The Story of Rhodesia/Kingdom of Zimbabwe
The Kingdom of Zimbabwe was a medieval kingdom that existed from 1220-1450. Archeologists suggest it was first established by settlers from the Kingdom of Mapungubwe. They brought with them artistic traditions,some of the only found in Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe.
The centre of the Kingdom was its capital - Great Zimbabwe. It was located near Lake Mutirikwe. The capital was constructed in the 11th century, and continued to be expanded until the 15th century. At it’s peak, it spanned an area of 1780 acres (7.2 square kilometres or 2.78 square mile) and housed 18,000 people.
Great Zimbabwe’s most famous structure, commonly referred to as “The Great Enclosure” (picture above), has walls the height of 11 m (36 ft) extending approximately 250 m (820 ft), making it the largest ancient structures in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Kingdom of Zimbabwe controlled the gold & ivory trade from the interior to the southeastern coast of Africa. They used a network that linked to Kilwa in present-day Tanzania. Archeologists have found Glass Beads from Persia, porcelain from China, and coins from Arabia. Artefacts like these are evidence of wider international trade of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe.
At around 1430 AD, Prince Nyatsimba Mutota of Great Zimbabwe founded the Kingdom of Mutapa and established a new royal dynasty. Mutapa started overshadowing The Kingdom of Zimbabwe. This was due to political instability in Zimbabwe, famine, and the exhaustion of Zimbabwe’s mines. By 1450, most of the kingdom had been abandoned. The Shona people where divided into kingdoms - the Kingdom of Mutapa ruling the north, and the Kingdom of Butua ruling the south.