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The Diamond & Gold Mines of South Africa

Rare map of the Adamantia region of South Africa, published by James Wyld.

A very early map of the diamond fields. Pniel is shown but not Kimberley. The gold fields indicated are the Manica and Northern Gold Fields. The gold fields of the eastern Transvaal are not marked, nor, of course, the Witwatersrand.

This rare broadsheet map focuses on the region then called Adamantia, the Southern African Diamond Fields. The map was first published in 1871.

The map marks the goldfields in the Transvaal and to the north, in the Matabele, Mashona and Manica tribal areas.


The map is very rare. We locate only the example offered by Ashley Baynton-Williams in 2003 (1878 edition).

James Wyld Biography

James Wyld Sr. (1790-1836) was a British cartographer and one of Europe’s leading mapmakers. He made many contributions to cartography, including the introduction of lithography into map printing in 1812.

William Faden, another celebrated cartographer, passed down his mapmaking business to Wyld in 1823. The quality and quantity of Faden’s maps, combined with Wyld’s considerable skill, brought Wyld great prestige.

Wyld was named geographer to Kings George IV and William IV, as well as HRH the Duke of York. In 1825, he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Also in 1830, his son, James Wyld Jr., took over his publishing house. Wyld Sr. died of overwork on October 14, 1836.

James Wyld Jr. (1812-87) was a renowned cartographer in his own right and he successfully carried on his father’s business. He gained the title of Geographer to the Queen and H.R.H. Prince Albert. Punch (1850) described him in humorous cartographic terms, “If Mr. Wyld’s brain should be ever discovered (we will be bound he has a Map of it inside his hat), we should like to have a peep at it, for we have a suspicion that the two hemispheres must be printed, varnished, and glazed, exactly like a pair of globes.”