Australia is a country of contrasts. It is as big as the USA without Alaska, but has only 17,1 millions inhabitants. The first humans, who already came 40.000 years ago, were the aboriginal inhabitants from Asia. But its written history began only 200 years ago with the beginning of the colonisation of the continent through the Europeans in the seventeenth century.

In 1606 a Dutch ship docked on the west coast and further Dutchs followed.

Abel Tasman was the discoverer in 1642. The Dutch named the continent New Holland, but they didn’t occupey it.

In 1688 the first Brighton Willioam Dampier arrived at the Northwest coast.

1768 captain James Cook from the British marine sighted the east coast of the coninent, mapped it out and finally he arrived in Botany Bay. He took posession of the whole east part of the continent for the English crown and named it New South Wales.

In 1783 the loss of the American colonies forced the English to look for other territories for penal colonies and on the 28th Janurary in 1788 captain Arthur Phillip arrived as the commander of the first fleet in Sidney Bay (today Port Jackson in the heart of Sidney), near Botany Bay.

The first white settlers were prisonners with their guards because the English prisons were overcrowded.

Then there also came some traders to help with the erection of the new penal colonies.

Extensive expeditions in the nineteenth century led to it that wide territories were discovered for the colonisation and further colonies, which were later developed to the federal states Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

In 1850 the large majority of people were convicts, there were 20% women and one third of this convicts were Irish people.

The transport of prisonners from England to New South Wales finally stopped 1840, in Tasmania in 1853 and to West Australia in 1868, but the population rashly grew, because there came mor and more free settlers which where in the running for richness through gold in New South Wales and Victoria and shich were attracted by the opportunity to get land for cultivating. well and the most important economic goods at first were meat, wheat, wool and gold. The meaning of gold winning

Farming has developed returns around the turn of the century, but the farming expanded wider and is still a very important part of the Australian economy.

January 1st 1901 the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania become a federation and form the Commonwealth of Australia.

Aboriginal people were finally granted civil rights in 1967.

5th March 1983 Australian Labor Party wins the general election and Bob Hawke becomes Prime Minister.

1988 Bob Hawke opened the National Science and Technology Centre, a joint Australia-Japan Bicentennial Project.

In 1993 Sydney was selected to host the Olympic Games in the year 2000.

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