a British colony, and noted seat of an Angli. can bishopric, is situated on the south-east coast of Africa, about 800 miles east-north-east of the Cape of Good Hope, between the 29th and 31st parallels of south latitude. Its north-eastern boundary is the Tugela, or Buffalo River, which divides it from Zululand, and its southwestern boundary is the Umzimculu, separating it from Kaffraria proper. A lofty and rugged range of mountains, called the Quathlamba, or Drakenberg, divides it from the Free State and Basutuland, and it contains a well-defined area of about 16,145 square miles, according to the British parliamentary accounts of 1872, with a population of 250,352, of whom 17,821 are whites, and 5227 Indian coolies, the remainder being natives of the soil, called Zulus, or Zulu- Kaffirs, SEE KAFFIRS, remnants of the different tribes which originally occupied the territory, but by persecution and warfare were dispersed, and only came together again since the British occupation of Natal.
History. — The region now forming the colony of Natal derives its name (Natalis Jesu) from its being discovered by the Portuguese on Christmas- day, 1497. It was visited and favorably reported upon towards the close of the 17th century, and later by Dampier, Woods Rogers, and several Dutch navigators. Subsequently a Dutch expedition purchased the territory from some native chiefs. Its colonization was not fairly projected, however, until about 1822, when it was visited by several white traders from the Cape, who found the country in possession of the Zulu chief Chaka, who ruled in a most sanguinary manner over all the tribes, from the Umzimculu to the St. Lucia River. He was killed and succeeded by his brother Dingaan in 1838; but the latter having treacherously murdered a party of emigrant Dutch Boers, who had paid him a friendly visit by invitation to buy land, he was attacked and finally destroyed by the Boers, who at that time had emigrated from Cape Colony in large numbers, and who made his brother Panda paramount chief in his stead, and then settled themselves down in the country as his lords and masters. The British government, however, now interfered; and after a severe struggle on the part of the Boers, the country was formally proclaimed a British colony on May 12, 1843, since which time it has progressed very satisfactorily, and bids fair to become one of the most valuable dependencies of the British crown on the African continent. Natal is governed by a lieutenant-governor, nominally subordinate to, although really independent of, the governor of th6 Cape, and has recently received a constitution somewhat similar to that of Cape Colony. Municipal institutions have been granted to the principal towns.
Climate, etc. — The coast region, extending about twenty-five miles inland, is highly fertile, and has a climate almost tropical, though perfectly healthy. Sugar, coffee, indigo, arrow-root, ginger, tobacco, and cotton thrive amazingly, and the pine-apple ripens in the open air with very little cultivation. The midland terrace is more fit for the cereals and usual European crops, while on the higher plateau, along the foot of the mountains, are immense tracts of the finest pasturage for cattle and sheep. Coal, copper, iron, and other minerals are found in several places; and there is no doubt when the great mountain-range is properly explored that it will be found very rich in mineral wealth. Since the discovery of diamonds near the Vaal River, large and valuable gems of this class have been exported through Natal. The climate is very salubrious; the thermometer ranges between 900 and 380, but the heat, even in summer, is seldom oppressive. The mean temperature at Pietermaritzburg, the capital, is 3.5° above that of Cape Town. The winter begins in April and ends in September; the average number of rainy days being thirteen. In the summer season the thunder-storms are very frequent and severe. The annual rainfall on the coast is about thirty-two inches. Inland, it varies a good deal in different districts, and is greatest in summer. The southeast is the prevailing wind here in the summer months, as in Cape Colony. Occasionally the sirocco from the north-west is felt, which generally terminates in a thunder- storm.
The natives of Natal, belonging to the same ethnological family as the Kaffirs, are split up into numerous petty tribes, each tribe having a chief of its own, who, however, is amenable to British authority. Constant jealousies and animosities exist among these tribes, and nothing but fear of the British government prevents them from destroying each other. The greater part of the natives in this colony dwell on locations assigned them by government, and over each location is placed a white magistrate, to keep order, to collect the annual tax, which is seven shillings per hut, settle their numerous disputes, etc. When cases presented by the natives are not satisfactorily settled by the magistrates, they have the privilege of appealing to the lieutenantgovernor of the colony. These Zulus of Natal are a pastoral people, and disinclined to agricultural pursuits, yet under the influence of the British they have extensively engaged in them, and are fast developing the resources of the country. They are trusted by the Europeans, and even favored, except by the Boers.
Evangelization. — Much has been done for the civilization of the natives of Natal. As early as 1835 missionaries of the American Board for Foreign Missions commenced to preach Christ to them, but the severe persecutions which all Europeans suffered until the British made Natal a colonial possession prevented all successful propagation of the Christian faith for a long time. After the colonial establishment of Natal the Wesleyans went out in force, and greatly promoted the work inaugurated by the American Missionary Society agents, who continued their labors with renewed vigor, and to this day remain in that field. In 1845 the Norwegian Missionary Society sent her missionaries to this territory, amd in 1847 Berlin missionaries augmented the already strong force of Christian workers. Another German missionary society, that of Hermannsburg, in Hanover, sent helpers in 1854, and soon found several stations wherein to preach Christ. Still more recently missions in Natal were founded by the Anglican establishment, through the agency of the now world-renowned rationalist, bishop Colenso, in 1853. His efforts secured much interest for Natal, and caused it to be made a diocese, and he himself became its superintendent in 1855. His departure from the orthodox faith caused his removal; but he still continues his interest in colonial missionary labors, however inconsistent his efforts for the propagation of the Christian faith may seem with his avowed theory of Scripture interpretation. Very recently the Missionary Society of the Reformed Church of Holland has established several stations, and it is also meeting with much success in spreading Christianity among the Zulus. The American mission, which is served chiefly by Presby. terian and Congregational ministers, in 1870 maintained nineteen stations and out-stations, with twelve churches, and about five hundred native members. The Roman Catholics also labor in Natal in force, and maintain a bishopric. Aside from conversions which have been effected, the natives are not only benefited, at least indirectly, in their morals, but their mental cultivation has been greatly improved. Schools are numerous and well patronized. In 1870 there were seventy-nine schools sustained by the British colonial government, with an average attendance of 1797 pupils, besides a large number of excellent schools maintained by the missionaries in different parts of the country, prominent among which are the American mission schools in the coast range, and those of the Church of England, of the Wesleyans, and of the Free-Church of Scotland. The colonial schools are under the control of a superintendent of education, and Natal. it is said by those who are competent eye-witnesses, boasts a superior school system. See Mann, The Colony of Natal (Lond. 1860); Muire, The British Col. of Natal (1869); Grout, Zululand, or Life among the Zulu-Kaffirs of Natal and Zululand (Phila. 1865, 12mo), especially valuable on mission work up to 1860; Chapman, Travels in the Interior of South Africa (Lond. 1868, 2 volumes, 8vo), volume 1, chapter 1 sq.; Grundemann, Missions Atlas, part 1, § 15; Newcomb, Cyclop. of Missions, s.v.; The Quarterly Review (London), volume 58, art. 1.