Hong Kong the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region. Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842; the colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The entire territory was transferred to China in 1997; as a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that of mainland China and its people identify more as Hongkongers rather than Chinese. A sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports.
It is the world's seventh-largest trading entity, its legal tender is the world's 13th-most traded currency. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality; the territory has the largest number of skyscrapers in most surrounding Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, has the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. Although over 90 per cent of its population uses public transportation, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates; the name of the territory, first spelled "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780 referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between local fishermen. Although the source of the romanised name is unknown, it is believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng; the name translates as "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour".
"Fragrant" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's freshwater influx from the Pearl River or to the odor from incense factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export. Sir John Davis offered an alternative origin; the simplified name Hong Kong was used by 1810 written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government adopted the two-word name; some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong Land, Hongkong Electric and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The region is first known to have been occupied by humans during the Neolithic period, about 6,000 years ago. Early Hong Kong settlers were a semi-coastal people who migrated from inland and brought knowledge of rice cultivation; the Qin dynasty incorporated the Hong Kong area into China for the first time in 214 BCE, after conquering the indigenous Baiyue. The region was consolidated under the Nanyue kingdom after the Qin collapse, recaptured by China after the Han conquest.
During the Mongol conquest, the Southern Song court was located in modern-day Kowloon City before its final defeat in the 1279 Battle of Yamen. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, seven large families had settled in the region and owned most of the land. Settlers from nearby provinces migrated to Kowloon throughout the Ming dynasty; the earliest European visitor was Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares, who arrived in 1513. Portuguese merchants established a trading post called in Hong Kong waters, began regular trade with southern China. Although the traders were expelled after military clashes in the 1520s, Portuguese-Chinese trade relations were reestablished by 1549. Portugal acquired a permanent lease for Macau in 1557. After the Qing conquest, maritime trade was banned under the Haijin policies; the Kangxi Emperor lifted the prohibition, allowing foreigners to enter Chinese ports in 1684. Qing authorities established the Canton System in 1757 to regulate trade more restricting non-Russian ships to the port of Canton.
Although European demand for Chinese commodities like tea and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant. To counter the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China. Faced with a drug crisis, Qing officials pursued ever-more-aggressive actions to halt the opium trade; the Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalise and tax opium, ordering imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade in 1839. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, forcing a British military response and triggering the First Opium War; the Qing ceded Hong Kong Island in the Convention of Chuenpi. However, both countries did not ratify the agreement. After over a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. Administrative infrastructure was built up by early 1842, but piracy and hostile Qing policies towards Hong Kong prevented the government from attracting merchants.
The Taiping Rebellion, when many wealthy Chinese fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colon
Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Canton of Geneva; the municipality has a population of 200,548, the canton has 495,249 residents. In 2014, the compact agglomération du Grand Genève had 946,000 inhabitants in 212 communities in both Switzerland and France. Within Swiss territory, the commuter area named "Métropole lémanique" contains a population of 1.26 million. This area is spread east from Geneva towards the Riviera area and north-east towards Yverdon-les-Bains, in the neighbouring canton of Vaud. Geneva is a global city, a financial centre, a worldwide centre for diplomacy due to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Geneva hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world, it is where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.
In 2017, Geneva was ranked as the world's fifteenth most important financial centre for competitiveness by the Global Financial Centres Index, fifth in Europe behind London, Zürich and Luxembourg. In 2019 Geneva was ranked among the ten most liveable cities in the world by Mercer together with Zürich and Basel; the city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolis and the "Peace Capital". In 2017, Geneva was ranked as the seventh most expensive city in the world. Geneva was ranked third in purchasing power in a global cities ranking by UBS in 2018; the city was mentioned in Latin texts, by Caesar, with the spelling Genava from the Celtic *genawa- from the stem *genu-, in the sense of a bending river or estuary. The medieval county of Geneva in Middle Latin was known as pagus major Genevensis or Comitatus Genevensis. After 1400 it became the Genevois province of Savoy; the name takes various forms in modern languages, Geneva in English, French: Genève, German: Genf, Italian: Ginevra, Romansh: Genevra.
