Blood Diamonds Essay

Submitted By Devinhickman
Words: 1135
Pages: 5

Devin Hickman
Ms. Pyeatt
Social Studies

Diamonds in South Africa- Diamonds: Beautiful, hard to find, and powerful enough to change the corse of African history forever. This frenzy over sparkles changed both the economy, the European perspective on Africa, as well as creating one of the most brutal and bloody jobs in history. South Africa, 1860; A poverty stricken, undeveloped nation. The center of many wars, and a place of land that could not grow crops, "only 13.5% can be used for crop production, and only 3% is considered high potential land." (kjfisjfsi) The only crop that they made money off of was corn, and grain. All of this changed with a discovery that would mold the history of Africa forever. In 1867, the first diamond was found in south Africa, changing South Africa forever. It all started with expedition of Van der Stel, he had went to Modder Fontein, wandering around and unconsciously going around a huge diamond-field. This stone was discovered in the Groote River, which, a hundred years later, was christened the Orange.( jihhiiuhy ) the Orange River, thirty miles above its junction with the Vaal, was very hopeful and one of the most thriving of the small rivers going off of the Vaal. He decided to send the stone he found away, to a professional jeweler to see what it was. It came back, identified as a diamond, which was very rare at the time. Then, In March, 1869, a superb white diamond, weighing 83.5 carats, was found by a Griqua shepherd-boy on the farm Zendfonstein, close to the Orange River. (Stein R. Conrad) Telling the world the orange river was packed with diamonds! Europe was the first to take on this opportunity. As Europeans were trying to make money, and they wanted the land badly because the diamond was found before Great Britain took the Cape. Great Britian had already taken over most of south Africa, but they wanted more control, and money." A european man decided to go himself and dig some diamonds, he winded up earning 10,000 a week!" (Stein R. Conrad) Europe capitalized on the situation and decided to start a few colonies, for it wasn't much of a problem booting out the other tribes. The only tribes that occupied this area were the few weak native tribes the Koranas and Griquas, so it was simple to take over. The colonies did not bid well though, because of the fact that the temperature was a lot different then Europe, and also, there were food rations, because the geographic conditions were not able to grow crops. So they winded up sticking to simply mining. In less then a decade, they made 100 million in this business, none of which, went toward Africans, or Africa. The discovery brought a good mining industry and thousands of jobs, "the expansion of territories in south Africa such as Kimberley, (the city of diamonds,) also in Transvaal with the city of Johannesburg." (hgkh) Even with all the jobs and the new economy, there was still unresolved conflicts over land and labor that were getting worse as the British began to take over independent territories. "The Zulu Kingdom in 1879, would be one of them, the Brits wanted to get labor for not a lot of money. Leonard Thompson writes 'Whites were incorporating Africans into a capitalist, white-dominated economy. Many Africans were obliged to pay rent, or to provide the labor services for the right to live on land that whites had appropriated' (Thompson 111). " (1870 South Africa) Unfortunately It also brought a gruesome and terrible job. Blood diamonds, from the outside they may look like a regular gem thrown onto a chain, and placed apron the neck of someone who has enough money to flaunt it to the world. Underneath the shiny exterior, is a dark, dark, past that may have caused amputation, or possibly death. With almost 65% of the worlds diamonds coming from South Africa, there are way to many diamonds circulating around that cost a person a hand. When taken, kidnapped, or held at gunpoint to go work