History of Southern Africa

Revenue Stamp issued for

Griqualand West, 1863-1880

The GRIQUA were descendants of Europeans and Hottentots. They spoke Afrikaans and had learned techniques from the Boers; in the late 18th century they had been evicted from the Cape Colony. They settled in the Oranje River Basin. In 1863 many of the Griqua sold their rights to the land to the Boers and moved across the Drakensberg into what was to be called Griqualand East. The Western Griqua did not.
In 1867, the first DIAMOND was found at a place dubbed KIMBERLEY, and a diamond was found. Suddenly, both the Boers and the British were interested in the sovereignty over the area. The area soon attracted a large number of white fortune hunters. When the South African Republic (= Boer Transvaal) claimed sovereignty over the area without Griqua consent, West Griqua chief NICOLAAS WATERBOER opted for British protection, and the Diamond miners proclaimed the DIGGER'S REPUBLIC, the flag of which included the Union Jack. Britain annexed Griqualand West in 1871; it was incorporated into the Cape Colony in 1880. From 1874 onward, stamps of the Cape overprinted 'G' (for Griqualand West) were in use (until 1880).

History of the Griqua Nation, from The Forgotten South African Currency : the Tokens of Strachan & Co.
The Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 : Kimberley & Diamond Fields Battlefield Route Guide, from South African Military History Society
Kimberley, History of, from Suedafrika.net
Africa map of 1890 featuring W. Griqualand, from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Am. edition 1890 from Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas
Encyclopedic description of Griqualand West's Philatelic History, from Sandafayre's Stamp Atlas, scroll down
DOCUMENTS Anthony Trollope, The Diamond Fields of South Africa, from Modern History Sourcebook
Flag of the Diggers' Republic (Griqualand West), from FOTW
Griqualandwest Coins, from Token Coins, scroll down

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 7th 2004

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