The place now known as Kimberley was well within the borders of Griqualand West when diamonds were discovered there in 1871. Hotly disputed by the Boer Republics who wanted the newly-found riches for themselves, Griqua Captain Andries Waterboer turned to the British Colonial government for help. The issue was resolved by Britain annexing the coveted spot.
On 5th July 1873 it was declared a separate district by Sir H. Barkly. The proclamation (Griqualand West Proclamations No. 22 of 1873) states: “
The encampment and town heretofore variously known as De Beer’s New Rush, the Colesberg Kopje number two, or Vooruitzigt, shall henceforth be designated the town of Kimberley.”
It was named after the then State Secretary, the Earl of Kimberley.
Today the original mine, the kopje which became the “Big Hole”, is a major tourist attraction as is a reconstruction of a street as it was during the time of “The Diggings”.
Kimberley is the capital and legislative seat of the Northern Cape Province.