Natal, a British colony in S. E. Africa, N. E. of Cape Colony, from which it is separated by Caffraria along the coast. It lies between lat, 27° 30' and 31° 30' S., and lon. 28° 30' and 32° E., and is bounded N. E. by the Buffalo and Great Tugela rivers, beyond which is the Zooloo country, S. E. by the Indian ocean, S. and S. W. by Caffraria, and W. and N. W. by the Drakenberg range, with the Orange River Free State on the opposite slope; length about 250 m., breadth between the sea and the mountains 150 m.; coast line 170 m. long; area, according to the British parliamentary accounts of 1872, 16,145 sq. m.; pop. 250,352. In 18G9 the number of whites was 17,821, and of Indian coolies introduced as agricultural laborers 5,227, but the native Zooloos make up the bulk of the population. Many of the 16 districts into which the colony is divided have been but partially explored. Pietermaritzburg, the capital, in lat. 29° 35' S., lon. 30° 20' E. (pop. in 1869, 6,192), and D'Urban, the colonial port, about 50 m. distant (pop. 5,708), are the principal towns; while villages of various sizes are scattered over the colony.

D'Urban is situated upon the coast, on the N. side of Port Natal, a circular basin about 10 m. in circumference, communicating with the sea by a narrow channel. This is the only harbor of any importance, and efforts have recently been made to improve it. The country rises from the coast in a series of terraces to an elevation of between 3,000 and 4,000 ft., at the base of the Drakenberg, and presents many varieties of climate, soil, and scenery. Along the Indian ocean is a belt of undulating or hilly land about 25 in. broad, producing sugar, coffee, cotton, tobacco, and many other tropical plants together with the mulberry, olive, vine, oats, beans, potatoes, and Indian corn, and diversified with occasional tracts of forest. Succeeding this belt is a higher tract displaying the productions of a temperate climate; still further inland is a fine grazing district, and back of this a succession of hills extending to the foot of the Drakenberg division of the Quatlamba mountains, which rises abruptly like a wall to a height of 8,000 ft. above the sea. and nearly 4,0i>0 ft. above the country at its base, and over which there are but two practicable passes. Several offshoots of this range approach the coast. The climate is exceedingly pleasant and healthful.

In the neighborhood of the coast the weather is warm, the average temperature being about 74u in summer and 03" in winter; but in the elevated districts it is much cooler. The rainy season continues from March to the end of September, during which violent thunder storms are frequent. The grazing country produces abundant crops of wheat, oats, and other cereals of the temperate regions, and excellent apples, pears, walnuts, peaches, apricots, and nectarines. From the coast upward the whole is well watered by numerous streams and several considerable rivers, none of which are navigable. All the rivers are low in the dry season, but become full in a few hours in rainy weather, and rush down like torrents. Along the coast the soil is sandy, with masses of volcanic rocks and sandstone interspersed. The high lands are composed of stratified sandstone, with a vein of granite running in a N. E. direction; and the soil is mostly a friable loam. The coast line, extending from high-water mark 5 or 10 in. inland, has proved to be well adapted to the cultivation of cotton, which has been raised in the colony since 18G6, and now forms an important article of export.

But little definite scientific knowledge yet exists as to the mineral resources of Natal. Coal deposits of good quality are said to exist in the Tugela valley; iron ore occurs in many places; copper has been discovered; beds of limestone are known to exist; and small quantities of gold have been obtained in the vicinity of D'Urhan. The number of the larger wild animals in the colony is diminishing. The elephant is met with in the remote forest districts, and the hippopotamus frequents some of stern rivers. The fauna also includes the leopard. hvaena, buffalo, eland, several other varieties of antelope, the crocodile, and a num-snakes, some of which are venomous. - -Ihe native Zooloo population, belonging to the Same ethnological family as the Caffres area pastoral people and disinclined to agricultural pursuits, in which however, under Europuan influence, they have extensively engaged. They are remarkable for their honesty and peaceable disposition. In 1871 the total number of acres under crops and grass was 175,355, of which 106,300 were devoted to the growth of maize.

Of sugar, which is one of the principal products, 7,661 tons, valued at £150,430, were exported in the crop season of 1870-71, as against 857 tons, valued at £21,286, in that of 18G0-'61. In 1870 there were 1,014,210 lbs. of coffee raised, while the product for 1869 amounted only to 4,058 lbs. Sheep are raised in large numbers, and the value of the wool exported exceeds that of any other article, amounting to £140,597 for 4,814,710 lbs. in the first nine months of 1871. The total value of the exports in 1870 was £382,979, comprising the following principal articles in the order of value: wool, raw sugar, hides, ivory, butter, ostrich feathers, arrowroot, cured meat, raw cotton, and grain. The imports for the same year were valued at £429,527, and included cotton, woollen, and leather manufactures, ironmongery, flour and meal, coffee, rice, and linen. Since the discovery of diamonds near the Vaal river, large numbers of these gems have been exported through Natal; but it has proved difficult to ascertain the aggregate value, as many of them are carried away without any declaration to the authorities.

