The year 1870 was a turning point in southern Africa’s history. It ushered in an era of dramatic change prompted by the discovery of first diamonds and then gold in the southern African interior. The industrial mining cities that developed to exploit these valuable minerals transformed the social, economic and political life of the subcontinent. This transformation is known to historians as the southern African ‘mineral revolution’. It began with the discovery of huge quantities of diamonds in the region of modern Kimberley in the period 1869–71.
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