The city shares the origin of * genawa "estuary", with the Italian port city of Genoa. Geneva was an Allobrogian border town, fortified against the Helvetii tribe, when the Romans took it in 121 BC, it became Christian under the Late Roman Empire, acquired its first bishop in the 5th century, having been connected to the Bishopric of Vienne in the 4th. In the Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by a count under the Holy Roman Empire until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance. Around this time, the House of Savoy came to at least nominally dominate the city. In the 15th century, an oligarchic republican government emerged with the creation of the Grand Council. In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife, during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy. In 1541, with Protestantism on the rise, John Calvin, the Protestant Reformer and proponent of Calvinism, became the spiritual leader of the city and established the Republic of Geneva.
By the 18th century, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own. France tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk, which inspired the failed Geneva Revolution of 1782, an attempt to win representation in the government for men of modest means. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations. Geneva is located at 46°12' North, 6°09' East, at the south-western end of Lake Geneva, where the Rhône flows out, it is surrounded by three mountain chains, each belonging to the Jura: the Jura main range lies north-westward, the Vuache southward, the Salève south-eastward. The city covers an area of 15.93 km2, while the area of the canton is 282 km2, including the two small exclaves of Céligny in Vaud.
The part of the lake, attached to Geneva has an area of 38 km2 and is sometimes referred to as petit lac. The canton has only a 4.5-kilometre-long border with the rest of Switzerland. Of 107.5 km of border, 103 are shared with France, the Département de l'Ain to the north and west and the Département de la Haute-Savoie to the south and east. Of the land in the city, 0.24 km2, or 1.5%, is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.5 km2, or 3.1%, is forested. The rest of the land, 14.63 km2, or 91.8%, is built up, 0.49 km2, or 3.1%, is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2, or 0.1%, is wasteland. Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 3.4%, housing and buildings made up 46.2% and transportation infrastructure 25.8%, while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 15.7%. Of the agricultural land, 0.3% is used for growing crops. Of the water in the municipality, 0.2 % is composed of lakes and 2.9 % streams. The altitude of Geneva is 373.6 metres, corresponds to the altitude of
Gauteng, which means "place of gold", is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. Situated in the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, accounting for only 1.5% of the land area. It is urbanised, containing the country's largest city, its administrative capital and other large areas such as Midrand and Vanderbijlpark; as of 2018, Gauteng is the most populous province in South Africa with a population of 14,700,000 people according to estimates. The name Gauteng is derived from gauta meaning "gold" with the locative suffix - eng. "Gauta" itself is derived from the Dutch word for gold, goud. There was a thriving gold industry in the province following the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg. In Sesotho, the name Gauteng was used for Johannesburg and surrounding areas long before it was adopted in 1994 as the official name of a province. Gauteng was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first multiracial elections on 27 April 1994, it was named Pretoria–Witwatersrand–Vereeniging and was renamed "Gauteng" in December 1994..
The term "PWV", describing the region existed long before the establishment of the province. The history of the area, now Gauteng can be traced back to the early 1800s when settlers originating from the Cape Colony defeated chief Mzilikazi and started establishing villages in the area; the city of Pretoria was founded in 1855 as capital of the South African Republic. After the discovery of gold in 1886, the region proceeded to become the single largest gold producer in the world and the city of Johannesburg was founded; the older city Pretoria was not subject to development. Pretoria grew at a slower rate and was regarded due to its role in the Second Boer War; the Cullinan Diamond, the largest diamond mined was mined near Pretoria in a nearby town called Cullinan in the year 1905. Gauteng has only been properly documented since the 1800s and as a result, not much information regarding its history predating the 1800s is available. At the Sterkfontein caves, some of the oldest fossils of hominids have been discovered, such as Mrs. Ples and Little Foot.
Many crucial events happened in present-day Gauteng with regards to the anti-apartheid struggle, such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the Rivonia Trial in 1963 and 1964 and the Soweto Uprising of 1976. Today, the Apartheid Museum stands testament to these struggles in Johannesburg. Gauteng is governed by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, a 73-person unicameral legislature elected by party-list proportional representation; the legislature elects one of its members as Premier of Gauteng to lead the executive, the Premier appoints an Executive Council of up to 10 members of the legislature to serve as heads of the various government departments. The provincial government is responsible for the topics allocated to it in the national constitution, including such fields as basic education, housing, social services and environmental protection; the most recent election of the provincial legislature was held on 7 May 2014, the African National Congress won 53.59% of the vote and a 40-seat majority in the legislature.
