colony coast miles natives country south durban found cape native
NATAL, a British colony on the south-east coast of Africa, situated nearly between 29° and 31° S. lat. and 29° and 32° E. long., is bounded on the N.E. by Zululand and the Transvaal, on the S.E. by the Indian Ocean, on the N.W. by the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, and on the S.W. by Basutoland, Griqualand East, and the country of the Pondas. It is of an irregular diamond shape, with a length of about 270 miles from north to south, and a breadth of 170 miles from east to west. The extent of sea-coast is about 150 miles, and its area is about 17,000 square miles, or 11,000,000 acres (one-third of the size of England).
For several miles northward from the Bluff at Durban the coast is low, but well wooded, and broken in several places by the mouths of rivers and streams; to the south of the Bluff it is of moderate elevation near the sea, the hills rising inland to a considerable height. Rich in verdure, and in the wet season clothed with bright green grass and clumps of trees and bushes, and diversified by numerous streams, the landscape indicates a country of great fertility of soil. From the coast to the western boundary of the colony the land rises by terraces or plateaus to an elevation of at least 4000 feet above the sea-level. For about 15 miles inland it is broken and hilly, and thickly covered with long grass, and in some parts studded with jungly bush and clumps of palm, euphorbia, and mimosa. For some 30 miles farther inland the more elevated but less broken land loses all tropical character, and presents large tracts of good pasturage, but with scarcely any bush or wood. Beyond this district, at an ever-increasing elevation, the country, still hilly and undulating, opens out in many places into more extensive grass plains, generally denuded of bush or wood, although in some localities and in the " kloofs " with a south-eastern aspect are dense clumps of forest trees netted over in many instances with ferns ; the western boundary of these rising lands is the Drakensberg mountain-range, which has an altitude of some 3000 or 4000 feet above the country at its base, and an absolute maximum altitude of 10,350 feet above sea-level. Apart from the Drakensberg range, the country, though hilly and much broken, has no mountains of note ; many large hills, however, with flattened tops (table mountains) stand out singularly high above the surrounding country, presenting a peculiar appearance to one unaccustomed to South-African scenery.
The colony is well watered throughout, but none of the streams are navigable, and all have bars at their entrances; attempts are being made to form harbours at the mouths of the Umkomanzi and the Umzimkulu to the south of Durban. The Umgeni, about 12 miles from Pietermaritzburg, has a sheer fall of about 360 feet, and when it is flooded the rush of its waters is a magnificent spectacle. The harbour or port of Natal at Durban (strictly D'Urban), the only natural one in the colony, consists of an outer bay or roadstead, which has a fair anchorage, and an inner bay; at the entrance of the latter is a deepwater channel, where ships of large tonnage can be safely moored, but a sand bar at its entrance restricts the passage of large ships to the highest tides, and in rough weather renders communication with the outer bay quite impracticable. This bar varies constantly throfighout the year, and probably is influenced by the Ag,ulhas stream and other oceanic currents. Much money has been spent on works for the removal of the bar, without any good result, but other plans are now being adopted, with every hope of success. When this obstacle is removed Natal will possess one of the best harbours on the south-east coast of Africa.
Climate. - The summer or hot rainy season lasts from October to March inclusive, and the six remaining months form the winter or cold dry season. The following are the average temperatures for the three hottest and three coldest months of the year, taken from observations at Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Byrne extending over ten years: - Highest. Lowest. Mean.
December, January, and February - _ 97.5 53.3 71.2 June, July, and August 83.4 31'9 56•7 In the summer months cloudy afternoons with thunderstorms are frequent, and the accompanying rains are very cool and refreshing. Within 30 miles of the coast fires in dwellings are seldom required throughout the coldest months of the year. The rainfall averages 33.50 inches ; it is heaviest in the summer months, but in June and July it frequently happens that there is no rain at all over a large portion of the colony. From July to December the upper districts are occasionally subject to hot winds, during which all vegetation droops as if dying, and languor and depression affect all animal life; but these seldom reach to within 20 miles of the coast. Violent hailstorms are not frequent, but hailstones have occasionally killed fowls, dogs, and goats, and in some instances have cut through iron roofing.
