiliary colonial forces became the main instruments of Britain's rapid imperial expansion in the late nineteenth century. It then considers the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Maiwand in more detail, with particular emphasis on the efforts that were made to erase the trauma of a devastating defeat by emphasizing the heroism of the men who fought.

Keywords:   last stands, Shangani Patrol, Matabele Wars, Ndebele, British South Africa Company, British army, imperial expansion, Battle of Isandlwana, Battle of Maiwand, heroism

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