African History 3: Great Zimbabwe

Today we'll learn about Great Zimbabwe and the sleeping sickness. And before you get worried, no, getting tired in class doesn't mean you have the plague...though you probably could get to bed a little earlier.

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World HistoryAfrican History

Transcript

00:17

Why did africans tend to dodge southern africa like the

00:21

plague Well maybe because there was a plague a deadly

00:26

disease called sleeping sickness which is carried by the tsetse

00:30

fly While it may sound like a good excuse if

00:33

you get caught napping in calculus sleeping sickness is no

00:37

joke And it's still killed several thousand people every year

00:40

To make matters worse especially for cows the sleeping sickness

00:44

parasite carried by the tsetse fly also kills livestock Oh

00:49

and on top of all that a lot of southern

00:51

africa is rocky and a hot making growing crops a

00:54

serious challenge This place makes tough mudder look easy Put

00:59

all that together and we've got a place where the

01:01

threat of death from disease and starvation was well more

01:05

than just a threat It was downright likely so it's

01:08

Pretty easy to see why southern africa wasn't the most

01:10

Sought after real estate even if the real estate brokers

01:13

did have free cookies at open house Still despite all

01:16

these challenges some medieval africans managed to carve really deal

01:20

kingdoms out of some of the toughest real estate around

01:23

Like how about a little place called great zimbabwe Okay

01:27

well maybe not so little by medieval standards it was

01:30

actually midsize with around eighteen thousand people Back then when

01:33

people saw great zimbabwe they were like look at that

01:37

big city with its eighteen thousand people We wonder if

01:40

it has a chinese restaurant Makita great zimbabwe's success was

01:43

location location and yes location His world city was built

01:48

way up high so the people in their animals were

01:51

safe from those pesky seats he flies proving once again

01:55

that it's easier to get things done when you're not

01:57

worried about sleeping death great zimbabwe had it all gold

02:01

mines soldiers gold markets gold and a big government Did

02:05

we mention gold had a lot of gold by the

02:07

fifteenth century great zimbabwe was actually one of the world's

02:10

major producers of gold And unlike some other cultures out

02:14

there they didn't squander it all on personal bling Nope

02:17

These guys used it for trade Archaeologists poking around in

02:21

the ruins of great zimbabwe have found stuff from all

02:23

over the world including persian bowls and chinese dishes And

02:27

what can we say They weren't into the bling but

02:30

they did like to dine in style Nobody knows exactly

02:33

why great zimbabwe eventually fell The biggest theory is that

02:36

the population just grew too big for the area But

02:39

even though the great city was eventually abandoned around fourteen

02:42

fifty eighty the ruins of its walls lasted through the

02:45

centuries When the english eventually colonized zimbabwe re dubbing it

02:50

rhodesia they didn't know what to make of the ruins

02:54

Evidence of sophisticated african civilizations blew all kinds of holes

02:58

in their theory that africans were primitive people who are

03:01

better off being colonized instead of going uh well maybe

03:05

because people are so primitive English made up stuff you

03:08

know like saying that the city was built by arabs

03:11

or phoenicians Zimbabweans didn't buy this hogwash which is good

03:14

because hogwash is gross The ruins were a major symbol

03:18

of national pride throughout the years and they still are

03:20

today great zimbabwe proves that zimbabweans have the ability to

03:24

build great nations in their genes which sounds a little 00:03:27.75 --> [endTime] uncomfortable We're surprised more zimbabweans don't wear baggy jeans