Gotland And Zimbabwe

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,