commissary. In native cases the chiefs have civil jurisdiction in disputes among their own tribesmen and criminal jurisdiction over natives except in capital cases, offences against the person or property of non-natives, pretended witchcraft, cases arising out of marriages by Christian rites, &c. An appeal lies to a magistrates' court from every judgment of a native chief, and from the magistrates' judgment on such appeal to a native high court. This native high court consists of a judge-president and two other judges, and sits in full court at Maritzburg not less than three months and at Eshowe not less than once in the year. There is no jury in this tribunal and single judges may hold circuit courts. With certain exceptions reserved for the provincial court (such as insolvency, ownership of immovable property and divorce), the native high court exercises jurisdiction when all parties to the suit are natives; it also has jurisdiction when the complainant is not a native, but all other parties to the suit are natives.
Religion. — The majority of the white inhabitants are Protestants, the bodies with the largest number of adherents being the Anglicans, Dutch Reformed Church, Presbyterians and Wesleyans. The Anglicans are divided into two parties — those belonging to “the Church of the Province of South Africa,” the body in communion with the Church of England, and those who act independently and constitute “the Church of England in Natal.” The schism arose out of the alleged heterodox views of Bishop Colenso (q.v.), who had been created bishop of Natal by letters patent in 1853. In 1863 the metropolitan of Cape Town, as head of the Church of the Province of South Africa, excommunicated Dr Colenso and consecrated a rival bishop for Natal, who took the title of bishop of Pietermaritzburg. Dr Colenso, who obtained a decision of the privy council confirming his claim to be bishop of Natal and possessor of the temporalities attached to the bishopric, died in 1883. After his death those members of the Anglican community who objected to the constitution of the provincial church maintained their organization while the temporalities were placed in the hands of curators. Reunion in spiritual matters has, however, been practically effected. Moreover, an act of the Natal parliament passed in 1909 placed the temporalities into commission in the persons of the bishop and other trustees of the Natal diocese of the Provincial Church; reservations being made in favour of four congregations at that time unwilling to unite with the main body of churchmen. At the census of 1904 the Anglicans numbered 40,880. The Presbyterians numbered 12,184, the Wesleyan Methodists 11,992, the Dutch Reformed Church 11,340, the Lutherans 4852, and the Baptists 2193. The Roman Catholics, at whose head is a vicar-apostolic, numbered 10,419. All these figures are exclusive of natives, of whom the churches named — notably the Anglicans and Wesleyans — have many converts. The Jewish community in 1904 numbered 1496. Of the Asiatics, 87,234 were classed as Hindus and 10,111 as Mahommedans.
Education. — Education other than elementary is controlled by the Union government. Public schools, and private schools aided by provincial grants provide elementary education for white children. Education is neither compulsory nor free; but the fees are low (1s. to 5s. a month) and few children are kept away from school. There are government secondary and art schools at Durban and Maritzburg, and a Technical Institute at Durban. For higher education provision was made by the affiliation of Natal to the Cape of Good Hope University and by exhibitions tenable at English universities. An act of the Natal legislature, passed December 1909, provided for the establishment at Maritzburg of the Natal University College, the course of studies to be such as from time to time prescribed by the Cape University. In 1910 £30,000 was voted for the University College buildings. State aid and inspection is given to private schools for natives. In the native schools — almost all maintained by Christian missions — Zulu and English are taught, the subjects taken being usually reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography and history. The state provides elementary and higher grade schools for Indian children. In 1908 there were 52 government schools and 472 schools under inspection; 304 European, 21 coloured, 168 native and 31 Indian, with an aggregate attendance of 30,598 scholars. There are in addition many private and denominational schools and colleges not receiving state aid. Of these, two of the best known are Hilton College and Hermansberg College, many prominent Natalians having been educated at one or the other of these establishments. To encourage the instruction of children who by reason of distance cannot attend a government or government-aided school, grants-in-aid are made for each pupil attending farm schools.
