Torwa dynasty

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The Tolwa dynasty was the ruling family of the Butua kingdom that arose from the collapse of Great Zimbabwe in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, founded perhaps by the legendary Dlembeu.

The Tolwa dynasty of the BakaLanga people based itself at the stone city of Khami from 1450 to 1683. Cattle and gold brought prosperity. The new culture at Khami developed both the stone building techniques and the pottery styles found at Great Zimbabwe. Masons continued to refine Great Zimbabwe’s tradition of building precise stone walls.

At Khami several artefacts are found, such as ritual drinking pots, iron and bronze weapons, copper objects and ivory divining pieces. Artifacts from Europe and China are reminders that Khami was once a trade centre.

During this period the first Europeans arrived. The first known European visitor was Antonio Fernandes, a Portuguese "degredado" (convict exile) serving his term in Sofala, who entered the Zimbabwean plateau in 1513.

There had always been an Arab influence in the region, particularly through trade, but this conflicted with Portuguese commercial interests and religion. The fall of the Tolwa state linked to the coming of the Mutapa people from the north and to the Nguni incursions from the south.

In the 1670s a new power arose on the Zimbabwean plateau led by a military ruler called the Changamire. His army of followers, known as the Lozwi, overthrew the Tolwa dynasty, drove the Portuguese from the Zimbabwean plateau in 1693, and established the Rozwi Empire (also called Mambo).

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Part of a series on the
History of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bird
Ancient history
Leopard's Kopje c.900–1075
Mapungubwe Kingdom c.1075–1220
Zimbabwe Kingdom c.1220–1450
Mutapa Kingdom c.1450–1760
Torwa dynasty c.1450–1683
White settlement pre-1923
Rozwi Empire c.1684–1834
Matabeleland 1838–1894
Rudd Concession 1888
BSA Company rule 1890–1923
First Matabele War 1893–1894
Second Matabele War 1896–1897
World War I involvement 1914–1918
Colony of Southern Rhodesia 1923–1980
World War II involvement 1939–1945
Malayan Emergency
Federation with Northern
Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Rhodesian Bush War 1964–1979
Rhodesia under UDI 1965–1979
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia June–Dec 1979
Dec 1979
British Dependency 1979–1980
Zimbabwe 1980–present
Gukurahundi 1982–1987
Second Congo War 1998–2003
Coup d'état 2017