ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Mutapa State: The Origin and Rise of the Mutapa State
- Most historians agree that the Mutapa state was an off-shoot of the Great Zimbabwe State
- The decline of Great Zimbabwe led to the rise of the Mutapa State.
- According to Oral tradition Chibatamatosi Nyatsimba Mutota’s father sent Nyakatondo the messenger to the area north of Great Zimbabwe to look for salt deposits.
- The messenger brought back salt samples which pleased the king and his son Mutota decided to move to the Dande area.
- Mutota then went to the Zambezi area where he defeated the weak communities such as the Torwa who were already settled in the area.
- As a result Mutota earned the title Munhumutapa which means “he who conquers” and/or Mwenemutapa “owner of the conquered land.”
- Mutata formed an alliance with the Tavara high priest called Dzivaguru.
- This strengthened the king’s position and helped to unify the people.
- Lured by fertile soils and wild game Mutota decided not to return to Great Zimbabwe.
- He then established his state in the area which became known as the Mwenemutapa state.
- Mutota achieved total control of the area through: conquests, intermarriages and economic intercourse with the northern people.
Expansion of the state
- Under Mutota political control extended to the South and North to include the Mbire, province.
- Total control was achieved through conquests, intermarriages and economic intercouse.
- Mutota ruled between 1420 and 1450.
- Matope his successor continued with the expansionist policies and his territory included roughly all the area between the Limpopo (south) and Zambezi rivers (to the north) i.e. the entire country of modern day Zimbabwe.
- The area also included the fringes of the Kalahari to the West and the Mozambican channel to the East.
- According to archeological evedence the Great Zimbabwe state had declined around 1450AD.
- Some disgruntled princes like Mutota began to move out and subsequently this led to the emergence and rise of the Mutapa state.
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