The Mutapa State

8269 Words Jul 9th, 2013 34 Pages
Afternoon once again some more on Zimbabwe...DISCUSS THE RISE AND EXPANSION OF THE MUTAPA STATE. (NOV 2008)
The rise and ultimate expansion of the Mutapa State owed in part to the decline of Great Zimbabwe. According to oral traditions, Nyatsimba Mutota migrated from the declining Great Zimbabwe and began his conquests of the Korekore and Tavara of the Dande and Chidema areas It has been claimed t...hat his victims were so impressed by his military exploits that they nicknamed him Mwene Mutapa, ‘owner of conquered lands’ or ‘master pillager’, hence the birth of the Mutapa dynasty. He then embarked on an expansionist policy that resulted in the creation of a vast Mutapa empire which stretched from the Zambezi valley into the Mozambique
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Agriculture was another economic activity that contributed to the rise and expansion of the state. Farming was for the most part subsistence and labour intensive. Crops like sorghum, millet and rapoko were grown on the family plots. The generally favourable climatic conditions ensured successful harvests and resulted in the accumulation of surplus grain, animals and other forms of wealth. All this stimulated the population growth that was so crucial in the emergence and growth of so large and powerful a state such as the Mutapa. Agriculture not only enabled the subject peoples to produce for themselves but for the state in order to pay tribute to their rulers. They paid the tribute either by way of actual agricultural produce or through the provision of agricultural labour. It has been said that one day out of each month, different parts of the state offered labour to the royal fields, the zunde (Mudenge, 1988, 164).
Trade also played a hugely significantly role in facilitating both the rise and expansion of the Mutapa state. Trading activities were internal as when then Mutapa people traded among themselves exchanging items like iron tools, pottery and agricultural produce. It also assumed an external character like when they traded with other African groups and with the Swahili-Arabs and Portuguese. They traded gold and ivory for luxury goods such as mirrors, cloth and