The Republic of Klipdrift is proclaimed

Saturday, 30 July 1870

The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 resulted in a flood of treasure hunters, especially from England, streaming to the interior of the country. Ownership of the diamond fields was contested by the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, as well as various other groups like the KhoiKhoi, Koranas under Andries Waterboer, and the Batlhaping under Chief Mankuroane.

In 1870, Transvaal President Andries Pretorius declared the diamond fields as Boer property. Immigrant miners were enraged and a former British sailor called Stafford Parker organised his fellow countrymen and drove all the Transvaal officials out of the area. On 30 July 1870 he declared the Klipdrift Republic and by December of the same year about 10 000 British settlers made their home in the new republic. Parker was also chosen as President It was also called the Digger's Republic and the Republic of Griqualand West.

The republic sat next to the Vaal River, but existed for an extremely short time. During the following year Boer forces attempted to regain the territory through negotiation, but were unsuccessful, and on 27 October 1871 British forces marched in and occupied the small country. It became the Griqualand West colony and eventually was incorporated into the Orange Free State.

Read more about the Digger's Republic.

• Potgieter, D.J. (ed) 1973. Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa POP-SLA. Cape Town: Nasionale Opvoedkundige Uitgewery.

Last updated : 16-Jul-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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