SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Bhila, Hoyini H. K. (1971) The Manyika and the Portuguese 1575-1863. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (16MB)


The causes of the diminished volume of Portuguese-African trade in the interior of the kingdoms of Manyika, Butua and Makaranga at the beginning of the l6th century are to be sought in Portuguese commercial methods. The Portuguese were not adequately prepared to compete with the Arab traders whom they found there. They learned from the Arabs, but very slowly. However, Arab trading methods and institutions provided a basis for Portuguese mercantile activities in Manyika in the following centuries. The Portuguese started at a disadvantage because the Manyika used subtle methods to resist Portuguese penetration into the interior. However the Portuguese achieved their aim, for during the 17th Century they established themselves firmly at various points within the kingdom of Manyika, The situation changed considerably during the 18th Century. The Manyika successfully defied both Changamire who claimed suzerainty over the kingdom of Manyika, and the Portuguese who wanted to trade anywhere they liked within the kingdom. Ultimately, Manyika compelled the Portuguese to concentrate their trading activities north of the Zambezi. Other factors, of course, such as the resistance of Barwe, and the profitable nature of the ivory trade also accounted for this shift in trade. During the 18th Century the feira of Masekesa (trading post) became a very important place. Manyika princes fought over it and this made it easier for the Portuguese to intervene in Manyika political activities, Portuguese intervention came to an end when the Landins appeared in Manyika in the late 1820's and early 1850's. The Landins were interested mainly in raiding cattle at the feiras. But the devastating blows which destroyed the feiras were dealt by the Barwists and Quitevans who, like the Manyika, resented Portuguese aggression on their soil. The Landin attacks, Portuguese administrative inefficiency, confusion of weights and currency and clandestine commercial competition rendered Portuguese trade at the feira of Masekesa unprofitable. The Landin attacks compelled the Portuguese to re-examine their administrative machinery, and to make belated attempts to reform it. They failed. The Landins drove them out of the feira in 1835. In spite of their expulsion, the Portuguese maintained trade links with the Manyika at an unofficial level. The period 1835-1854 was taken up by the question of the re-establishment of the feira at Masekesa. In the wake of Landin invasions followed another wave of 'intruders' - the Amatshangana of Manukuse. Unlike the Landins, the Amatshangana exercised some sovereignty over the kingdom of Manyika. The relations between the Amatshangana and the Manyika were cordial. Some Amatshangana settled in Manyika and identified themselves with the local inhabitants. Portuguese political eclipse partially came to an end in 1854 when both Chikanga, King of Manyika, and the Governor of Rios de Sena agreed to have a capitao-mor re-established at the feira of Masekesa. This arrangement failed to work because the basic defects of the institution of capitao-mor had not been considered. Many of the men appointed lived far away and often did not know the language etc. The appointment of Manuel Antonio de Souza in 1863 as capitao-mor of the feiras of Quiteve and Manyika ushered in a new era of Portuguese reassertion of their former authority at the feira of Masekesa.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:14

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item