Kimberley is famous worldwide for diamonds and is the hometown of De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company. Diamonds were discovered there in 1871 on a small hill which became known as Colesberg Koppie, and within a few months there were over 30,000 men searching for diamonds in an area roughly 300m by 200m. When the hill had been dug away they continued digging, and the result was a huge hole. It was there that the 83.5 carat diamond, the famous Star of Africa, was found.
The town was renamed Kimberley on 5 July 1873, after the Colonial Secretary of the region.
Imperialist Cecil John Rhodes’s ambition was to control all the diamond mines around Kimberley. His only competition was from Barney Barnato, chief executive of the Kimberley Central Mining Company. Rhodes finally bought him out in 1889 for £5,338,650 and membership in the exclusive Kimberley Club, which had previously been denied to Barnarto. De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd was formed and became the richest diamond company in the world.
The big hole still dominates the city today, though diamonds are not mined there anymore. At 393m deep, it is the largest manman hole in the world and has a perimeter of 1.7km.