Great Zimbabwe: An African empire
November 15, 2011 11:31 AM Subscribe
Built by the Shona (1100-1500 AD), the empire of Great Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s greatest civilizations like Egypt and Meroe, stood between present-day Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana and south-east Mozambique. The empire’s highly developed architecture overwhelmed discoverers. And much in the same manner as German anthropologist Doctor Frobenius ignorantly mistook the Kingdom of Ife in Nigeria for the lost kingdom of Atlantis in 1911, some Europeans blatantly refused to believe that Great Zimbabwe was built by Africans. Dawson Munjeri, former director of Great Zimbabwe, a World Heritage site, discusses the history of the exceptional Zimbabwe empire.
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* 1552 Portuguese historian Joao dos Barros wrote Da Asia, conquest account; assumed site be one of the cities of the Queen of Sheba. Other Portuguese chroniclers described
it as the biblical city of Ophir.
* 1871 German geologist Karl Mauch; similarly believed
he had found Ophir, home of the Queen of Sheba, site of gold mines that were the source
of King Solomon’s wealth, where Queen of Sheba procured gold for the Temple of Solomon.
* 1890s British James Theodore Bent, sent by the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
sponsored by Cecil Rhodes, British financier whose British South Africa Company occupied Mashonaland (N or Great Zimbabwe) in 1890 and established colony called Rhodesia; Bent first suspects ruins
to be of African origin, but his 1892 Ruined Cities of Mashonaland cites exotic objects found within to conclude ruins not natively built.
* 1902-04 British archaeologist Richard N. Hall cleared dirt and rubble within enclosures, destroying much evidence. Believed it built by "more civilized races" than native groups
* 1905 David Randall-MacIver, archaeologist and Egyptologist, first to declare the ruins African.
* 1929 Gertrude Caton-Thompson, archaeologist, sent by British to prove him wrong, confirms Randall-MacIver’s thesis, pronounces the site African Bantu in origin.