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An Overview of Australia's History

An Overview of Australia's History

The first Europeans to find Australia were Dutch and Spanish seafarers that arrived in Australia sometime during the 1600-hundreds, but they weren't the first people except the aboriginals who had come to Australia. Chinese sailors had visited it in the 1200-hundreds. The Dutch and Spanish seafarers thought that it was part of an undiscovered continent - "a Great South land". They didn't explore Australia. It was a British seafarer who explored the continent in the late 1700-hundreds.

James Cook arrived with his boat, the Endeavour, south of the place where Sydney is now in 1770 and claimed Australia for England. From 1788, the British used Australia as a really, really big prison, where they could send people who broke the law. The prisoners where sent there to work for English explorers who had settled down in Australia.

Gold was found in 1851 and a lot of people moved there. As a result, Australia was divided into 6 states (New South-Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia) that ruled over themselves. The 6 states went together in 1901 to form The Commonwealth of Australia with Canberra as capital.


The original inhabitants of Australia are the aboriginals. They came to Australia from Asia about 40,000 years ago. Before the Europeans came to Australia, the aboriginals inhabited the entire continent, even the dry deserts. In 1770 there were about 380,000 aboriginals and now there are 150,000 of them.

There were around 680 different tribes all over the entire continent back in 1770. All tribes were different, some had settled down in one area and some were nomads, but they did have a lot in common. For example, the men (usually) handled the hunting and the women took care of the gathering of fruits and stuff like that. They lived in small groups that usually consisted of one or two families. They often lived near places that were important to them (where they were born or where they were married).

The Europeans brought diseases and guns to Australia, which wasn't very good for the aboriginals. The white man, balanda, decided to try to destroy the aboriginals. They gave poisoned food to aboriginals, made it legal to shoot them and stole their children and even went so far that they killed all aboriginals in Tasmania.

The aboriginals weren't considered Australian citizens until 1967. Until then, they...

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