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Bonner, Philip (1977) The rise, consolidation and disintegration of Dlamini power in Swaziland between 1820 and 1889 : a study in the relationship of foreign affairs to internal political development. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Swazi kingdom grew out of the pressures associated with competition for trade and for the rich resources of Shiselweni. While centred on this area it acquired some of its characteristic features - notably a regimental system, and the dominance of a Dlamini aristocracy. Around 1815 the Swazi came under pressure from the South, and were forced to colonise the land lying north of the Lusutfu. Here they remained for some years a nation under arms, as they plundered local peoples, and were themselves swept about by the currents of the Mfecane. In time a more settled administration emerged, as the aristocracy spread out from the royal centres at Ezulwini, and this process accelerated under Mswati as he subdued recalcitrant chiefdoms, and restructured the regiments. Consequently, by the time Mswati died in 1865, Dlamini power was sufficiently entrenched for there to be no serious disturbance, and for a regency to function smoothly for the following decade. Externally the dominant influence was the Zulu, who continually threatened the kingdom's stability. The Swazi were forced by these attacks to look for allies in the Boers, and to make several territorial cessions from 1846. Nevertheless, the relations they established were not markedly unequal, since the Republic were dependent on the Swazi in various ways. Consequently, the Swazi were able to take charge of the lowveld in the north, and by the 1860s reached the pinnacle of their power. The consolidation of the South African Republic following the British annexation, and the discovery of gold, meant that this freedom was gradually lost, and in the 1880s pressure mounted on Swaziland itself. The clearest index of this lies in the country's conquest by concessions, which eventually so eroded the social fabric of the country that a pretext was given for the Republic and Britain to intervene.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
Supervisors Name: Shula Marks
Copyright Statement: Published by ProQuest LLC (2018). Copyright of the Dissertation is held by the Author. All rights reserved.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2020 12:22

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