Kimberley, South Africa

From Academic Kids

Kimberley is a town in South Africa, and the capital of the Northern Cape. It is serviced by the nearby Kimberley Airport.

History

In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a small white pebble on the banks of the Orange River, on the farm De Kalk, near Hopetown. The pebble turned out to be a 21.25 carat (4.25 g) diamond. In 1871, an even larger 83.50 carat (16.7 g) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje, and led to the first diamond rush into the area. As miners arrived in their thousands, the hill disappeared, and became known as the Big Hole. A town, New Rush, was formed in the area, and was renamed to Kimberley on 5 June 1873, after the British Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time, John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley. The British, who had control of much of South Africa, were prompt to annex the area of the diamond mine. The Boers were upset by this, because they wanted it to be a part of the Orange Free State.

The largest company to operate a diamond mine in South Africa was the De Beers Company, owned by Cecil Rhodes. Very quickly, Kimberley became the largest city in the area, mostly due to a massive African migration to the area from all over the continent. The immigrants were accepted with open arms, because the De Beers company was in search of cheap labour to run the mines with.

Five big holes were dug into the earth, which followed the kimberlite pipes. The largest, The Kimberley mine or "Big Hole" covering 170 000 , reached a depth of 1 097 m and yielded 3 tons of diamonds. The mine was closed in 1914, while three of the holes – Du Toitspan, Wesselton and Bultfontein – are still operating today.

On 2 September 1882, Kimberley became the first town in the southern hemisphere to install electric street lighting.

South Africa's first school of mines was opened here in 1896 and later relocated to Johannesburg, becoming the core of the University of the Witwatersrand.

On 14 October 1899, Kimberley was besieged at the beginning of the Second Boer War. The British forces trying to relieve the siege suffered heavy losses. The siege was only lifted on 15 February 1900, but the war continued until May 1902. By that time, the British had built a concentration camp at Kimberley to house Boer women and children.

In 1913, South Africa's first flying school opened there and started training the pilots of the South African Aviation Corps, later the South African Air Force.

It also housed South Africa's first stock exchange.

External link

af:Kimberley de:Kimberley (Südafrika) fr:Kimberley nl:Kimberley

Template:South Africa Provincial Capitals

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