– he started the De Beers Diamond Company. Remember Jeff’s post about the ‘tradition’ of giving diamond engagement rings being started by this company?
“By 1891, his De Beers Diamond Company controlled South Africa’s diamond production, which made up 90 percent of all the diamonds produced in the world.”
– he planned the annexation of Matabeleland, which he called Rhodesia. (Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia are now Zambia and Zanzibar respectively.)
– “At dinner one night at Osborne House, the Queen entertained a famous admiral whose hearing was impaired. Politely, Victoria had asked about his fleet and its activities; then, shifting the subject, she asked about the admiral’s sister, and elderly dowager of awesome dignity. The admiral thought she was inquiring about his flagship, which was in need of overhaul. “Well, ma’am,” he said, “as soon as I get back I’m going to have her hauled out, roll her on her side and have the barnacles scraped off her bottom.” Victoria stared at him for a second and then, for minutes after, the dining room shook with her unstoppable peals of laughter.”
– About Alfred von Tirpitz: “His favourite drink, it was said, was “North Sea foam”.