Geology. - Along the coast belt there are evidences of comparatively recent upheaval. The high land of the colony rests on granite, trap, and sandstone, the last of the Old Silurian type. Sandstone of a more recent epoch, well suited for building purposes, is sometimes met with. As a rule these fundamental rocks are found under thick beds of shale, the surface being of the most varied description, and never of the same quality over any very extensive area. The soil on the coast is mostly sandy loam, except where the valleys have alluvial deposits from disintegrated shales and erupted rocks. In the uplands the deep light, heavy black, and fine red loains are distributed over beds of clay, ironstone, or granite in areas of varying extent. Ironstone is to be met with in great quantities. Coal of several qualities exists in the Klip River county, with seams varying from 4 to 10 feet in thickness ; analysis and experiment have shown it to be very suitable for locomotive and general steam purposes. Some descriptions of it are well suited for gas, and nearly all of it will make good household coal. The area of the available coal-field is some 1350 square miles, and at a moderate computation the mines contain 2,000,000,000 tons of serviceable coal. In association with these seams of coal very valuable iron ore has been discovered. Vast deposits of fine white and yellow crystalline marbles have recently been found about 6 miles inland from the mouth of the Umzirnkulu river. Slight indications of copper have been met with. In the extreme north are some mineral springs which have a temperature of about 130° Fahr., and are considered to possess medicinal qualities.
Flora. - The chief forms of plants peculiar to Natal are the liane and mimosa along the coast, and the orchid, aloe, pothos, liliaceous, and fern forms in the upland districts. The heaths and proteads common at the Cape of Good Hope are seldom if ever found in Natal, but almost any varieties of the flora of semi-tropical and temperate countries that are introduced attain perfection. The indigenous timber trees, mostly found in isolated clumps and in somewhat inaccessible situations, are principally the yellow wood (Podocarpus elongatus), sneezewood (Pteroxylon utile), stinksvood (Oreodaphne bid/cart), black ironwood (Oka laurifolia), white ironwood (Vepris lanceolata), and the mangrove (Rhizophora) ; all are very useful woods, and the yellow wood, sneezewood, stinkwood, and ironwood when polished have grain and colour equal to maple, walnut, and ebony. The "rooibesje," red pear, and milkwood trees are used for boatbuilding. The Australian Eucalyptus and Casuarina in great variety, and many other imported trees, including syringas, wattles, acacias, willows, pines, cypress, cork, and oak all thrive when properly planted and protected from grass fires.
Pauna. - The herds of elephants which roamed in the coast bushes in 1837 have disappeared, and the roar of the lion is no longer to be heard in the uplands. The hippopotamus is very scarce, and nearly all, if not all, the buffalo and quagga have crossed over into Zululand. Leopards or tigers and tiger cats (all called by the natives " ingwe "), and hyaenas and wild dogs (Canis pictus) of different species, are still found in or about bush jungles and forest clumps ; elands (Antilope orcas) are preserved on some estates, and there are at least ten distinct species of antelope. Ant-eaters (Oryctcropus capensis), porcupines, rock rabbits, hares, and cane rats are common in different localities. Baboons (Cynocephalus perearius) and monkeys of different kinds frequent the mountains and rocky kloofs and bush and timber lands. The birds of Natal are of many species ; some have beautiful plumage, but none of them, with the exception of the canary, are to be considered as songsters. The crocodile is to be found at the mouths of all rivers, and for a certain distance inland from the sea. Of snakes there are about forty distinct species or varieties. The most dreaded by the natives are called imamba," of which there are at least eight different kinds ; these snakes elevate and throw themselves forward, and have been known to pursue a horseman. One sort of imamba, named by the natives " indhlondhlo," is crested, and its body is of a bright flame colour. The sluggish puff-adder (Clotho arietans) is common and very dangerous. A hooded snake (Naja hxmaehates), the " inifezi" of the natives, is dangerous, and spits or ejects its poison ; and besides this there are a few other varieties of the cobra species. The largest of the serpent tribe, however, is the python (Hortulia natafensis), called " iuhlwati " by the natives; its usual haunts are by streams amongst rocky boulders and in jungles, and instances are recorded of its strangling and crushing adult natives. Insects abound in great numbers, the most troublesome and destructive being the tick (Ixodes natalensis), which infests the pasturage, and the white ant (Termes mordax). Occasionally vast armies of caterpillars make a sudden appearance and advance over large tracts of country, devouring all vegetation in their line of march. The fish moth, a steel-grey slimy active fish-shaped insect, is found in every house, and is very destructive in the wardrobe and library. Fish of excellent quality and in great quantities abound on the coast. Prawns, crayfish, and oysters are also obtainable, and turtle (Chelonia mydas) are frequently captured. Little attention, however, has been given to deep-sea fishing, and the only fishermen are the coolies, who use nets along the beach. The natives (Zulus) as a rule will not touch fish. Freshwater scale-fish are mostly full of bones, but fine eels and barbel are plentiful in the rivers.
