Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontier

Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontier : Fort Napier and the British Imperial Garrison

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Small and isolated in the Colony of Natal, Fort Napier was long treated like a temporary outpost of the expanding British Empire. Yet British troops manned this South African garrison for over seventy years. Tasked with protecting colonists, the fort became even more significant as an influence on, and reference point for, settler society. Graham Dominy's Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontier reveals the unexamined but pivotal role of Fort Napier in the peacetime public dramas of the colony. Its triumphalist colonial-themed pageantry belied colonists's worries about their own vulnerability. As Dominy shows, the cultural, political, and economic methods used by the garrison compensated for this perceived weakness. Settler elites married their daughters to soldiers to create and preserve an English-speaking oligarchy. At the same time, garrison troops formed the backbone of a consumer market that allowed colonists to form banking and property interests that consolidated their control.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 30.48mm | 680.39g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 025204004X
  • 9780252040047
  • 1,274,153

Review quote

"A noteworthy addition to South African historiography and well worth reading."--Victorian Military Society

"Dominy has done a wonderful job of examining the history of a garrison, a people, a colony, and an imperial idea."--American Historical Review "Dominy's readable and eclectic study represents an important step forward in both military and imperial historiography; he provides an enhanced and nuanced look at the means of imperial conquest that goes far beyond more traditional emphases on worn-out themes such as technological superiority and strategic planning. . . . Ultimately, the great value of Dominy's study is its ability to highlight the importance of local actors in shaping the imperial experience."--Journal of Military History

"[An] outstanding contribution to our historiography."--Pretoria News Truly places Fort Napier's history within several broader contexts--the settlement of Natal, the response of the indigenous inhabitants, the relationships between 'British' and other settlers, the wider history of the British army in the period, and the novel involvement of women protesting against the British advance. This is far from a narrow 'red coat' history.--Peter Stanley, author of White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India

"Dominy's book provides an intimate and indispensable portrait of a colonial society; and one that laid the template for today's South Africa."--The Witness
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About Graham Dominy

Graham Dominy is a Research Fellow of the University of South Africa, former National Archivist of South Africa, and former editor of Natalia: Journal of the Natal Society .
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