History Monday: Student Commentary of the Kingdom of Mutapa

This History Monday will feature a commentary on the lack of teaching about these ancient kingdoms of Zimbabwe in schools in the country


The Kingdom of Mutapa is one that is not often heard of. Zimbabwe kingdoms are not written about as much in our history books. Instead we learn about the civil war, and french revolution numerous times over the length of our schooling. Unknowingly to us the Kingdoms of Zimbabwe are each as fantastical as the stories we hear of the Europeans. Their biggest difference: there kingdoms lie in a different country. Just the same they rose, flourished economically and took advantage of their resources to help their people rise, and fell.

The Kingdom of Mutapa or any kingdom of Zimbabwe holds a captivating history. This Kingdom was founded in 1425, succeeding the kingdom of the Great Zimbabwe. This kingdom was founded by a royal member from its successor. It stretched from Zimbabwe to the Mozambique coast.The kingdom was of Karanga speaking majority. Like its predecessor the Kingdom made its mark and living off of the trade network.

The Portuguese began settling and setting up trading posts in Zimbabwe in the sixteenth century. They came looking for gold. Zimbabwe was a plentiful source and allowed them to take advantage of the country. The Kingdom of Mutapa is similar to that of the Great Zimbabwe. The Great Zimbabwe is great because of its size. They were a flourishing kingdom who made their living economically. Trading gold with the portuguese helped them become a great and plentiful kingdom. Like Great Zimbabwe the Kingdom of Mutapa traded gold, ivory, and mined iron. The Kingdom of Mutapa was able to rely on trading posts to help their economy and ruled with a type of feudal system. The empire was ruled at capital, provincial, and village levels. They continued their traditional structures made out of stone. The land is continually marked with these magnificent structures today.

All empires no matter how great must all end. This is a repetitive point in history we have made sure to remember. Nothing lasts forever so we must do as much as possible in the time e do have. The Kingdom of Mutapa, however similar to that of Great Zimbabwe, is unique. They built their own empire from the ground up. When turmoil threatened their lives they made themselves stronger. Unfortunately the Portuguese was no match with their soldiers outnumbering the native populations and their advanced weapons. Just like the spanish in America, their greed for gold grew too strong and the Kingdom of Mutapa crumbled in this wake in 1760. The Shona people who lived in this kingdom moved forward just as they have once before and continue to this day to live on.



Stradinger, A. (2013) Kingdom of Mutapa. Available from: http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp264-ss13/2013/04/24/kingdom-of-mutapa/


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