Topic Requirements as per curriculum


The Mineral Revolution in South Africa began took place after the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley in 1867 and continued with the discovery of deep-level gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886. The British were already colonising parts of Southern Africa at the time of the discovery of diamonds, and the Industrial Revolution in Britain made it a more powerful and determined colonising power. The new diamond wealth in South Africa gradually pulled the British into controlling the whole of South Africa.


Changes during the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in South Africa brought about by diamond mining and Britain’s increasing interests in South Africa.

Content and concepts

Changes during the Industrial Revolution in Britain

  • Wealth from slave trade
  • Economy before the Industrial Revolution: farming economy, cottage industries
  • What the Industrial Revolution was
  • Social changes during the Industrial Revolution

Urbanisation and changing living conditions – lives of the working class, including overcrowded housing, poverty and workhouses

The mines and factories - child labour in mills and mines

  • Labour, resistance, the trade union movement and working class organisations

Swing Riots (agriculture); Luddites (industry)

Grand National Consolidated Trades Union (1833)

  • Increased power and wealth of Britain and Western European economies

Southern Africa by 1860

  • Map and brief description of political settlement
  • Indentured labour from India to work on sugar plantations in British colony of Natal

India as a British colony

Reasons why labour was imported: Zulu kingdom was still independent

Reasons for demand for sugar in Britain

Conditions under which indentured labourers lived and worked

Passenger Indians 1869 onwards

Diamond mining in Kimberley 1867 onwards

  • Why diamonds are valuable
  • British take-over of diamond-rich land in Griqualand West

Diamond-mining and the development of a monopoly: one person one claim; what happened to black claimholders; problems related to digging deeper; the formation of companies; Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato; the formation of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited; regulating supply and the price of diamonds