The Kingdom of Zimbabwe

Related Articles

Related Articles

The Kingdom of Zimbabwe was a medieval kingdom of 150 tributaries that existed from 1220-1450 CE in modern day Zimbabwe.

Archaeological remains suggest that the Zimbabwe plateau was first established by settlers from the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in Southern Africa around the 11th century.

They brought with them the artistic and stonemasonry traditions which are visible in the archaeological and cultural evidence today.

 

Great Zimbabwe

The Kingdom was centred on the capital, Great Zimbabwe, located near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo.

The capital was constructed in the 11th century during the late Iron Age and continued to be expanded up until the 15th century. Spanning an area of 1780 acres at the Kingdoms height, Great Zimbabwe would have housed up to 18,000 inhabitants.

Hill Complex – Great Zimbabwe – Image Credit: Fanny Schertzer

Great Zimbabwe – Image Credit: amanderson2

Sacred enclosure – Great Zimbabwe – Image Credit: Fanny Schertzer

Great Zimbabwe’s most formidable edifice, commonly referred to as the “Great Enclosure” has walls as high as 11 m (36 ft) extending approximately 250 m (820 ft), making it the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara Desert.

The kingdom controlled the ivory and gold trade from the interior to the southeastern coast of Africa on a network that linked to Kilwa in present-day Tanzania.

Glass beads from Persia, porcelain from China and coins from Arabia are just some of the artefacts uncovered by archaeologists at Great Zimbabwe and evident of the wider international trade of the Kingdom.

Only in recent times has Great Zimbabwe been attributed to the native African peoples, as studies of the monument by academics were subject to political pressure by the government of Rhodesia (former name for the country of Zimbabwe) to disconnect the monuments true African heritage.

Decline

Around 1430 CE, Prince Nyatsimba Mutota of Great Zimbabwe founded the new Kingdom of Mutapa and established his own royal dynasty.

Mutapa grew to eclipse its neighbour, partly due to the internal political instability, famine and the exhaustion of gold mines within Zimbabwe’s territories.

By 1450, the capital and most of the kingdom had been abandoned that resulted in a fragmenting of proto-Shona power between the Kingdom of Mutapa governing the former kingdom’s northern region, and the Kingdom of Butua governing the south.

Header Image – Great Zimbabwe – Image Credit : Janice Bell

 

 

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

The Varangian Guard – When Vikings Served the Eastern Roman Empire

The Varangian Guard was an elite unit that served as the personal bodyguards for the emperors of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire).

Walking, Talking and Showing Off – a History of Roman Gardens

In ancient Rome, you could tell a lot about a person from the look of their garden. Ancient gardens were spaces used for many activities, such as dining, intellectual practice, and religious rituals.

Curious Kids: How did the First Person Evolve?

We know humans haven’t always been around. After all, we wouldn’t have survived alongside meat-eating dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex.

Ring-like Structure on Ganymede May Have Been Caused by a Violent Impact

Researchers from Kobe University and the National Institute of Technology, Oshima College have conducted a detailed reanalysis of image data from Voyager 1, 2 and Galileo spacecraft in order to investigate the orientation and distribution of the ancient tectonic troughs found on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

Tracing Evolution From Embryo to Baby Star

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) took a census of stellar eggs in the constellation Taurus and revealed their evolution state.

“Woodhenge” Discovered in the Iberian Peninsula

Archaeologists conducting research in the Perdigões complex in the Évora district of the Iberian Peninsula has uncovered a “Woodhenge” monument.

New Fossil Discovery Shows How Ancient ‘Hell Ants’ Hunted With Headgear

Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Rennes in France have unveiled a stunning 99-million-year-old fossil pristinely preserving an enigmatic insect predator from the Cretaceous Period -- a 'hell ant' (haidomyrmecine) -- as it embraced its unsuspecting final victim, an extinct relative of the cockroach known as Caputoraptor elegans.

New Algorithm Suggests That Early Humans and Related Species Interbred Early and Often

A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor.

Popular stories

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.