Great Zimbabwe

Kaitlin Kiernan and Claire McCandlish

The Great Zimbabwe is a largest collection of ruins in Africa. It is located south of the Sahara Desert, in the heart of Africa.

Geography and Resources

Zimbabwe is located in the middle of southern Africa. It is mainly grassland and very little forest. The people in Zimbabwe would hunt buffalo, antelope, and wildebeests. These animals were not just for eating, but sometimes as clothing. However, when these animals begin to migrate it is harder for people to hunt. They had agriculture and cattle-keeping for food resources.


In Zimbabwe they had regional and long distance trade. Ivory was a popular export because they lived a highly populated place for elephants. They did long distant trade with places like China, Persia, Arabia, and India. They would receive porcelain, glass, and certain textiles.


The Great Zimbabwe was founded in the 11th century during the late Iron Age. It was abandoned in the 15th century. People that lived there mainly practiced agriculture and it was a part of their everyday life.

The "Africae Tabula Nova" was published in 1570 and the Great Zimbabwe is labeled as "Simbaoe"


People believe they had a god-king for a ruler, who would be head over a court. The god-king would share power with a mother king, but there were also nine queens who were under her authority. Each of the queens would have there own court. Each village would have an appointed governor.


Zimbabwean believe the spirit of a dead person comes back to their community. They honored the spirit of their ancestors in ceremonies to good harvest. They thought that witches had the power to raise angry spirits. Families sometimes ask this to avenge a family members death. Their largest church is the Anglican. They mainly focus on faith healing. However, this is just what people believe they are not positive about Great Zimbabwe's religion.


Beginning around the age of eight children are expected to take on adult task. Girls would begin working around the house and boys would start herding cattle. They begin school at seven years old and would stay there for about seven years.Children would have to pass an exam to move onto secondary school. This is where they learn skills for employment.

Marriage and family

Most societies were patrilineal, which their heritage was passed down through the father of the family. In the Great Zimbabwe arranged marriages were rare. The extended family was known as a domestic unit. In some areas extended family shared a household, but others each nuclear family would have their own household. The elders had the most authority.