The official opposition is the Democratic Alliance, which won 30.78 % of 23 seats. Other parties represented are the Economic Freedom Fighters with eight seats and the Freedom Front Plus and the Inkatha Freedom Party with one seat each. Premier David Makhura of the ANC was elected on 21 May 2014, at the first meeting of the legislature after the general election; the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa, which has seats in Pretoria and Johannesburg, is a superior court with general jurisdiction over the province. Johannesburg is home to the Constitutional Court, South Africa's highest court, to a branch of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court. Gauteng's southern border is the Vaal River, it borders on North West to the west, Limpopo to the north, Mpumalanga to the east. Gauteng is the only landlocked province of South Africa without a foreign border. Most of Gauteng is on a high-altitude grassland. Between Johannesburg and Pretoria there are low parallel ridges and undulating hills, some part of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Witwatersrand.
The north of the province is more subtropical, due to its lower altitude and is dry savanna habitat. In the southern half of Gauteng the Witwatersrand area is an old term describing a 120km wide oblong-shaped conurbation from Randfontein in the West to Nigel, Gauteng in the East; this area is often referred to as "Witwatersrand", "the Rand" or "the Reef". It has traditionally been divided into the three areas of Central Rand and West Rand; the climate is influenced by altitude. Though the province is at a subtropical latitude, the climate is comparatively cooler in Johannesburg, at 1,700 m above sea level. Most precipitation occurs as brief afternoon thunderstorms. Winters are crisp and dry with frost occurring in the southern areas. Snow is rare; the Gauteng Province is divided into three metropolitan municipalities and two district municipalities. The district municipalities are
Pretoria is a city in the northern part of Gauteng province in South Africa. It straddles the Apies River and has spread eastwards into the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains, it is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the seat of the administrative branch of government, of foreign embassies to South Africa. Pretoria has a reputation for being an academic city with three universities, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Human Sciences Research Council; the city hosts the National Research Foundation and the South African Bureau of Standards making the city a hub for research. Pretoria is the central part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, formed by the amalgamation of several former local authorities including Centurion and Soshanguve. There have been proposals to change the name of Pretoria itself to Tshwane, the proposed name change has caused some public controversy. Pretoria is named after the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, within South Africa sometimes called the "Jacaranda City" due to the thousands of jacaranda trees planted in its streets and gardens.
Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius and chose a spot on the banks of the "Apies rivier" to be the new capital of the South African Republic. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over Dingane and the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River; the elder Pretorius negotiated the Sand River Convention, in which the UK acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal. It became the capital of the South African Republic on 1 May 1860; the founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers' settlement movements of the Great Trek. During the First Boer War, the city was besieged by Republican forces in December 1880 and March 1881; the peace treaty which ended the war was signed in Pretoria on 3 August 1881 at the Pretoria Convention. The Second Boer War resulted in the end of the Transvaal Republic and start of British hegemony in South Africa.
The city surrendered to British forces under Frederick Roberts on 5 June 1900 and the conflict was ended in Pretoria with the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902 at Melrose House. The Pretoria Forts were built for the defence of the city just prior to the Second Boer War. Though some of these forts are today in ruins, a number of them have been preserved as national monuments; the Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange River Colony were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital and Bloemfontein served as the judicial capital. Between 1910 and 1994, the city was the capital of the province of Transvaal. On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status; when South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital. Pretoria is situated 55 km north-northeast of Johannesburg in the northeast of South Africa, in a transitional belt between the plateau of the Highveld to the south and the lower-lying Bushveld to the north.
It lies at an altitude of about 1,339 m above sea level, in a warm, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range. Pretoria has a humid subtropical climate with long hot rainy summers and short cool to cold, dry winters; the city experiences the typical winters of South Africa with cold, clear nights and mild to moderately warm days. Although the average lows during winter are mild, it can get cold due to the clear skies, with nighttime low temperatures in recent years in the range of 2 to −5 °C; the average annual temperature is 18.7 °C. This is rather high, considering the city's high altitude of about 1,339 metres, is due to its sheltered valley position, which acts as a heat trap and cuts it off from cool southerly and south-easterly air masses for much of the year. Rain is chiefly concentrated in the summer months, with drought conditions prevailing over the winter months, when frosts may be sharp. Snowfall is an rare event. During a nationwide heatwave in November 2011, Pretoria experienced temperatures that reached 39 °C, unusual for that time of the year.
