Rozwi Empire

Rozwi Empire (Rozvi Empire) was a southern Shona empire founded by Dombo or Changa, after splitting from the Mutapa Empire.


Dombo 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.


Between 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.


The 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.


Gold 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.

Works Cited

Davidson, Basil. Africa in History, Revised and Expanded Edition. New York: Touchstone Book, pp. 50, ISBN 0-684-82667-4

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa, rev, 2nd. ed. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2005, ISBN 0-333-59957-8

tags: zimbabwe