Kimberley (kĭmˈbərlē) [key], city, now part and seat of Sol Plaatje local municipality, Northern Cape prov., South Africa. Since the 19th cent. the city has been primarily a diamond-mining center, but underground mining, which had not been profitable for some time, was halted in mid-2005. The mine's tailings dumps continue to be processed, and textiles, construction materials, and machinery are manufactured. Kimberley is also an important railroad junction.
The city was founded in 1871 when diamonds were discovered on a nearby farm. The De Beers Consolidated Mines, organized by Cecil Rhodes, assumed control of the diamond fields in 1888, and its headquarters are still in Kimberley. In 1899–1900, during the South African War, the city was besieged for 124 days by Boer (Afrikaner) forces. Northern Cape Urban FET College and the McGregor Museum are in Kimberley.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South African Political Geography