In 1870 the value of the diamonds exported through the D'Urban custom house was £9,615; in the first 10 months of 1871 it was £32,056. Exclusive of coasters, the tonnage of vessels entered at the ports of Natal in 1870 was 23,881, and of those cleared 24.005. - In 1870 there were 79 schools sustained wholly or partially by the government, with an average attendance of 1,797 pupils. Of these, 4 were classed as government schools, including high schools at Pietermaritzburg and D'Urban, 65 as aided schools, and 10 as itinerant schools. The school system is under the control of a superintendent of education. Excellent schools are also maintained by missionaries in various parts of the country, prominent among which are the American mission schools in the coast range, and those of the church of England and of the Wesleyan church. At Pietermaritzburg there is a central training school belonging to the Free church of Scotland. The colony was made a diocese of the Anglican church in 1853, and is also the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop.

The American mission is composed chiefly of Presbyterian and Congregational ministers; in 1870 it maintained 19 stations and out stations, with 12 churches, having about 500 native members. - In the government of Natal, the crown retains the right to veto colonial legislation, and the public officers remain under the control of the home government. The executive authority is vested in a lieutenant governor, who is assisted by an executive council of 8 and a legislative council of 16 members. The colonial secretary, the treasurer, the attorney general, and the secretary for native affairs belong ex officio to both. The 12 additional members of the legislative council are representatives from the counties and boroughs, elected by voters possessing freehold property worth £50, or occupying house or land at a rent of £10 a year; all voters are eligible to membership. Two of these representatives, designated by the lieutenant governor, together with the chief justice and the senior officer in command of the troops, constitute the four additional members of the executive council. The judicial system comprises a supreme court with three justices, sitting at Pietermaritzburg, and local courts and magistrates in the several counties.

In 1871 the revenue, derived from customs, land sales, stamps, a native hut tax, and other sources, amounted to £180,498, and the expenditure to £132,978. There is a public debt of £263,-000. The military expenses, with the exception of about £4,000 per annum, are borne by Great Britain; they were £39,188 in 1869, of which the colony provided £4,272, besides expending £1,061 for its volunteer forces. There is telegraphic communication between D'Urban and the capital, and a project for the construction of 345 m. of railway has been approved by the government. - The Portuguese discovered the coast of Natal on Christmas day, 1497, and named it in honor of the day. It was visited and favorably reported upon, toward the close of the 17th century and later, by Dampier, Woodes Rogers, and several Dutch navigators. Subsequently a Dutch expedition purchased the territory from some native chiefs. Its actual colonization, however, was not projected till 1823. In that year Mr. Thomson, a merchant of Cape Town, and Lieuts. Farewell and King of the English navy, in the course of a trading voyage to the E. coast of Africa, put into Natal harbor.

In 1824 Lieut. Farewell, having visited it again, obtained from the chief of the Zooloos, who had conquered the country, a grant of land around Port Natal, where he hoisted the British flag and took possession. In 1834, in consequence of an application to the governor of the Cape of Good Hope from the Zooloo chief for a white settlement to be formed at Natal, a few emigrants proceeded from that colony. In 1835 the American missionaries commenced operations in the territory; but nothing was done on a large scale till about 1837, when the Dutch farmers who were dissatisfied with the British rule in the Cape Colony ascended to the sources of the Orange river, and found their way across the Quatlamba mountains under the leadership of Pieter Retief, who became engaged in a contest with the chief of the Zooloos and was slain, together with many of his followers. The remainder, led by Andries Willem Preto-rius, defeated the Zooloo chief in the following year, and founded Pietermaritzburg with a view to make it the capital of their settlement, which they called the republic of Natal, delegating the necessary powers of government to a council of 24 with a president at their head. The men capable of bearing arms were enrolled as militia subject to the council.

When the English government, in 1845, declared the British sovereignty to extend over Natal, and sent a military expedition to take possession of the country, after some resistance the more resolute of the emigrants, under Pretorius, abandoned the territory. Natal remained subordinate to the government of Cape Colony till 1856, when it was constituted a separate and distinct colony. In 1873 a conflict with the Ama-Hlubi tribe, numbering about 10,000, charged with the illegal possession of unregistered firearms, resulted in the killing of about 200 of them, the transportation of as many more, including their chief Lan-galibalele, and the outlawry of the whole tribe.