Changamire Dynasty, the royal line that drove the Portuguese out of Africa’s interior

Michael Eli Dokosi Jan 6, 2020 at 04:00pm

January 06, 2020 at 04:00 pm | Culture

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

January 06, 2020 at 04:00 pm | Culture

Changamire Dynasty via afrographics.com

Rulers, kingdoms and empires have their day under the sun and then fizzle out but history remembers their deeds.

With the decline of the Mwenemutapa Empire as a regional power, elite Shona countrymen of wealth developed their own armies. The greatest of these armies were the Rozvi known as the Destroyers led by their leader Changamire Dombo.

The Changamire Dynasty originated amongst the Shona people of the Rozvi Empire in southern Africa around 1660 with Changamire Dombo as the founding father.

“Changamire earned the title of Great Lord and by the 1670’s he formed an empire that became a major force in the northeast Zimbabwe Plateau. It was the brilliance of the early Changamire dynastic line that began to totally obliterate Portuguese influence and meddling in the region,” according to Afrographics.

The Portuguese were absolutely humiliated by the Changamire Dynasty as they militarily dominated the region. It’s even rumored that the Bull horn formation popularized by Shaka Zulu was in fact started, or at least used earlier by the Changamires.”

It is thanks to the Changamire royal family that the Portuguese waved the white flag and left the plateau altogether. Their military power and domination was well respected by all Africans in the region as well as the Portuguese.

The surrender of the Portuguese marked a rare period in Africa that an African dynasty forced a European nation to leave altogether. Contacts with the Portuguese were initially encouraged from 1693 to 1695, the Changamire empire drove the Portuguese from all their stations in the interior during a campaign against the remainder of the Mbire empire.

At their height, the Changamire Dynasty ruled a vast area in central Africa between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers (now in Zimbabwe). The dynasty was the greatest power in central Africa from the 15th century until its destruction about 1830.

Changamire’s empire was destroyed by the coming of the Ngoni and Ndebele tribes during the Mfecane (a period of vast migrations occasioned by Zulu wars in South Africa).

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