ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Early Societies (Late Stone Age – Early Iron Age): The development and effects of trade

  • The use of iron tools meant high degree and skill in the Early Iron Age and Late Iron Age
  • This led to the development of trade both internally with locals and externally with the Arabs on the East Coast
    Local trade was done with goods like grain, cattle, goats, sheep, animal skins, furs, salts, beeswax, honey, spears, iron-hoe heads, copper and a variety of beads for basic and luxury goods
  • Foreign trade was done with goods such as ivory, gold, copper and leopard skins in exchange for cloth, sea shells and glass beads
  • Local and foreign trade had remarkable effects in the early Iron Age societies
  • It increased the wealth acquired by the ruling class
  • It also enabled the ruling class to acquire luxurious goods such as better quality distinctive clothes, varied diets and the construction of improved houses
  • This enabled them to secure and maintain the respect and loyalty of the people and army
  • Due to the fact that some people had accumulated luxury goods and many cattle from trade it necessitated marriage arrangements
  • Those with many possessions could marry many wives and women were seen as a form of labour as it were an agrarian society
  • Marriage was also used to strengthen ties with other lineages
  • Polygamy resulted in unity in the society

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