Alternative History
Kingdom of Mutapa
Mwene Mutapa
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Coat of Arms
Location of Kingdom of Mutapa
Location of Kingdom of Mutapa
Language Shona
Religion Belief in Mwari (God)
Legislature Monarchy
Mwenemutapa Neshangwe Munembire
Area 270,272 mi²
Population 152,857 People

The Kingdom of Mutapa - sometimes referred to as the Mutapa Empire (Shona: Mwene we Mutapa or more commonly and modern "Munhumutapa"; Portuguese: Monomotapa) - was a Shona kingdom which stretched from the Zambezi through the Limpopo rivers to the Indian Ocean in southern Africa, in what are the modern states of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and parts of Namibia and Botswana; stretching well into modern Zambia. Its founders are descendants of the builders who constructed Great Zimbabwe.


The Portuguese term Monomotapa is a transliteration of the title Mwenemutapa (Prince of the land), Mwenemutapa means the conjurer. However the title came to be applied to the Kingdom as a whole, and was used to indicate its territory on maps of the period. Copper was transported from Mutapa empire to the coast for trade business.

Portuguese Contact

The Portuguese dominated much of southeast Africa's coast, laying waste to Sofala and Kilwa, by 1515. Their main goal was to dominate the trade with India; however, they unwittingly became mere carriers for luxury goods between Mutapa's sub-kingdoms and India. As the Portuguese settled along the coast, they made their way into the hinterland as sertanejos (backwoodsmen). These sertanejos lived alongside Swahili traders and even took up service among Shona kings as interpreters and political advisors. One such sertanejo, António Fernandes, managed to travel through almost all the Shona kingdoms, including Mutapa's metropolitican district, between 1512 and 1516.