The First European Came To Australia

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The first inhabitants of the continent of Australia, the Aboriginal peoples, migrated from somewhere in Asia to Australia about 50, 000 to 60, 000 years ago. The Aboriginal people walked to Australia across land bridges, and sailed between the islands of Southeast Asia. At that time the sea levels were lower than what they are today. These people quickly covered the whole continent. The Aborigineal people were hunters and gathers that moved with the changing seasons and only took with them things that were necessary. Portuguese and Spanish mariners may have charted the east coast of Australia in as early as the 16th century, but they preferred to concentrate on India, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. It was the Dutch, however, that eventually explored the continent. Helped by better sailing ships and greater knowledge of global wind systems, in 1616 the Dutch sailor Dirk Hartog followed a new southern route across the Indian Ocean to where he landed on an offshore island of Western Australia, becoming the first known European to set foot on Australian soil. The British soon followed. The first Europeans in Australia In 1768 Captain James Cook left England on a threeyear expedition to the Pacific that also took him to Australia. Cook landed at Botany Bay on the eastern coast. He charted the region and named it New South Wales. It was he and his staff, including the botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who later supported settlement in Australia. Cooks two additional voyages in the 1770s added information on the Australian landmass and cemented Britains claims to the continent. At this point, the Aboriginal people resisted the influence of the white settlers, and numerous cultural clashes followed. The prisoners Britain moved quickly after the American Revolution ended in 1783 to establish its first settlement in Australia, since it could no longer ship British convicts to America. By the mid-1800s, Britain had sent more than 150, 000 prisoners to two colonies, which formed the early territories of New South Wales and Western Australia. Approximately 20 percent were women, and about one-third were Irish, the majority coming from the poorer classes of British towns. Most of the convicts were poorly educated and illiterate, and because they were unskilled and unaccustomed to the rigors of colonial or prison life, the convicts were an exceptionally difficult population with which to build a new society. British officers were granted large tracts of land, and convicts were assigned to them as laborers. Later, land grants were extended to enlisted men of the corps and to released prisoners who had completed their terms. Beginning in 1793, free settlers began arriving. A strong economy began to develop. ...

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