The discovery of diamonds in South Africa was made by a curious accident. One day a trader travelling along in the neighbourhood north of Cape Colony happened to stop at a farm. While there, he was interested in a small child who was toying with a bright and singularly lustrous pebble. His curiosity was aroused, and he suggested that the thing might be rare enough to be of some value. Thereupon the stone was sent to an expert in Grahamstown, who declared it to be a diamond. The stone weighed twenty-
In the month of March, 1869, the world was startled and began to open its eyes.
The diamond known as "the Star of Africa,', weighing some eighty-
The north bank of the Vaal where the discoveries were made was, at that time, a
species of "No-
The various claimants, notably the Griqua Captain, Nicholas Waterboer, commenced disputes regarding the valuable portion of the Free State territory, and finally it was decided to submit to British arbitration. President Brand refused the offer, but President M. W. Pretorius of the South African Republic, who had grievances against the Barolong, Batlapin, and Griqua tribes, agreed. A Court was appointed, the Governor of Natal acting as empire. The interests involved were many, and on the subject of their rights the various claimants seemed somewhat hazy. The Free State was not represented, and the umpire, acting on the evidence of Mr. Arnot (the agent of Nicholas Waterboer) gave judgment against the South African Republic and allowed the claim of the Griqua Captain, including in the award the tract claimed by him in the Free State. The complicated situation is thus described by Mr. Bryce in his "Impressions of South Africa"
"As Waterboer had before the award offered his territory to the British Government, the country was forthwith erected into a Crown Colony, under the name of Griqualand West. This was in 187£. The Free State, whose case had not been stated, much less argued, before the umpire, protested, and was after a time able to appeal to a judgment delivered by a British Court, which found that Waterboer had never enjoyed any right to the territory. However, the new Colony had by this time been set up, and the British flag displayed. The British Government, without either admitting or denying the Free State title, declared that a district in which it was difficult to keep order amid a turbulent and shifting population ought to be under the control of a strong power, and offered the Free State a sum of £90,000 in settlement of whatever claim it might possess. The acceptance by the Free State, in 1876, of this sum closed the controversy, though a sense of injustice continued to rankle in the breasts of some of the citizens of the Republic. Amicable relations have subsisted ever since between it and Cape Colony, and the control of the British Government over the Basutos has secured for it peace in the quarter which was formerly most disturbed
"These two cases show how various are the causes, and how mixed the motives, which press a great power forward even against the wishes of its statesmen. The Basutos were declared British subjects, partly out of a sympathetic wish to rescue and protect them, partly because policy required the acquisition of a country naturally strong, and holding an important strategical position. Griqualand \Vest, taken in the belief that Waterboer had a good title to it, was retained after this belief had been dispelled, partly perhaps because a population had crowded into it which consisted mainly of British subjects, and was not easily controllable by a small State, but mainly because Colonial feeling refused to part with a region of such exceptional mineral wealth. And the retention of Griqualand West caused, before long, the acquisition of Bechuanaland, which in its turn naturally led to that northward extension of British influence which has carried the Union Jack to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Griqualand \Vest, whose capital is the salubrious Kimberley, was settled in 1833
by the Griquas or Baastards, a tribe of Dutch Hottentot hdf-
A word, before passing on, of Kimberley. This town, hitherto known as the City of
Diamonds, has now the distinction of being the casket where Mr Rhodes, with the price
of £5000 on his head, was incarcerated. Its real birth dates from 1869-
The diamonds have their home in beds of clay, which are usually covered with calcareous rock. These beds are the remains of mud pits, due to volcanic action. Mr. Bryce, in his "Impressions of South Africa, says
"Some of the mines are worked to the depth of 1200 feet by shafts and subterranean
galleries. Some are open, and these, particulary that called the Wesselton Mine,
are an interesting sight. This deep hollow, one-
To encourage honesty in the miner good wages are given, and ten per cent. is allowed to finders of valuable stones who voluntarily deliver these to the overseer. Apropos of this subject, Mr. Bryce relates an amusing tale, which, if not true, is certainly ben Irovalo:
"I heard from a missionary an anecdote of a Basuto who, after his return from Kimberley, was describing how, on one occasion, his eye fell on a valuable diamond in the clay he was breaking into fragments. While he was endeavouring to pick it up he perceived the overseer approaching, and, having it by this time in his hand, was for a moment terribly frightened, the punishment for theft being very severe. The overseer, however, passed on. 'And then,' said the Basuto, 'I knew that there was indeed a God, for He had preserved me.
|The Growth of the Transvaal|
|The Web Thickens|
|The Zulu War|
|Isandlwana, an hour by hour account|
|Affairs at Home|
|The First Anglo Boer War|
|Between the Wars|
|The Fate of SGT Elliot|
|The Siege of Pretoria|
|The Reform Movement|
|The Critical Moment|
|The Fate of the Raiders|