Basutoland is a former British Protectorate (now the Kingdom of Lesotho) nestled in the Maluti and Drakensberg mountains, surrounded by South Africa. Geological knowledge about Basutoland started with the activities of French missionaries in the 1830s and continued to accumulate throughout the nineteenth century. Systematic geological mapping began in 1902–1904 with the work of Ernest Schwarz and Alexander du Toit, who, while working for the Geological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope, extended their mapping activities into Basutoland. In 1905 Samuel Dornan from Morija started studying the geology of that region of Basutoland. In the 1930s rumours about the finds of diamonds prompted the British Government to map the country geologically. Gordon Stockley, a geologist experienced in mapping for the Geological Survey of Tanganyika, was seconded to Basutoland in late 1938. Stockley mapped the whole country in 11 months in 1939, and then returned to Tanganyika. His geological map, at a scale of 1:380,160 was published in 1946, and the report appeared in 1947. At the start of his mapping, Stockley wrote to du Toit asking his advice on various matters related to the geology, geomorphology and palaeontology of Basutoland. Their correspondence lasted until 1946. Stockley’s map and report on Basutoland geology laid the foundation for all future exploration and led to the discovery of several diamondiferous kimberlite pipes in the 1960s, and to the establishment of several diamond mines that contribute significantly to the economy of modern Lesotho.

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