The Press. — The first newspaper in Natal was the Natalier, a Dutch print published at Maritzburg; it was succeeded by the Patriot. The first English paper was the Natal Witness, started in 1845 and still one of the leading organs of public opinion. In 1851 the Natal Times appeared, and is now continued as the Times of Natal. Another leading paper, the Natal Mercury, dates from 1852. It is a morning newspaper and is issued at Durban. The Natal Advertizer is a Durban evening paper. Sir John Robinson, the first premier of Natal under responsible government, was the editor of the Mercury from 1860 until he became prime minister in 1893. In 1886 a new Dutch paper, De Afrikaner, was started at Maritzburg. The Kaffirs have their own organ, Ipipa lo Hlunga (the paper of grievances), issued at Maritzburg, and the Asiatics, Indian Opinion, a weekly paper started in 1903 and printed in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil. Local papers are published weekly at Ladysmith, Dundee and Greytown. The Agricultural Journal, a government publication issued fortnightly, is of great service in the promotion of agricultural knowledge.
Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India sighted the bluff at the entrance to the bay now forming the harbour of Durban Discovery and early history.on Christmas Day 1497 and named the country Terra Natalis. Da Gama made no landing here and, like the rest of South Africa, Natal was neglected by the Portuguese, whose nearest settlement was at Delagoa Bay. In 1576 Manuel de Mesquita Perestrello, commanded by King Sebastian to explore the coast of South Africa and report on suitable harbours, made a rough chart, even then of little use to navigators, which is of value as exhibiting the most that was known of the country by its discoverers before the advent of their Dutch rivals, who established themselves at Cape Town in 1652. Perestrello states that Natal has no ports but otherwise he gives a fairly accurate description of the country — noting particularly the abundance of animals and the density of the population. The first detailed accounts of the country were received from shipwrecked mariners. In 1683 the English ship “Johanna” went ashore near Delagoa Bay and the crew made a remarkable journey overland to Cape Town, passing through Natal, where they were kindly received by the natives. About the same time (in 1684) an English ship put into Port Natal (as the bay came to be known) and purchased ivory from the natives, who, however, refused to deal in slaves. In May 1685 another English ship the “Good Hope” was wrecked in crossing the bar at Port Natal and in February 1686 the “Stavenisse,” a Dutch East Indiaman, was wrecked a little farther south. Survivors of both vessels lived for nearly a year at Port Natal and there built a boat in which they made the voyage to Cape Town in twelve days. They brought with them 3 tons of ivory. This fact and their reports of the immense herds of elephants which roamed the bush led Simon van der Stell, then governor at Cape Town to despatch (1689) the ship “Noord” to Port Natal, with instructions to her commander to open up a trade in ivory and to acquire possession of the bay. From the chief of the Amatuli tribe, who inhabited the adjacent district, the bay was “purchased” for about £50 worth of goods. No settlement was then made and in 1705 the son of the chief repudiated the bargain. In 1721 the Cape government did form a settlement at the bay, but it was soon afterwards abandoned. Thereafter for nearly a hundred years Natal was again neglected by white men. A ship now and again put into the bay, but the dangerous bar at its entrance militated against its frequent use. When in 1824 the next attempt was made by Europeans to form a settlement at the bay, Cape Colony had passed from the Dutch into the possession of Great Britain, while in Natal great changes had come over the land as a result of wars between the natives.
From the records of the 17th and 18th centuries it is apparent that the people then inhabiting Natal were Bantu-negroes of the Kaffir (Ama Xosa) branch. There is no mention of Hottentots, and the few Bushmen who dwelt in the upper regions by the Drakensberg did not come into contact with Europeans. The sailors of the “Stavenisse” reported the most numerous and most powerful tribe to be the Abambo, while that which came most in contact with the whites was the Amatuli, as it occupied a considerable part of the coast-land. These Kaffirs appear to have been more given to agriculture and more peaceful than their neighbours in Kaffraria and Cape Colony. But the quiet of the country was destroyed by the inroads of Chaka, the chief of the Zulus (see Zululand). Chaka between 1818 and 1820 ravaged the whole of what is now known as Natal, and after beating his foes in battle, butchered the women, children and old men, incorporating the young men in his impis. The population was greatly reduced and large areas left without a single
- For a summary of the Natal church controversy see The Guardian (London, March 11, 1910).