Origin of the rozvi state
Rozwi EmpireRozwi Empire (Rozvi Empire) was a southern Shona empire founded by Dombo or Changa, after splitting from the Mutapa Empire.Contents1 Origins2 Expansion3 Organization4 EconomyOriginsDombo or Changa, at the death of King Matope moved south and founded a new kingdom, the Rozwi Kingdom. Dombo had defeated the Torwa rulers of Guruuswa or Butua in founding the Rozwi Kingdom. The kingdom was named after the rozwi military regiment, highly discipline and effective troops. Dombo took the title changamire and was known as Changamire Dombo. His successors would have the title mambos.ExpansionBetween 1684 and 1696, Changamire Dombo expelled the Portuguese from Mutapa and Manyika, making the Rozwi Empire the most important empire in the Zimbabwe plateau, Zambezi Valley. Changamire Dombo died in 1696. His dynasty would dominate the Zambezi Valley. Mutapa resorted to an insignificant kingdom. Powerful chiefs would build stone structures as Dhlo Dhlo, Khami, and Naletali.OrganizationThe Empire maintained power and order by its rozwi regiments. The regiments collected tribute from other Shona satellites. They guarded the king’s herds of thousands of cattle. Rozwi regiments continually toured the empire with administrators called banyami. Banyami collected tribute, made decisions of succession for local Shona chiefs. Tribute was paid in ivory, skins, food, and most important cattle.EconomyGold production was a major activity. The state monopolize its production. The Portuguese was banned from entering the kingdom. The economic mainstay was cattle, agriculture, and hunting. The economy was not interdependent on outside trade.
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Oral tradition and archeological are used to provide information on the rise of the Rozvi state
There are two views or explanations on how the Rozvi state came to be:
Oral tradition has it that the state was founded by Domborakonachingwango (aka Dombo) who was of the Moyo (Moyondizvo totem)
Dombo acquired fame and popularity while he worked as a cattle-herder for the Munhumutapa.
He was rewarded with cattle and land for his performance by the Munhumutapa Mukombwe which he used to catapult his career.
He now attracted the following of ordinary people and organised an army of about 300 recruits.
With this army he set out South-West of the Mutapa where he founded a state that later became known as the Rozvi.
Dombo attacked the Torwa (Butwa/Butua) State and absorbed its people.
He built his capital at Danangombe and later moved it to Manyanga/Ntabazikamambo.
He and his followers became known as Rozvi “the marauders/plunderers”
This was a name given in recognition of the Rozvi army’s exploits over the neighbouring tribes.
Thus the Rozvi state can be seen as an offshoot of the Mutapa State.
Portuguese writings seem to corroborate this chain events by confirming that it was the Rozvi who were followers of Changamire (title/name for king) that defeated the Torwa and drove them away as well as the Portuguese stations at Manyika and Dambarare.
Another version of the foundation of the Rozvi state asserts that the Torwa and the Rozvi are one and the same. Dombo was not an external invader from the Mutapa but the Torwa tribe simply evolved by itself and took a new identity.
Dombo was thus made a sucessful rise to the throne with a family that had some military and religious backing and influence.
The Rozvi dynasties assumed the title Changamire or Mambo just as the Mutapas of the much famed Mutapa state had the title Mwenemutapa.
The moyo totem was used as a symbol of the Rozvi identity and acted as a uniting factor that drew the people together irrespective of any differences that they had.
Changamire Dombo gained power in the seventeenth century around 1650.
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