Essay/Term paper: Gotland and zimbabwe

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Humanities

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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.  

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