Monday 11 December 2023

The Kingdom Of Rozwi

The kingdom of Rozwi existed from the 17th century AD (c. 1684) to the late 19th century AD (c. 1866). The name of the Kingdom Rozvi comes from the Shona word meaning “to plunder” (kurozva) and was established by Changamire Dombo I#. It was ruled by a monarchy and was bordered by various neighboring groups, including the Munhumutapa Empire (also known as the Mutapa kingdom) to the North, the Kalanga people to the South, and the Tonga people to the West. It had an estimated population of around 1 million[1]. It covered an area of approximately 624,000 square kilometers (equivalent to 240,000 square miles)[3]. Its main currency was primarily based on trade and barter.

While the government had a monopoly on gold mining, production and trading, the empire and its people also traded in cattle, ivory, copper, agricultural and animal products, guns, salt, beads, and sea shells. They protected their trade routes using spears, shields, bows and arrows. 

A contemporary sovereign state was the Mutapa Empire, which had a population of approximately 2 million people and covered an area of 500,000 square kilometers. Modern descendants of the Rozwi Empire may now live in present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. The language of exchange of this kingdom was primarily Shona, with around 7 million people being modern native speakers and an additional 7 million people today speaking Shona as a second language [1]. The customary attire of the Rozwi people was characterized by intricate beadwork and animal hide garments.

A king's list was compiled from oral tradition prepared by historian John Stewart in his 1989 book African States and Rulers. At its decline, the Rozwi Kingdom was superseded by the Ndebele Kingdom.

The Rozwi people had notable achievements in architecture, art, and metallurgy. They constructed elaborate stone buildings and were skilled metalworkers. Their unique architectural designs can be seen in the ruins of Khami and other structures[2]. They had complex customs arrangements and taxation systems that facilitated trade and economic growth. In terms of knowledge advancement, they contributed to the field of astronomy, and their knowledge of celestial bodies informed their agricultural practices.

The Rozwi Empire engaged in various conflicts and wars, including clashes with neighboring groups like the Ndebele and Portuguese colonial forces. Their religious beliefs were deeply rooted in ancestral worship and spirits of the land, with traditional spiritual leaders playing a crucial role in their society. 

There is more to discover about them. Please do your own research.

Pictures: Khami Ruins, Zimbabwe 


[1]: Pikirayi, I. (1993). "The Zimbabwe Culture: Origins and Decline of Southern Zambezian States". Rowman & Littlefield.

[2]: Garlake, P. S. (1982). "The Great Zimbabwe". New York: Thames and Hudson.

[3]: Cornell, James (1978). Lost Lands and Forgotten People. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 24.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...