History Monday: Rozwi Empire (c. 1684- 1889)

This History Monday will mark the beginning of a new series. An examination of the Rozwi (Rozvi) Empire

Rozwi, also spelled Rozvi, former Karanga empire in southern Africa. The empire was probably established by Changamire Dombo I (1684–95), who conquered some of the most fertile and mineral-rich areas and drove the Portuguese from their marketplaces in the Zambezi River valley in the 1690s. The changamire was one of the most powerful rulers in 18th-century south-central Africa. The exact relationship of the changamire to the Matapa empire and other kingdoms in southern Africa has been the subject of much conjecture but is unknown.

The area of the Rozwi confederacy fluctuated, and its influence extended over much of present-day Zimbabwe and perhaps westward into Botswana and southward into northeastern South Africa. Its nuclear sites in southwestern Zimbabwe are characterized by distinctive band and panel polychrome pottery and stone buildings. The kingdom disintegrated in the early 19th century.

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