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When We Ruled *2nd Edition - 50 Greatest Africans - Mutapa Matope & Pharaoh Mena
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The 2nd Edition
An Introduction by
Robin Walker

Study Guide

africa5.jpg50 Greatest Africans - Mutapa Matope & Pharaoh Mena


33. Mutapa Matope of Munuhumutapa (fourteenth century AD)
Powerful ruler of Southern Africa

Mutapa MatopeThe early southern African towns and villages lacked any central authority until discipline was imposed, first by the 12th or 13th century AD ruler Mutapa (i.e. Emperor) Mutota and then by a descendant, Mutapa Matope. Matope was the greatest conqueror of the early Mutapas. In a series of campaigns, he conquered the Tavara and Tonga. In addition, he seized the Barwe kingdom. Economic considerations seem to have been paramount. Swahili traders from the East African coast, used to sail to the mouth of the Zambezi. Six leagues up stream was the town of King Mongalo. There the Swahili hired almadias (i.e. barges) to carry their merchandise along the channel to a trading bazaar. This was located in a large village in Tonga country. There, Swahili and Shona traders met and exchanged goods. In the interior, another famous trading centre was in the land of the Mambara. Here large quantities of copper were traded. The overland trade route with Sofala through Manyika had its own bazaars. In addition to the bazaars, individual Swahilis who travelled throughout the land selling their merchandise facilitated trade. Matope, in imposing a political empire over this network, offered the peace and security that allowed the gold and ivory trade to flourish.
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE




34. Pharaoh Mena of Ancient Egypt (ruled 5660-5998 BC)
First King of the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt

Pharaoh MenaThe first pharaoh of a unified Egypt was Mena from the Southern Egyptian city of Thinis. After conquering Northern Egypt, he is thought to have reigned for 62 years and he started the first golden age in the land - the Old Kingdom Period. Egypt, during this age, was a Negro society and there are portraits of the king with very handsome African features.

Herodotus, the excellent Greek historian of antiquity, collected other information on this king during his visit to the country: "The [Egyptian] priests said that Mên [i.e. Mena] was the first king of Egypt, and that it was he who raised the dyke which protects Memphis from the inundations of the Nile. Before his time the river flowed entirely through the sandy range of hills which skirts Egypt on the side of Libya. He, however, by banking up the river at the bend which it forms about a hundred furlongs south of Memphis, laid the ancient channel dry, while he dug a new course for the stream half-way between the two lines of hills … Besides these works, he also, the priests said, built the temple of Vulcan [i.e. Ptah] which stands within the city [i.e. in Herodotus' time], a vast edifice, very worthy of mention."

There is a famous palette associated with an Egyptian king called Narmer. Most historians believe that he is the same person as Mena. This document, exquisitely carved, shows the king wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and he stands with his arm raised holding a mace just about to strike an enemy. On the other side of the palette the king is seen wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. He is in procession with the company of high officials. This document shows that the king has defeated the rulers of Lower Egypt. On the palette are lions with serpent-like heads intertwined symbolising unification. From this date onwards, the kings of Egypt wore the Double Crown - the White and the Red Crown combined. He was thus the first king to take the title of the "Two Ladies" referring to the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet. Finally, Mena led expeditions southeast to the mountain regions where the stone quarries stood. From here, building materials were obtained.
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE



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Category : 50 Greatest Africans


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African Rulers
50 Greatest Africans

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