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Number: 3364
Continent: Africa
Region: South
Place Names: South Africa, Witwaterstrand, Adamantia, Zimbabwe, Zambezi Zambesi River, Victoria Falls
Year of Origin: 1872
Title: Adamantia. The Diamonds & Gold Fields of South Africa
Language: English
Publish Origin: London
Height: 51.4
Width: 39.8
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale: 1 : 4,900,000
Color Type: Outline Color
Click for high-resolution zoomable image
Cartographer: James Wyld, Jr.
Publisher: James Wyld, Jr.
Other Contributors: Thomas Baines
Northernmost Latitude: -13.0
Southernmost Latitude: -36.0
Westernmost Longitude: 17.0
Easternmost Longitude: 37.0
Measurement Notes: on map
Notes: [SOURCE Dasa Pahor]; Extremely rare - a seemingly unrecorded very early example of James Wyld?s historically important map depicting the diamond and gold fields of South Africa, a map that literally showcases the genesis of modern of South Africa. Author: James WYLD the Younger (1812 - 1887). Place and Year: London, 1872. Technique: Code: 64844 Steel engraving with original hand colour, dissected into 15 sections and mounted on original linen, folding into original dark green cloth covers, with printed paper label to front cover and publisher?s advertisements to verso of map inside of front cover (Good, map with original colours still fresh, light, even toning with two light stains in upper left quadrant; cover with wear to spine which is reinforced with archival gauze, label worn with loss), 57 x 45 cm (22.5 x 18 inches). This historically important and fascinating separately-issued map is perhaps the earliest example of James Wyld the Younger?s map series depicting the diamond and gold fields of South Africa to come to market in some decades, being the apparently unrecorded second state of the series (the first state is known in only a single example). This would also make it one of the earliest separately-issued South African diamond maps. Published in 1872, at the height of the ?Diamond Rush? barely five years after the first discovery of diamonds in South Africa, its focus is the ?Diamond Region? (coloured in light blue) that straddled the disputed border region between the British Cape Colony and the Afrikaner republic of the Orange Free State. It also shows the newly exploited gold fields in Mozambique and in what is today Zimbabwe (coloured in yellow). The discovery of diamonds was the first step in the ?Mineral Revolution? that utterly transformed South Africa?s politics, economy and society, underpinning the development of the modern nation. This map, perhaps more clearly than any other document, illustrates the genesis of the revolution, and is thus in and of itself an important artefact of the era. The fact that this particular example of the map, a portable edition folding into its original covers, showing signs of practical use in the field (quite possibly by a diamond or gold miner!), only adds to the palpable sense that the map is a part of the same story it tells. The map takes in much of Southern Africa, including all of modern day South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, as well as parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia. Issued by James Wyld the Younger, then perhaps the world?s leading map publisher, it is based on the most accurate geographic information available, for Wyld had long had a line on the most authoritative and ground-breaking sources, having produced several progressively updated general maps of South Africa since 1843, with the first issue of his special Diamond & Gold map being issued in 1871. The Diamond and Gold Regions are clearly marked, while all the major routes to the mineral fields are highlighted in red, with the map meticulously labeling all significant cities, towns and villages, as well as major roads, rivers, geographical features and political jurisdictions. That being said, many areas beyond the realm of European settlement are little known, with vast expanses remaining complete enigmas. The British domains of the Cape Colony and Natal, outlined in pink, take up all of western and coastal South Africa. In the interior northeast are the independent Afrikaner Republics of Transvaal (outlined in orange) and the Orange Free State (outlined in green), the latter of which is shown to have an undefined border with the Cape Colony, a matter which would lead to disputes and warfare in the near future, as diamonds made this land a prize worth fighting for. To the east, is Portuguese Mozambique, while to the north are the lands of the Mashona (Shona) and Matabele (Ndeble) peoples, in today?s Zimbabwe. Historical Context: Diamonds, Gold, War and the Foundation of Modern South Africa The present work is one of the very earliest maps to depict the momentous events that would dramatically alter both the history of Southern Africa, the British Empire and global mineral markets, with ramifications that have lasted to the present day. The discovery of vast diamond deposits, and later gold veins, set up an epic showdown between the British Empire and and the Afrikaners, as well as various indigenous nations for domination of South Africa. This eventually resulted in the union of South Africa under British rule, while the ?Mineral Revolution? led to the rapid industrialization and urbanization of South Africa. It also motivated the British to colonize Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). These developments also caused the economic and social dislocation of millions of people, and simmering injustices and resentments that would result in great political instability during the 20th Century. In the 1860s, there was no such thing as ?South Africa? as we know it today. Rather the region was composed of a series of distinct political