& Great Zimbabwe Essay, Research Paper
There were many differences and similarities between the ways trade has developed in Gotland
and in Great Zimbabwe. In this essay I would discuss the most important ones, that can indicate
something about trade development in other places in the world.
The time span in which trade has developed and came to its highest level in both places was
about the same. In Great Zimbabwe it was between the 10th and the 16th centuries. In Gotland it
started in the Vikings age end (9th century) and ended in the 16th century. The trade was
reduced radically after these eras have passed. The main reason for it in Great Zimbabwe was
social and environmental reasons Great Zimbabwe was abandoned. Another reason is that the
Portuguese began exploring southeast Africa and made colonies there, that weakened the Shona
Kingdom even more. In Gotland the trade amounts were reduced because it stopped being an
independent island it was vanquished by its enemies. The conquering of a place could affect the
trade and its development for the worse.
The geographical locations in both places have affected the trade development. Both places have
coasts. In Gotland, which is an island, it was probably hard to create trade connections when
the ships were not so developed. When the ships were more advanced, Gotland was used as a trade
station ships from the Baltic area got equipped and traded with the Gutar. Great Zimbabwe is
found in the mainland but it is close to the coast. Great Zimbabwe s region contains many gold
resources and it is a good agricultural zone. The location of an area and the resources in it
could affect the trade and its development tremendously.
The markets that the merchants in each place traded with were ones that the best way to reach
them was by sailing. The people from Great Zimbabwe used the winds that are blowing in the
Indian ocean and the Arab sea to navigate to the places they traded with. The places are:
southern Arabia, India, China. The Gutar traded with ships that came to Gotland from the Baltic
area. In the golden age of the trade in Gotland the Gutar have reached to places all over
Europe and even to the Mediterranean sea countries. Both places have traded with countries of
their areas since the ships were not so well developed at that time unlike today, they were not
good and safe enough for very long sails. In the past an access to a sea or an ocean could
affect the trade and its development.
The goods that were traded depended on the resources available in each place. The goods traded
by the merchants from Great Zimbabwe were: ivory, gold, and iron. It was easy to get these
materials there gold and iron were produced from ores, and the ivory was taken from the
elephants that were common there. The merchandise in Gotland was: sandstone, wax, furs, amber
and picture stones. The people got sandstone from quarries, furs from animals, and made wax,
amber and picture stones from materials that were prevailing there. The more needed or valuable
the goods were, the richer the traders became.
The religion in both places was an important part of life and trade. In Gotland religion
affected the trade in each one of the eras Christianity and pagan. In the pagan time picture
stones were used, among other things, for religious ceremonies and they were exported from
Gotland to the countries of the Baltic. When Christianity appeared in the area, the Gutar have
exported wax, which is used for candles in churches, to all of Europe. Some say that religion
was the most important thing in Great Zimbabwe s society and therefore it must have affected
their whole life including trade. Christianity has made the trade of Great Zimbabwe weakened
since it came with losing their independence. The people of Zimbabwe have lost their culture
and religion and became less united as one nation these are usually the effects that a forced
change in a nation s culture and religion can bring, the Portuguese have done this in other
countries, too. The Portuguese have also taken over the trade it made the people of Zimbabwe
more demoralized and less wealthy they were too weak to keep their culture and religion.
Religion can have good effects and bad effects on trade.
To conclude I can say that the way trade develops in different areas depends on many things and
there are similarities in the general effects on the amount of trade and how good it is. The
small details are not very important like if the goods traded are ivory or sandstone a certain
pattern of effects on trade is followed, probably not only in Gotland and Great Zimbabwe, but
in many other places.