Similar record-breaking extreme heat events occurred in January 2013, when Pretoria experienced temperatures exceeding 37 °C on several days. The year 2014 was one of the wettest on record for the city. A total of 914 mm fell up with 220 mm recorded in this month alone. In 2015 Pretoria saw its worst drought since 1982. January 2016 saw Pretoria reach a new record high of 44 °C on 7 January 2016. Depending on the extent of the area understood to constitute "Pretoria", the population ranges from 700,000 to 2.95 million. The main languages spoken in Pretoria are Sepedi, Setswana, Xitsonga and English; the city of Pretoria has the largest white population in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since its founding it has been a major Afrikaner population centre
Cullinan is a small town 30 km east of Pretoria, South Africa. It is a small town along the diamond route, reliant on tourism and the mine that dominates the skyline; the town is named after diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan. In 1898 Sir Thomas Cullinan was handed a three carat diamond found along a farm fence, he came to the conclusion that the diamond was washed down from a nearby hill. Sir Cullinan did not succeed. After Prinsloo's death, he was able to purchase the land for ₤52,000 from Prinsloo's daughter; the Cullinan kimberlite was discovered in 1903 open pit mining commenced. The mine was named the Premier mine. On 25 June 1905, the famed Cullinan Diamond, the largest in the world at 3,106 carats, was discovered by Frederick George Stanley Wells, surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company, it was bought by the Transvaal government and presented to King Edward VII. The town of Cullinan owes its existence to the diamond mining in this area, much like Kimberly in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Cullinan is situated in the Highveld region of South Africa. The town has an elevation of 1476 m and is located at −25.6709, 28.5236. The closest city is Pretoria being 40 km away. Cullinan formed part of the Nokeng tsa Taemane Local Municipality until 18 May 2011. Due to mismanagement of funds, this municipality was disbanded and incorporated into the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Various operators offer tours around Cullinan. Tourists can choose between tours around town, within the mining area and underground mining tours. Various means of transportation is used to provide these tours, the most popular being on an open vehicle or on foot. There are a few museums in the area around Cullinan. A few of the most popular ones are: The History room Cullinan; the McHardy house museum. The Zonderwater Italian POW museum The Sammy Marks Museum The mountainous terrain surrounding Cullinan offers multiple activities for more adventure-oriented people, like: Gorge gliding Horse riding Abseiling Bongo drum sessions ArcheryThere is an annual mountain bike race called the Cullinan Diamond Rush.
The church was designed by British architect Herbert Baker, a dominant figure in South African architecture between 1892–1912. The church was built in 1904 as the parish church for the miners; the church is a simple square structure with a corrugated iron roof. The first recorded meeting was held on April 22, 1906; the hospital was built in 1907, was opened by Annie Cullinan, wife of Sir Thomas Cullinan. It served only the European miners back but now serves the need of all the people living in Cullinan; the hospital has since closed down. The Nedbank building was built around 1908; the building is still in use today by the bank. The Premier Diamond Masonic Lodge was consecrated in the Cullinan School Hall and met there until 1909 when the new lodge building was completed at a cost of ₤1200. A feature of the Lodge's history has been the number of times it has been forced into recess, whether because of war, as in 1914 to 1916, disturbances leading to martial law, 1921 to 1922, the closing down of the diamond mine during the depression, 1932 to 1941.
However the Second World War saw military forces stationed on the mine and an adjoining farm and this helped the lodge to get restarted. In 1945 the mine was reopened, restoring'normality' to Cullinan, since the lodge's progress has been steady and sound; the lodge is still in use and looks the same as it did 100 years ago, having been preserved by active members. Rayton Petra Diamonds Media related to Cullinan at Wikimedia Commons Cullinan Meander Cullinan Gauteng
Christie's is a British auction house. It was founded in 1766 by James Christie, its main premises are on King Street, St James's, in London and in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The company is owned by the holding company of François-Henri Pinault. Sales in 2015 totalled £4.8 billion. In 2017 the Salvator Mundi was sold for $450.3 million at Christie's, which at that time was the highest price paid for a single painting at an auction. The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766. However, other sources note that James Christie rented auction rooms from 1762, newspaper advertisements for Christie's sales dating from 1759 have been traced. Christie's was a public company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, from 1973 to 1999. In 1974, Jo Floyd was appointed chairman of Christie's, he served as chairman of Christie's International plc from 1976 to 1988, until handing over to Lord Carrington, was a non-executive director until 1992.
