Ivory Trade was part of the Foreign Trade in Mutapa State. Image credit watchdog.co.ug

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Mutapa State (Kingdom): Importance and effects of foreign trade in the Mutapa state

  • Trade played an important role in the Mutapa State

Importance of Trade in the Mutapa Kingdom

  • The cloths and beads got from trade was used as clothing by many wives, children and official
  • ┬áBeads and cloth gained from trade was used as gifts for the mhondoros
  • They were also used to pay tribute to the Mutapa
  • These items were also given to provincial rulers during war times to maintain their loyalty and allegiance
  • All trade items in general increased the power and wealth of the Munhumutapa
  • The Mutapa king also got guns, like the cannon, which were efficient in times of war
  • Trade stimulated the making of locally made cloth which became available widely in the 16th century
  • The killing of elephants for ivory led to a protein richer diet

Negative effects of foreign trade

  • Some of the Mutapa subjects who gained a lot from trade were now refusing to pay tribute to their king
  • The Portuguese shifted their attention to the Rozvi state and this weakened the political organization of the state
  • Portuguese started focusing on the feiras and trading centres and this created enmity between them and the Mutapas since they were not gaining from the trade
  • The Portuguese gained too much political power and became a law unto themselves
  • The goods that Mutapa people got were of little value as compared to the gold and ivory they were giving to the foreigners

NB Visit these pages to learn more about:

  1. Feiras in the Mutapa State
  2. Items traded in the Mutapa State

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.