Agriculture. - The chief crop is maize, known in South Africa as " meallies," its grain constituting the principal food of about seven-eighths of the population. Maize, indeed, and Kaffre corn (Sorghum Caffrorum), with pumpkins and sweet potatoes (Convolvulus Batatas), " imphee" or "imfi" (Sorghum saccharatum), and tobacco are about the only crops raised by the natives. The European farmers in the uplands, by irrigating the land in the winter months, produce wheat of very fair quality, but not in sufficient quantity to supply the demands of the colony. Oats, barley, and other grains grow readily ; and nearly all European vegetables yield fair crops in suitable localities. Arrowroot succeeds well on the coast, and is an article of export. Some years ago coffee and cotton had the attention of the planter, but both are now neglected. Rice has been cultivated by some farmers, but not to any great extent. Tobacco flourishes luxuriantly wherever there is good soil, but the difficulties in the way of curing and manufacturing it prevent its being at present an article of export. The cultivation and manufacture of sugar have attracted most attention of late ; sugar, indeed, with its products is the principal staple produced in and exported from Natal. The capsicum for cayenne pepper, and ground-nuts (Arachis hypogaca) for oil, are also grown for exportation. Tea has been cultivated of late by some few planters on the coast, and promises ere long to be grown on a much larger scale. There are but few indigenous fruits, the principal being the Natal orange (a species of Strychnos), the Natal plum or " amatungula " (Arduinia grandiflora), the Kei apple (Aberia caffra), Cape gooseberry (Physalis pubescens), and the Kaffre fig, the fruit of the Urostigma natalensis. Many subtropical fruits, however, and fruits of European culture thrive well in Natal.
Stock. - Previous to 1855 large and numerous herds of cattle pas- tured over the whole country, but in that year "lung-sickness,, an epidemic of the nature of pleuro-pneumonia, broke out with great virulence, and scarcely 4 per cent. of the animals attacked recovered. Lung-sickness and "red water" still claim many victims annually, and are the constant dread of the stock farmer. "Horse sickness," a form of anthrax, is very fatal to horses, especially in wet summers. The following figures give approximately the number of the several kinds of stock belonging to Europeans and natives respectively in 1880: - The cattle consist principally of the Zulu, Africander, and Fatherland breeds, but recently some English shorthorns and other improved stock have been introduced. Ostriches also are farmed for the sake of their feathers, but as yet this industry has not succeeded so well in Natal as in the Cape Colony.
Commerce. - The staple productions of Natal have increased with the introduction of the sugar-cane, and sugar and rum are the principal articles of native produce exported. Wool, arrowroot, and feathers are also the outcome of local industry, but the exports of greatest value and importance are the wool and hides of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, and feathers, ivory, and skins from the interior, which are shipped at Durban. The value of Natal sugar produced iu 1856 was stated at £483, and in 1881 at £172,237. The principal imports in 1882 (total value £2,213,538) were clothing, cotton and woollen goods, haberdashery, leather manufactures, iron and ironmongery, spirits, oilman's stores, and flour, and the chief exports (£731,809) were wool, sugar, hides, ostrich feathers, and Angora hair, - by far the greater part of the imports (£1,784,345) and exports (£595,744) being received from and shipped for the United Kingdom.
Revenue and Expenditure. - The increase in the revenue and expenditure in thirty years is shown as follows : - The revenue is principally derived from customs duties, native hut taxes, transfer dues on land sales, and excise. The public debt of the colony on the 31st December 1882 was £2,101,500, with a sinking fund towards its redemption of £153,597.
