The Mutapa Empire Information Sheet

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  • Topic: Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Mutapa, Kingdom of Zimbabwe
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  • Published : March 15, 2011
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Adam Schmuter
December 12, 2008
History D Block
The Mutapa Empire
1. The Mutapa Empire reigned from 1450–1698  
2. The Kingdom of Mutapa stretched throughout the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers of Southern Africa.  3. The capital, Mutapa was located 350 km north of Great Zimbabwe at mount Fura. The capital was built north of the granite outcrops that had supplied Great Zimbabwe and was composed mostly out of clay, wood and thatch. It was surrounded by a wooden wall, in which it would take around an hour to walk around. Inside there were three public enclosures. One was where the mwenemutapa held court. Followed by a separate enclosing where he housed his wives and 3000 courtiers. The last building was designated for bodyguards. 4. Spoken tradition explains that the origins of the Mutapa Empire had officially developed in the beginning of the 15th century, when warrior prince, Nyatsimba Mutota sent to find new sources of salt in the north.   Prince Mutota was successful at finding his salt, near the Tavara, which was a Shona subdivision. They conquered them which had ultimately leaded to the rise of the Mutapa Empire. 5. The people of the Mutapa Empire believed a mighty G-d named Mwari, who they thought created all natural resources. Additionally they believed in the worship of ancestors. Shrines were sustained within the capital by spirit mediums called "mhondoros". 6.  Mutapa’s successor was named Matope. He had greatly extended the kingdom into an immense empire surrounding most of the lands between Tavara and the Indian Ocean. The empire became wealthy through its exploitation of copper and ivory from the middle Zambezi. 7. They traded many goods such as silk, ceramics, glassware, golden and silver bracelets and cotton. 8. By the end of the 1400s many states had broken away from the Mutapa kingdom and started to rule independently. In the latter half of the 16th century, Portuguese forces, had moved in from southern Africa's...
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