NATAL, na-till'. A colony of Great Britain on the southeast coast of Africa, bounded by the Transvaal Colony, Portuguese East Africa, the Indian Ocean. Cape Colony, Basutoland, and the Orange River Colony (Map: Transvaal Colony, G 8). Its area, including Zululand and the portion of Transvaal annexed in 1902. is 31,307 square miles.
ToroonAcur. Natal occupies a part of the seaward slope of the great South African plateau, which falls in a series of terraced escarpments running parallel with the coast around the southern cnd of the continent from the mouth of the Orange on the west to that of the Limpopo on the east. The ranges culminate in the Dra kensberg (q.v.), which forms the natural bound ary of the great inland plateau. The average height of the Drakensherg is 9000 feet, and its highest paint in Natal, the Montagne aux Sources, has an altitude of 11,155 feet. Below the last ridge of the escarpment is a low coastal plain which IA widens northward, where it contains n series of large, shallow lagoons. of which the largest is Lake Saint Lucia. 55 miles long and 10 miles wide. Natal is watered by numerous pet•ne rivers of great volume, but, owing to the enormous fall of 8000 to 9000 feet in less than 30u miles. they are all violent mountain torrents falling in a series of cataracts to the sea. The largest is the Tugela.
CiA0 ATE. The warm Alozambique eurrent flowing along the southeast coast of Africa gives off considerable amounts of moisture. which is blown up the mountain slopes, giving the whole of Natal a sifflieient rainfall. The annual precip itation 11 long the coast is about 44 inches, while in the elevated interior it is heavier.
In regard to tetnperatore. Natal presents a series of elimatio zones, from the subtropical coastal region with a mean temperature of 68° to the frigid highland region. Thp former, however, is tempered by ('null southeast storms, and the latter by the hot winds frmn the interior.
Vi.oicA. The th»-a is charaeterized in general by richness and variety. in the eonsguh region we find the tropical enpliorbias, bamboo, eotton, in digo, sugar-cane, coffee, fig, and cocoanut in the middle zone the common European cereals, fruits, and vegetables flourish, while higher up are good pasturedands.
l'ArNA. Nearly all the large wild animals which formerly overran the country han•e disap peared. Snakes :n•e still found near the coast, including the python, the putt-adder, and the venomous cobra.
There are extensive coal meas ures, 'specially around the headstreams of the Tugela, the output being considerable. Iron ore abounds in inany localities, and valuable deposits of argentiferous lead and copper ores, as well as gold, have been found.
Ac ItIMMT 'RE. The interior of the colony is well adapted for agricultural and pastoral pur poses. The total area under cultivation in 1900 was over 600,000 acres. The principal cereal is corn, which constitutes the staple food of the natives. Tea is extensively cultivated, the annual crop exceeding 1,000,000 pounds. Sugar is also increasing in importance, and tropical fruits are cultivated with success. The live stock of the colony consisted in 1900 of 54,485 horses, 349,607 horned cattle, and 586,489 sheep.