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    Australian History

It is believed that the first settlers of Australia reached the continent some 65,000 years ago.  The first settlers of Australia, ancestors of today's Aborigines, came from Asia by way of New Guinea.  Over 750,000 Aborigines occupied the Australian continent before the arrival of the first white ancestry in 1788 ("Australia"). (For more Information on Aborigines, click here).

Before the United Kingdom made it's claim to Australia in 1788, there were several European explores that searched for the "Unknown Southern Land".  In the late 1500's several Spanish and Portuguese explorers set sail for the undiscovered continent thought to exist south of Asia.  However, all of their voyages ended with the discovery of New Guinea, an island located North of today's Queensland ("Australia").  In 1606, a Spanish explorer named Luis Vaez de Torres proved the previous explorers findings to be incorrect as he sailed around the land of New Guinea establishing it as an island rather than the vast continent that everyone was in search of ("Australia").  Throughout the remainder of the 1600's and early 1700's there would be several attempts at finding this mysterious southern land.  During this time, Dutch explorer, Abel Janszoon Tasman would stumble upon the island which is today called Tazmania in his honor ("Australia").  However, it was not until 1770 that James Cook of the British Navy became the first European to sight and explore the east coast of Australia's New South Wales (Australia's).  

Several years would go by before Britain would come to occupy the land of Australia.  With the end of the Revolutionary War and the United States independence from Great Britain in 1783, the British needed to find a new place to transport the countries overflow of convicts.  In 1786, Britain decided to establish prison colonies on the coast of New South Wales.  On January 18, 1788, a group of 570 male and 160 female convicts arrived on Australia's east coast in a place that is now known as the city of Sydney (Australia's).  This marks the first white settlement of the vast continent of Australia (Australia's).        

 

                                                         


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  January 26, 2001