An early Portuguese map showing the Mutapa state

An early Portuguese map showing the Mutapa state

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Portuguese in the Zambezi Valley: The benefits and damageĀ of Portuguese activities to the Mutapa State


  • They introduced new farming methods.
  • Introduced new crops e.g. maize and cassava.
  • Introduced new mining methods.
  • Brought in new goods such as cloth.
  • They brought in new weapons for defense against neighbouring tribes.

Damage/ non-benefits

  • They abused African men and women.
  • They used forced labour which they relied on in their prazos.
  • The interfered in the political system in ways that led to the eventual collapse of the Mutapa state.
  • They diluted the African culture.
  • They exploited Africans during trade and often did not pay fair prices for goods.
  • They depleted the natural resources especially minerals within the Mutapa state.
  • They left a lot of Africans landless.

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.