entities, ruled by different powers, both indigenous and European in origin. As indicated on the present map, Britain ruled the Cape Colony, or the western part of modern South Africa (having acquired the region in 1806), as well as Natal, in the southeast (acquired in 1842). The interior northeast was dominated by the independent Afrikaner republics of the Orange Free State (founded 1854) and the Transvaal (formally named the ?South African Republic?, established 1856). The coastal areas to the northeast were part of Portuguese Mozambique, while the regions in the interior beyond European settlement were still held by indigenous powers, such as the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Shona peoples; who generally resented the European presence in there regions and often found themselves in conflict the colonizing powers. While the British and the Afrikaners were natural regional rivals, with their relationship always tense, the British were hitherto generally content to allow the Boers to farm the rugged interior with little interference. The fertile and temperate coastal areas were seen as far more precious than the rugged and politically unstable interior, hitherto thought to be light in natural resources; and so the British were content to let the Afrikaners be as they were. This ?detente? would unravel following a surprise event. In 1867, a 15-year old boy named Erasmus Jacobs found a bizarre, shinny pebble along the banks of the Orange River at Hopetown, Cape Colony (marked near the centre of the present map), very close to the border of British and Afrikaner Territory. The rock was greeted with fascination in the town and was sent off to be assayed. It turned out to be a 21.24 Carat gem, soon to become famous as the ?Eureka Diamond?. It was purchased Sir Richard Southey, the Governor of the Cape Colony, for ?500. Shortly thereafter, it became an international spectacle, upon being displayed at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. From then on, isolated diamond finds were made in the area near the confluence of the Orange and Vaal rivers, although not enough diamonds were found to cause much of a sensation. However, the discovery of the ?Star of South Africa?, a massive 83.5 Carat gem in 1869, in the Orange Valley, proved to be a turning point in the region?s history. The more prescient observers recognized the magnitude of the event. Sir Richard Southey, who, in a dramatic flourish, laid the Star upon a table before the Cape Parliament, declared: ?Gentlemen, this is the rock on which the future of South Africa will be built?. The diamond subsequently sold in London for ?25,000, an enormous sum for the time. Prospectors came to the Diamond Region, and in particular to what was viewed the be the most promising area, near where the Vaal and Hart Rivers meet, by the old missionary outpost of Pniel (founded 1849). Mining camps were set up at various locations marked on the present map such as ?Hebron?, ?Klip Dr.? (Klip Drift, today?s Barkly West), ?Keiskamma? (Kuskamana), and ?Sand Dr? (Sand Drift). However, for some months, very little was found, and it looked as if the rush might be a false alarm. Then, beginning in January 1870, the miners started to find diamonds ? and lots and lots of diamonds! News spread fast and soon thousands of prospectors and entrepreneurs flooded to this remote and sparsely populated region. People came not only from across Southern Africa, but from Britain and Continental Europe, as well as seasoned gold diggers from places such as California and Australia. By August 12, 1870 the Grahamstown Journal published the following entry; ?Every town and district in the Colony has sent its contingent to the army of workers at the Vaal fields. In May there were about one hundred men at the diggings. Before the end of June there were seven hundred, at the close of July there were over one thousand, and at present it is estimated that there are at the Klipdrift, Pniel, Hebron and Kuskamana Fields no less than two thousand men.? The mining operations in the region near the confluence of the Orange and Hart rivers continued to proliferate. By April of 1871, there were at least 5,000 miners in the area, and as the brilliant white alluvia diamonds could be found even some distance from the river beds, claims were being mined along the gravel terraces as much a four mules inland from the banks, on either side of the rivers. Returning to the map, one will be able to clearly see how these events directly led to momentous political problems. As shown, the ?Diamond Region? straddles the territory of the Orange Free State and the disputed borderland with the Cape Colony, with the best diamond area located immediately upon the most hotly contested land. For some years, much of the land had been in the possession of the Grinqua people, a tribe of part indigenous, part European ranchers. The labeling of ?Grinqua T.? (Grinqua Town) alludes to the fact that this region was commonly called Grinqualand. The territory in the western part of the Diamond Region, marked as ?Waterboers Country?, was under the rule of the Grinqua chief, Nicholas Waterboer. The Afrikaners and the British disputed the ownership of the Grinqualand with the Grinquas, with an arbitration panel in 1870 ruling that much of the region belonged to the Grinquas. This decision angered the largely British prospectors, who in July 1870, declared their own independent miners? state of the ?Klip Drift Republic?. This declaration was not taken seriously be the Cape colonial authorities, who proceeded to pay off Nicholas Waterboer and other Grinqua chiefs, thus claiming much of Grinqualand for Britain. Late in 1870, the Governor of the Cape, Sir Henry Barkly, visited the regions, asserted Britain?s de facto control of the