Barnett Barnato (bärnä´tō), 1852–97, South African financier, b. London. His name originally was Barney Isaacs; he first called himself Barney Barnato when he performed as a comedian. He went to South Africa in 1873 and made a fortune by buying worked-out diamond mines in the Kimberley area and mining the abandoned blue earth. He increased his fortune by speculation in diamond and gold mines until he was maneuvered by Cecil Rhodes into merging the Kimberley interests with Rhodes's De Beers interests. He was also plunged into Cape politics and served in the Parliament there. He committed suicide.
See biography by R. Lewinsohn (tr. 1938).