Day 5: Great Zimbabwe #BlackHistoryMonth

20140205-104749.jpg Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo, close to the Chimanimani Mountains and the Chipinge District. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age. Construction on the monument by ancestors of the Shona people began in the 11th century and continued until the 14th century, spanning an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The earliest known written mention of the ruins was in 1531 by Vicente Pegado, captain of the Portuguese garrison of Sofala, who recorded it as Symbaoe(signifying “court”). The first visits by Europeans were in the late 19th century, with investigations of the site starting in 1871.
When the Great Zimbabwe ruins were “discovered” by Europeans in late 1800s, the stone palace – built at a massive scale (spanning 1,780 acres) without the use of mortar – was so amazing it turned the archaeological world upside down. In fact, the white government of Rhodesia (the old name for Zimbabwe which became independent on April 18, 1980 after a prolonged rule by the British Government.) attempted to force archaeologists to deny that it was built by black people. Great Zimbabwe has since been adopted as a national monument by the Zimbabwean government, with the modern state being named after it. The word “Great” distinguishes the site from over 200 smaller ruins, known as Zimbabwes, spread across Southern Africa.


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