region. Naturally, the Afrikaners were incensed, seeing the British actions not only a ?land grab? of their territory, but (presciently) as a clear and present danger to the future independence of their republics. As the Diamond Rush gained intensity, the British appetite for more and more territory in region grew, leaving the Afrikaners ever more threatened. Britain and the Afrikaner republics were now on a collision course. Not to be forgotten, the map also shows the gold fields in Mozambique and what is today Zimbabwe. While gold was discovered in the Transvaal in trace amounts as early as 1850, gold was not considered to be a major issue in South Africa in the 1870s (although this, as we will see, would change). However, Europeans had long known that large gold finds existed in the interior, further to the north. Fro centuries, Arab and Portuguese traders operating along the coasts had been purchasing gold said to be from this region. As shown on the present map, more recently, the Portuguese colonial regime had begun to exploit the massive Manica Gold Field, in the interior of Mozambique. Meanwhile, European (largely British) prospectors were furtively prospecting in the ?Victoria Diggings? in the ?Makadaka? territory and the ?Northern Gold Fields? of in Mashonaland. Intensifying British interest in these gold fields would lead to the British South Africa Company to formally establish the colony of Rhodesia in 1895 (later to be divided into North Rhodesia (Zambia) and South Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)). The present map, while dated 1872, was quite likely printed near the end of 1871 (it was common publisher?s practice to date post-date maps a little, so that they seemed ?new? and even more ?groundbreaking?), with its information current up to mid-1871 (one must account for the time lag for information to reach London from South Africa). Thus, the map shows the political state in flux, with the political boundaries between the Cape and the Orange Free State undetermined, and with political tensions on the rise as the Diamond Rush gained intensity. In this sense, on this map, perhaps more than on any other document, one can see the genesis of the great events that were not only to transform South Africa, but the entire British Empire. Meanwhile, while the present map was being prepared in London, a group of prospectors named the ?Red Cap Party? found large deposits of diamonds at Vooruitzigt, the farm of the De Beers Brothers. News of this find caused a massive stampede of people to the area, giving birth to the mining town of ?New Rush?. Within months 800 claims were cut into the hillock near the town. This rise would eventually be levelled down and then dug deep into the ground, forming a massive open pit mine, ?The Big Hole?, the largest diamond mine on Earth. In 1873, New Rush would be renamed Kimberly, after the British colonial Secretary. Importantly, the British annexed much of Grinqualand in 1872. From that point onwards, Britain place ever-greater pressure on the Afrikaner Republics, eventually attempting to annex these states in 1880. What followed was the Frist Anglo-Boer War (1880-1), a short, but sharp conflict during which the Boers defeated the British, so reasserting their independence. However, British adventures and agents continued to control diamond mining in the region, in 1888 consolidating their interests into the De Beers Company, which would hold a virtual global monopoly of diamonds for generations. With the discovery of the Witwatersrand Gold Vein in 1886 (near the modern location of Johannesburg), by far the world?s largest gold find, the main focus of political and economic energy in South Africa would turn towards gold. This led to an unprecedented gold rush and the urbanization and industrialization of the Transvaal. It would also lead to another war between Britain and the Afrikaners, the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902). Following this conflict the British would vanquish the Afrikaners and gain full control over South Africa. Yet the war proved a pyrrhic victory, so costly in blood and treasure that it left Britain severely weakened going into World War I, thus setting the British Empire on a path towards its demise. The ?Mineral Revolution?, fuelled by gold and diamonds allowed South Africa to become the most advanced, industrialized economy on the continent. However, it also concentrated all economic and political power into the hands of a small number of White elites, who would back the creation of the Apartheid State in 1948. This was followed by an epic struggle by the majority of South Africans for their freedom from this oppressive regime, which would end only with Nelson Mandela?s release from prison in February 1990. The Rarity of the Present Map The present 1872 state of Wyld?s important series of diamond maps of South Africa is the earliest edition that we are aware of as having come to market in at least some decades, and is apparently unrecorded, as we cannot trace another example of, or reference to, this state. It is the second state, of five known states, of the map, with Wyld issuing editions in 1871, 1872, 1874, 1876, 1878, during which the succeeding states were progressively updated. We know of only 3 examples from the map series, in any of the states, in institutional collections: the British Library holds examples of the 1871 (1st) and 1876 (4th) states; while Yale University Library holds an example of the 1874 (3rd) state. In records going back 30 years, we note only a single example of the 1874 state and 2 examples of the 1878 state coming to market; References: Dasa Pahor ? 1872 edition apparently unrecorded. Cf. OCLC - (1871 ed.): 556284169; (1874 ed.): 54632943; (1876 ed.): 556284179.
Last updated: Oct 27, 2018