7 less-known ancient African civilisations that you might not find in colonisers’ books

-photo- Iwan Baan

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe

Existing between modern-day Botswana and Zimbabwe, this kingdom was the first and largest kingdom established in southern Africa and existed between 1075 to 1220. The kingdom had a population of about 5000 people and thrived as a gold trading centre attracting traders from China and India.

The Kingdom is said to be the early development of the later Kingdom of Zimbabwe. It was also popular for its stone masonry and class-based social system. Today, the kingdom has been transformed into a park and tourist site. Their government has been described as a sacred kingship.


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