Sir Robert Williams, 1st Baronet, of Park

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For other people named Robert Williams, see Robert Williams (disambiguation).
Caricature by Celso Herminio showing Robert Williams, a contract in his pocket, giving Portugal a railway line in Lobito.

Sir Robert Williams, 1st Baronet, of Park (21 January 1860 – 25 April 1938) was a Scottish mining engineer, pioneering explorer of Africa, entrepreneur, and railroad developer who was chiefly responsible for the discovery of the vast copper deposits in Katanga Province (now incorporated in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).

Williams was closely associated, variously as an employee of, advisor to, and partner with Cecil Rhodes in his many enterprises from the time of their first meeting in 1885 at the de Beers diamond mine in Kimberley until Rhodes’s death in 1902. Williams planned and executed the creation of the Benguela railway through then Portuguese West Africa (now Angola). [1] In 1902, Williams took over the construction and completed the connection to Luau at the border to the Belgian Congo in 1929. He was the managing Director of Tanganyka Concessions Ltd[1]

Williams was born and educated in Aberdeen. After World War I he bought Park House, a mansion with several hundred acres of land at Drumoak in Aberdeenshire. He was granted the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen, and was created a baronet in 1928, of Park, Aberdeenshire. He also became a grand officer of the Order of the Crown (Belgium) and commander of the Royal Order of the Lion of Belgium and a knight commander of the Portuguese order of Christ.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Comité Spécial du Katanga (1900-1950). page 41, Cuypers publishing, Brussels, 327 pp.
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
new creation
(of Park)
Succeeded by