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This book traces the social and political history of the peoples of early precolonial southeastern Africa, including the regions of modern KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, southern Mozambique from Maputo Bay southwards, and Lesotho. The emergence of well-known southern African kingdoms such as those of the AmaZulu, AmaSwazi, and BaSotho in the early nineteenth century was the culmination of centuries of social and political developments, during which political control was consolidated in the ruling descent lines of small-scale chiefdoms. Providing the first comprehensive scholarly use of recorded oral traditions from southeastern Africa, Eldredge's work chronicles the factors propelling this consolidation and the emergence of chiefdoms and kingdoms. Elizabeth A. Eldredge is the author of The Creation of the Zulu Kingdom, 1815-1828: War, Shaka, and the Consolidation of Power (2014), Power in Colonial Africa: Conflict and Discourse in Lesotho, 1870-1960 (2007), and A South African Kingdom: The Pursuit of Security in Nineteenth-Century Lesotho (2002).