When Cetshwayo became king of the Zulus on 1 September 1873, he created, as was customary, a new capital for the nation, naming it "Ulundi" ("The high place"). On 4 July 1879, in the Battle of Ulundi (the final battle of the Anglo-Zulu War), the British Army captured the royal kraal and razed it to the ground.
In 1980 Ulundi was designated capital of the nonindependent black state of KwaZulu. In 1994 the new province of KwaZulu-Natal was created out of KwaZulu and the former province of Natal. Ulundi was the capital of the new province from 1994 (co-capital status, 1994–95) until 2004 when it was replaced by Pietermaritzburg.