The Diamond Fields (Diamantveld) is in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It is one of the most important diamond-mining areas on Earth

In 2001, this predominantly mining and agricultural district was renamed "Frances Baard District Municipality", in honor of an ethnic Tswana trade unionist, and organiser for the African National Congress Women's League.

Cities edit

Map of Diamond Fields
  • 1 Kimberley — famous for its Big Hole, the world's largest hand-dug excavation
  • 2 Hopetown   — where the first diamond discovered in South Africa was found
  • 3 Barkly West — an outdoor activity destination for zip-lining, bridge swing, abseiling, kayaking, hiking
  • 4 Douglas   — an agricultural and stock farming town
  • 5 Griekwastad   — (Griquatown) — best known for the semi-precious stones found here

Other destinations edit

  • 1 Canteen Kopje — an archaeological site in Barkly West that has hundreds of thousands of artefacts from its earlier inhabitants- the Thlaping tribe

Understand edit

In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a small brilliant pebble on the banks of the Orange River, near Hopetown, which was his father's farm. He showed the pebble to his father, who sold it. The pebble proved to be a 21.25-carat (4.3 g) diamond, and became known as the Eureka. Three years later, in 1869, an 83.5-carat (16.7 g) diamond, which became known as the Star of South Africa, was found nearby

Esau Damoense, the cook for prospector Fleetwood Rawstorne's "Red Cap Party", found diamonds in 1871 on Colesberg Kopje after he was sent there to dig as punishment. Rawstorne took the news to the nearby diggings of the De Beer brothers; his arrival there sparking off the famous "New Rush" which, as historian Brian Roberts puts it, was practically a stampede. Within a month, 800 claims were cut into the hillock, which were worked frenetically by two to three thousand men. As the land was lowered, so the hillock became a mine – in time, the world-renowned Big Hole, or Kimberley Mine.

From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds. The Big Hole has a surface of 17 hectares (42 acres) and is 463 metres wide. Beneath the surface, the Kimberley Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres. A popular local myth claims that it is the largest hand-dug hole on the world, however Jagersfontein Mine appears to hold that record.

By 1873 Kimberley was the second largest town in South Africa, having an approximate population of 40,000, partly 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 help run the mines. The mine was closed in 1914, while three of the holes – Dutoitspan, Wesselton and Bultfontein – closed down in 2005.

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