HISTORY OF HOWICK
ABOUT
HISTORY
ACCOMMODATION
ARTS & CRAFTS
ATTRACTIONS
BUSINESS
EATING OUT
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HEALTH & BEAUTY
MEDICAL
ORGANISATIONS
PETS & RESCUE
PROPERTY
WEDDINGS
WHAT TO DO
 
MAP
EMERGENCY
CONTACT
 
THE CONCENTRATION
CAMP
NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA THE CONSTRUCTION OF MIDMAR DAM

THE SETTLERS

During the 1840s travellers moving north from Pietermaritzburg crossed the Umgeni River just west of present day Howick at the Alleman's Drift. In 1849, the Wesleyan Missionary James Archbell bought three farms above the northern bank of the Umgeni River. Title deeds of the original plots simply named the area "The Village on the Umgeni Waterfall".
In 1850, the river crossing was moved to a dangerous although more convenient and easier ford of the river at the top of the Falls, less than 200 metres from where the river plunged over the cliff's edge. It was a treacherous spot, and many wagons and people were swept over the falls in attempting the crossing.
With the increase in traffic to the north, the Government decided to establish a village at the crossing, and purchased part of James Archbell's farm. In November 1850, a proclamation appeared in the Natal Government Gazette, offering 36 village allotments on the Umgeni Waterfall Drift for sale. This marked the beginning of the town. Howick arose as a small post at which a hostelry (whose owner also lost his son over the falls) and blacksmith service was provided for the pioneers.
In choosing a name for the new town, Government officials decided to honour their Secretary of State for the Colonies in London. He was Earl Grey, and had recently acquired the title of Lord Howick. The name derived from his ancestral home of Howick Hall in Northumberland, England. Two other towns were named "Howick" at the same time: one in New Zealand, and the other in Ontario, Canada.
The Howick Falls Hotel was built in 1872 as a major stop off point for Pioneers, Explorers and weary travelers making their way from the coastal town of Durban to the goldfields of the Highveld and beyond. Howick Falls Hotel had a proud history and counted such famous historic icons asMark Twain, Cecil John Rhodes and Paul Kruger amongst its list of past guests. The Hotel is situated in the centre of Howick, in the middle of the Midlands Meander, a stone’s throw from the Howick Falls where the Umgeni river plunges 300ft into the Umgeni Valley.
In 1879 (subsequent to the overwhelming defeat of the British at Isandlwana) a laager wall was built behind the Howick Falls Hotel to protect Howick from imminent Zulu attack (part of the laager wall can still be seen today). The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians.The battle was a decisive victory for the Zulus and caused the defeat of the first British invasion of Zululand.
By the turn of the century, it had established itself as a small resort away from the humidity of the coast.