The Portuguese introduced maize to Zimbabwe. It has since become the staple. Image credit mediawiki

The Portuguese introduced maize to Zimbabwe. It has since become the staple. Image credit mediawiki

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Benefits of the Portuguese Activities in the Mutapa State

The activities of the Portuguese in the Zambezi valley had their benefits and harms to the Mutapa State

The Benefits

  • They introduced new farming methods which helped with the state’s food security.
  • They introduced new crops which they grew in the prazos. Africans became skilful at growing these crops as they provided the labour.
  • They introduced new mining methods.
  • They also brought goods such as goods and cloth.
  • In addition they brought weapons such as guns for defence.

The harm brought about by the Portuguese

  • They routinely abused African women.
  • They used forced labour which they relied on in the prazos
  • They had private armies called chikundas that wreaked havoc in the state and upset the Mutapa’s balance of power.
  • They interfered in the political affairs of the state by supporting succession disputes, attempting to influence who became chief and encouraged civil war. This eventually led to the collapse of the Mutapa State.
  • They diluted African culture.
  • They exploited Africans during trade by not paying fair prices.
  • They depleted the resources of the Mutapa State especially gold.
  • They operated private prisons where they tortured and murdered Africans on trumped up charges.

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.

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