ZIMBABWE, a Bantu name, probably derived from the two words zimba (" houses") and mabgi (" stones"), given to certain ruins in South-East Africa.
From about 1550 onwards the Zimbabwe generally referred to by Portuguese writers was at a spot a little north of the Afur district, not far from the Zambezi.
Even before this it had been clear to archaeologists and ethnologists that there was no evidence to support the popular theory that Zimbabwe had been built in very ancient days by some Oriental people.
Finally from a comparative study of several ruins it was established that the plan and construction of Zimbabwe are by no means unique, and that this site only differs from others in Rhodesia in respect of the great dimensions and the massiveness of its individual buildings.
There are three distinct though connected groups of ruins at Zimbabwe, which are commonly known as the "Elliptical Temple," the "Acropolis" and the "Valley Ruins."
The floor of the enclosure is constituted as in the other Zimbabwe buildings by a thick bed of cement which extends even outside the main wall.
Zimbabwe was probably the distributing centre for the gold traffic carried on in the middle ages between subjects of the Monomotapa and the Mahommedans of the coast.
His capital was called Zumubany, an obvious corruption of the term " Zimbabwe," regularly used to describe the residence of any important chief.
His zimbabwe, wherever it may have been in earlier days, was now;fixed near the Portuguese fort of Masapa, only a short distance south of the Zambezi.
The large system of ruined forts and " cities " in Mashonaland, at Zimbabwe and elsewhere, concerning which so many ingenious theories have been woven, have been proved to date from medieval times.
The centre of speculation is a group of extensive ruins at Zimbabwe, in Mashonaland, about 200 m.