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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 'row about the Great Diamond': the presentation of the Cullinan Diamond to the British Crown, 1907
Author:Guest, BillISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:political conflicts
colonial history
Abstract:The gift of the Cullinan Diamond - the largest diamond ever discovered - to the British Crown is remembered as a manifestation of a conciliatory policy which the Botha-Smuts Ministry embarked upon following the victory of their party the 'Vereeniging Het Volk' in the February 1907 Transvaal elections. This was indeed a magnanimous gesture and a source of reassurance both to liberal sympathizers in Britain and to many 'British' voters in the Transvaal. It however also served a party-political purpose in that it confronted the progressive opposition with an embarrassing choice. Support of the proposal would have contradicted their consistent criticism of the government in connection with the Transvaal's weak financial and economic condition. Their eventual opposition to the gift appeared to reject the hand of conciliation and the generous gesture of loyalty to a Crown to which they had always claimed devotion. The parliamentary debate which preceded the presentation of the Cullinan Diamond marked a singular victory for 'Het Volk' and weakened the progressive opposition's standing with its mining-house financial backers. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [Journal abstract]