Christie's International Inc. held its first sale in the United States in 1977. Christie's growth was steady since 1989, when it had 42 % of the auction market. In 1990, the company reversed a long-standing policy and guaranteed a minimum price for a collection of artworks in its May auctions. In 1996, sales exceeded those of Sotheby's for the first time since 1954. However, profits did not grow at the same pace. In 1993, Christie's paid $12.7 million for the London gallery Spink & Son, which specialised in Oriental art and British paintings. The company bought Leger Gallery for $3.3 million in 1996, merged it with Spink to become Spink-Leger. Spink-Leger closed in 2002. To make itself competitive with Sotheby's in the property market, Christie's bought Great Estates in 1995 the largest network of independent estate agents in North America, changing its name to Christie's Great Estates Inc. In December 1997, under the chairmanship of Lord Hindlip, Christie's put itself on the auction block, but after two months of negotiations with the consortium-led investment firm SBC Warburg Dillon Read it did not attract a bid high enough to accept.
In May 1998, François Pinault's holding company, Groupe Artémis S. A. first bought 29.1 percent of the company for $243.2 million, subsequently purchased the rest of it in a deal that valued the entire company at $1.2 billion. The company has since not been reporting profits, its policy, in line with UK accounting standards, is to convert non-UK results using an average exchange rate weighted daily by sales throughout the year. In 2002, Christie's France held its first auction in Paris. Like Sotheby's, Christie's became involved in high-profile private transactions. In 2006, Christie's offered a reported $21 million guarantee to the Donald Judd Foundation and displayed the artist's works for five weeks in an exhibition that won an AICA award for "Best Installation in an Alternative Space". In 2007 it brokered a $68 million deal that transferred Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic from the Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to joint ownership by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In the same year, the Haunch of Venison gallery became a subsidiary of the company. On 28 December 2008, The Sunday Times reported that Pinault's debts left him "considering" the sale of Christie's and that a number of "private equity groups" were thought to be interested in its acquisition. In January 2009, the company employed 2,100 people worldwide, though an unspecified number of staff and consultants were soon to be cut due to a worldwide downturn in the art market. With sales for premier Impressionist and contemporary artworks tallying only US$248.8 million in comparison to US$739 million just a year before, a second round of job cuts began after May 2009. Guy Bennett resigned just before to the beginning of the summer 2009 sales season. Although the economic downturn has encouraged some collectors to sell art, others are unwilling to sell in a market which may yield only bargain prices. On 1 January 2017, Guillaume Cerutti was appointed chief executive officer. Patricia Barbizet was appointed chief executive officer of Christie's in 2014, the first female CEO of the company.
She replaced Steven Murphy, hired in 2010 to develop their online presence and launch in new markets, such as China. In 2012, Impressionist works, which dominated the market during the 1980s boom, were replaced by contemporary art as Christie's top category. Asian art was the third most-lucrative area. With income from classic auctioneering falling, treaty sales made £413.4 million in the first half of 2012, an increase of 53% on the same period last year. The company has promoted curated events, centred on a theme rather than an art classification or time period; as part of a companywide review in 2017, Christie's announced the layoffs of 250 employees, or 12 percent of the total work force, based in Britain and Europe. From 2008 until 2013, Christie's charged 25 percent for the first $50,000. From 2013, it charged 25 percent for the first $75,000. Christie's main London salesroom is on
The Cullinan Diamond was the largest gem-quality rough diamond found, weighing 3,106.75 carats, discovered at the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It was named after the mine's chairman. In April 1905, it was put on sale in London, but despite considerable interest, it was still unsold after two years. In 1907 the Transvaal Colony government bought the Cullinan and presented it to Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, who had it cut by Asscher Brothers in Amsterdam. Cullinan produced stones of various cuts and sizes, the largest of, named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, at 530.4 carats it is the largest clear cut diamond in the world. The stone is mounted in the head of the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross; the second-largest is Cullinan II or the Second Star of Africa, weighing 317.4 carats, mounted in the Imperial State Crown. Both are part of the Crown Jewels. Seven other major diamonds, weighing a total of 208.29 carats, are owned by Elizabeth II, who inherited them from her grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1953.
