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ISAACS, NATHANIEL:

African traveler; born in England 1808; died after 1840. He left England in 1822 for St. Helena, where his uncle was consul for France and Holland. In 1825 he accompanied Lieut. King, R.N., to the Cape of Good Hope and thence to the east coast of Africa on an expedition to Natal. For seven years he traveled through the Zulu and Fumos countries, besides paying a short visit to the Comoro Islands. The expedition was undertaken for the relief, if necessary, of Farwell and his party and also for commercial and industrial purposes. King and Isaacs found Farwell; had interviews with Chaka, the Zulu king; took the coast natives under their protection; and established fertile farms, which the Zulus afterward laid waste. King died of disease in Natal, and Isaacs was wounded in fighting for King Chaka with his European weapons, which terrified the hostile blacks. In return for his services he was created Chief of Natal and was granted a tract of country from the River Umslutee to the River Umlass, embracing twenty-fivemiles of seacoast and one hundred miles of inland territory, with the exclusive right of trading with the people settled there.

Isaacs afterward traded on the West Coast, and in 1835 petitioned the government against French interference with his commerce at Portendie. He complained of the conduct of two French brigs-of-war toward the English brig "Eliza," trading from Sierra Leone and belonging to G. C. Redman of London, for whom Isaacs was acting as agent and together with whom he was part owner of two merchant vessels.

Isaacs published in 1836 his "Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa," descriptive of the Zulus, with a sketch of Natal. In this work is given for the first time a topographical view of the interior of the colonies through which he passed, and an account of the manners and customs of the natives.

Bibliography:
  • Jew. Chron. July 26, 1895;
  • Isaacs, Travels in Eastern Africa, 1836.
J. G. L.
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