Roads and Telegraphs. - Until very recently all goods and produce were conveyed in ox-waggons carrying from 3 to 5 tons weight. These had to travel on roads sometimes little better than tracks worn by traffic, and frequently impassable during wet weather ; and for some years before the breaking out of the Zulu War (1879) the average cost of carriage was as high as eighteen-pence per ton per mile. Now, however, three lines of railway have been opened, - one of 78 miles from the port at Durban to Pietermaritzburg, another from Durban 20 miles north to Verulam through the sugar lands in that district, and a third 7 miles southward to the sugar estates by the Isipingo river. These alone haie cost the colony about £1,250,000. An additional line, of 118 miles, to cost about £1,180,000, is in process of construction from Pietermaritzburg to Ladysmith, and will no doubt be at once carried on to connect with the railways of the Orange Free State. The telegraph between Natal and the Cape Colony was opened in 1878, and in the following year telegraphic communication by way of Lorenzo Marques was extended to England. Branches of telegraph are also carried direct from Natal into the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
Government. - The colony was annexed as a district to the Cape Colony in August 1845, but in November of the same year it was made a separate government, to be administered by a lieutenant-governor under the general control of the governor of the Cape Colony. At first the lieutenant-governor and an assistant council of four chief officials formed the executive, while the legislative council consisted of the lieutenant-governor and three principal officers. In 1856 Natal became wholly independent of the Cape, and the legislative council was made to consist of sixteen members, twelve elective and four non-elective. In 1869 the lieutenant-governor was empowered to nominate two elective members of the legislative council as members of the executive council. In 1873 the number of members was increased to twenty, fifteen being elective and five non-elective, and in 1875 eight nominee members were added. The colony is now administered by a governor, the promotion from lieutenant-governor being made 28th January 1882 ; and by law No. 1, 1883, the legislative council consists of thirty members, twenty-three of whom are elective and seven non-elective, two of the latter holding office during the royal pleasure. The executive council has been further increased by two nominees not officers of the Government. The qualification for voters is the possession of freehold property worth £50, the occupation of property at an annual rental of £10, or an income of £96 per annum after three years' colonial residence. All voters are legally eligible as members. Boroughs or towns having 1000 inhabitants or upwards can form themselves into corporations for the supervision of their own municipal affairs, and townships or villages under certain conditions can frame local bye-laws.
Law and Justice. - The Roman-Dutch law by special enactment prevails within the colony, in addition to which are a number of ordinances and laws enacted by the local legislature, mostly founded upon imperial statute law. The law of evidence is the same as that of the courts of England. It has not been thought practicable as yet to bring the native population under the same laws as govern the colonists of European descent ; but in 1848 the natives had their own laws confirmed by letters patent, except so far as these might be repugnant to the general principles of humanity as recognized throughout the civilized world ; and they were codified and reduced into writing in 1878. Crimes amongst natives, with some few exceptions, are, however, tried by the ordinary courts. Special laws also have been passed for the benefit of the coolie immigrants. The administration of justice is conducted by a supreme court, and by the courts of the resident magistrates. The three judges of the supreme court, one of whom is chief-justice, sit in Pietermaritzburg in banco every alternate month, and during the other months circuit courts are held at Durban and in other towns. There is a vice-admiralty court, of which the chief-justice of the supreme court is judge and commissary. In addition to these are courts for the adjudication of cases under native law with right of appeal to the native high court, which sits under its own special judge assisted by assessors if need be ; and from this high court appeal can be had to a court of which the chief-justice of the colony, the secretary for native affairs, and the judge of the native high court are judges. An appeal lies from all inferior courts to the supreme court, and in suits where the subject-matter in dispute is of the value of £500 an appeal can be had from any final judgment of the supreme court to the privy council.
Education and Religion. - In 1861 there were two collegiate institutions endowed in Natal, the one for Pietermaritzburg and the other for Durban, but little more was done as regards education until the education laws came into force in 1878, when a council of education was created to administer funds voted by the legislative council for scholastic purposes and to control all matters connected with the establishment and working of the public schools of the colony. Most of the religious bodies have good schools in their several parishes or districts ; and public libraries and other literary institutions are to be found not only in Pietermaritzburg and Durban but in the principal towns and villages. Natal was erected into a see in 1853, with its cathedral in Pietermaritzburg. Proceedings were taken against Bishop Colenso (who died June 20, 1883) on certain charges of heresy, and judgment given against him by the South-African bishops in 1863 ; and this led eventually to the formation of a separate see in the colony. On the 25th January 1869 the bishop of Maritzburg was consecrated at Cape Town ; he is a suffragan of the bishop of Cape Town, and has his cathedral church also in Pietermaritzburg. The Wesleyan Church has a very strong staff of clergy and local preachers in the colony, whilst the Congregational Church, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Roman Catholic Church are all represented. At the stations of the Berlin, Free Church of Scotland, American Zulu, Hanoverian, Norwegian, and Trappist missions, great efforts are made to evangelize and train the natives and coolies.
