April 27, 2013
The Great Zimbabwe
There are many great African kingdoms in history that have been documented throughout time. Most of them we don’t know very much about unless we take an Africa history course such as this one because African history is left out of the “mainstream” history books. The Great Zimbabwe is one of the kingdoms that caught my attention in this course. Modern Zimbabwe is named after the enclosures that were made of stone known as “Great Zimbabwe”. These stone ruins were abandoned more than 500 years ago. Their origins began between 1200 and 1450 by the Later Iron Age ancestors of the Shona of the modern republic. (Shillington, p 154). Great Zimbabwe was the capital or center of a large and thriving early Shona state. The word Zimbabwe comes from the Shona dzimba dzamabwe meaning ‘stone buildings’. The Great Zimbabwe stone buildings is a monument built from granite which is the parent rock of the region. The method used to build the stone walls of the Great Zimbabwe was dry stone walling, it demanded a high level of masonry skill. The stone wall is actually 20 meters high; inside there are passageways along with enclosures. Reaching from four to 17 feet thick, Great Zimbabwe's walls are about twice as high as they are wide. This results in a very sturdy structure, which ranges its weight evenly over the ground and alters well to settling. It is said by archaeologists that whites did not build the Great Zimbabwe, blacks did.
Cattle were important to the early Zimbabwean economy, here at the Great Zimbabwe was a wide variety of upland and lowland grazing. Gold was also a part of the wealth in the Great Zimbabwe. Many mines were found to the west of the Great Zimbabwe, about 40 kilometers away. The rise of the Great Zimbabwe overlapped with the rise of Kilwa. The Great Zimbabwe also supplied the Swahili of Kilwa with the gold and ivory that made theirs the richest coastal town...
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