Mwene Matapa

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mwene Matapa

 

(Monomotapa), an early state formation in the Zambezi-Limpopo interfluve, created by the Karanga tribe of the Mashona group. Mwene Matapa reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries, when its political influence extended far beyond the boundaries of the interfluvial region. The socioeconomic structure of Mwene Matapa developed on the basis of the local Iron Age culture, Zimbabwe. The supreme Karanga leaders, who bore the title of “Mwene Matapa,” had strong political and religious authority. The tribal elite played a large role. Embryonic elements of a state apparatus characteristic of a military democracy appeared. Mwene Matapa had a subsistence economy. Significant development was attained in agriculture, iron metallurgy, ceramic production, monumental stone construction, and trade relations. In 1693, as a result of internecine wars, Mwene Matapa was destroyed by Rozwi tribes of the Mashona group.

REFERENCES

Fadeev, L. A. “Monomotapa: Drevniaia afrikanskaia tsivilizatsiia v mezhdurech’e Zambezi-Limpopo.” In Afrikanskii etnograficheskii sb., vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Abraham, D. P. “The Early Political History of the Kingdom of Mwana Mutapa.” In Historians in Tropical Africa. Salisbury, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.