Population. - The total population is about 380,000, of whom about 30,000 are whites, 20,000 Indian coolies, and 330,000 natives, mostly descendants of early refugees from Zululand. Of the white population about one-fifth are of Dutch extraction, and are chiefly resident in the Umvoti, 1Veenen, Klip River, and Newcastle divisions. Most of the coolies are located on the coast lands amongst the planters, who without their assistance would find all field and manufacturing operations impossible, as the natives cannot be depended on for continuous or skilled work.
History. - The country was discovered by Vasco da Gama, who sighted the Bluff headland at the entrance to the bay forming the present port at Durban on Christmas Day in 1497, and so named the country Terra Natalis. From that date little is recorded until the survivors of the crew of the Dutch ship " Stavenisse," wrecked on the coast in 1686, gave their report of the country and its inhabitants. In 1721 the Dutch formed a settlement, hut it was soon abandoned. Subsequently, about 1810, it would seem that Chaka, chief of the Amazulu, swept with his warriors through the whole of Natal and the adjoining territories, destroying all males, and making booty of the cattle and women. One tribe, the Amatuli, however, after offering resistance to the invader, retreated into the dense bush near the Bluff and were amongst the few aborigines when the British took possession of the country. In 1824 Lieutenant Farewell and about twenty companions landed in Natal with the view of colonizing it, and for that purpose entered into a treaty with Chaka. Some four years after their arrival, however, Chaka was murdered by his brother Dingaan, and the settlement was broken up. In 1835 another British officer, Captain Allen Gardner, got permission from Dingaan to introduce missionaries into the country, and at once formed the township of Durban, at the port where there were still a few English settlers. In 1837 several Dutch farmers made an exodus from the Cape Colony, and one of their leaders, Pieter Retief, with the assistance of the Rev. Mr Owen, who had been for some time a resident missionary at Dingaan's own head kraal, obtained from Dingaan a cession of the whole territory of Natal. Immediately after the conclusion of the treaty Retief and his followers were treacherously murdered, and the attempt was made to extirpate the Boers throughout the length and breadth of the land. The latter with their firearms eventually proved more than a match for their numerous assailants, and joining Mpanda, who had rebelled against his brother Dingaan, utterly routed Dingaan's army on the banks of the:White Umvolozi in 1840, and drove him to the Amaswazi country, where he was shortly after assassinated. Natal became a British colony on 8th August 1843, and, owing no doubt,to the fame of the security and protection to be found under the British flag, large accessions were at once made to the native population by refugees from the several surrounding tribes. Since 1843 the colony has made rapid progress ; the native tribes as a rule have been loyal, and, although occasional reports from Zululand have alarmed the colonists, it has very seldom been found necessary to send out the volunteer forces on commando. Any tendency to insubordination on the part of the resident natives has always been quickly suppressed, and a spirit of disaffection has never become general. In 1879 the colony became the base of operations against the Zulu king Cetywayo, and in 1881 it was for a short time invaded by the Transvaal Boers in connexion with the fighting which arose out of the annexation of the Transvaal in 1877.
Authorities. - Holden, History of Natal; Reports of Grout and Fynn to Native Commission, 1853; Cloete, Lectures, 1856; Shepstone, Historic Sketch of Natal, 1864; Brook, History of Natal, edited by Mann ; Johnston, Health and Disease, Natal, 1860; Harvey and Solider, Flora Capensis; Layard, Birds of South Africa; Smith, Zoology of South Africa ; Drammond, Large Game of South Africa; African Pilot for South and East Coasts of Africa ; Cadiz, Laws of Natal Colenso, The Zulu Tsar; Statham, Boers, Blacks, and British; Bird, Form'tof Government (Natal), 1869; Carter, Narrative of the Boer War. (J. IV. T.)