The Queen owns minor brilliants and a set of unpolished fragments. The Cullinan is estimated to have formed in Earth's mantle transition zone at a depth of 410–660 km and reached the surface 1.18 billion years ago. It was found 18 feet below the surface at Premier Mine in Cullinan, Transvaal Colony, by Frederick Wells, surface manager at the mine, on 26 January 1905, it was 10.1 centimetres long, 6.35 centimetres wide, 5.9 centimetres deep, weighed 3,106 carats. Newspapers called it the "Cullinan Diamond", a reference to Sir Thomas Cullinan, who opened the mine in 1902, it was three times the size of the Excelsior Diamond, found in 1893 at Jagersfontein Mine, weighing 972 carats. Four of its eight surfaces were smooth, indicating that it once had been part of a much larger stone broken up by natural forces, it had a blue-white hue and contained a small pocket of air, which at certain angles produced a rainbow, or Newton's rings. Shortly after its discovery, Cullinan went on public display at the Standard Bank in Johannesburg, where it was seen by an estimated 8,000–9,000 visitors.
In April 1905, the rough gem was deposited with Premier Mining Co.'s London sales agent, S. Neumann & Co. Due to its immense value, detectives were assigned to a steamboat, rumoured to be carrying the stone, a parcel was ceremoniously locked in the captain's safe and guarded on the entire journey, it was a diversionary tactic – the stone on that ship was fake, meant to attract those who would be interested in stealing it. Cullinan was sent to the United Kingdom in a plain box via registered post. On arriving in London, it was conveyed to Buckingham Palace for inspection by King Edward VII, it drew considerable interest from potential buyers. Transvaal Prime Minister, Louis Botha, suggested buying the diamond for Edward VII as "a token of the loyalty and attachment of the people of the Transvaal to His Majesty's throne and person". In August 1907, a vote was held in Parliament on the Cullinan's fate, a motion authorising the purchase was carried by 42 votes in favour to 19 against. Henry Campbell-Bannerman British Prime Minister, advised the king to decline the offer, but he decided to let Edward VII choose whether or not to accept the gift.
He was persuaded by Winston Churchill Colonial Under-Secretary. For his trouble, Churchill was sent a replica, which he enjoyed showing off to guests on a silver plate; the Transvaal Colony government bought the diamond on 17 October 1907 for £150,000 or about US$750,000 at the time, which adjusted for pound-sterling inflation is equivalent to £15 million in 2016. Due to a 60% tax on mining profits, the Treasury received some of its money back from the Premier Diamond Mining Company; the diamond was presented to the king at Sandringham House on 9 November 1907 – his sixty-sixth birthday – in the presence of a large party of guests, including the Queen of Norway, the Queen of Spain, the Duke of Westminster and Lord Revelstoke. The king asked his colonial secretary, Lord Elgin, to announce that he accepted the gift "for myself and my successors" and that he would ensure "this great and unique diamond be kept and preserved among the historic jewels which form the heirlooms of the Crown"; the king chose Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam to cleave and polish the rough stone into brilliant gems of various cuts and sizes.
Abraham Asscher collected it from the Colonial Office in London on 23 January 1908. He returned to the Netherlands by ferry with the diamond in his coat pocket. Meanwhile, to much fanfare, a Royal Navy ship carried an empty box across the North Sea, again throwing off potential thieves; the captain had no idea that his "precious" cargo was a decoy. On 10 February 1908, the rough stone was split in half by Joseph Asscher at his diamond-cutting factory in Amsterdam. At the time, technology had not yet evolved to guarantee the quality of modern standards, cutting the diamond was difficult and risky. After weeks of planning, an incision 0.5 inches deep was made to enable Asscher to cleave the diamond in one blow. Making the incision alone took four days, a steel knife broke on the first attempt, but a second knife was fitted into the groove and split it clean in two along one of four possible cleavage planes. In all and cutting the diamond took eight months, with three people working 14 hours per day to complete the task."The tale is told of Joseph Asscher, the greatest cleaver of the day," wrote Matthew Hart in his book Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession, "that when he prepared to cleave