Who called Australia

History of Australia: The most important dates & facts

The History of australia or its discovery is still quite controversial to this day, as scholars of ancient Europe discussed the existence of the southern region (lat. "terra australies") long before the arrival of Portuguese, French and Spanish seafarers in the 16th / 17th centuries. However, it is considered proven that the Dutchman Willem Jansz discovered the Cape York peninsula in the northeast of the continent in 1606. This means that important questions remain open today, which historians are trying to clarify.


Australian history from 1770 to the present day

All historically important events are listed and briefly explained below. Of course, this overview is not completely complete, as this would go beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, a good insight into the history of the 5th continent is given here in order to convey basic knowledge in this regard. And even if the history of Australia is not very old compared to that of European countries, it is still extremely interesting.


Formation of the colonies

It was not until 1770 that James Cook had a decisive impact on Australian history when he set foot on the east coast on April 28 and took possession of the country as a British colony in the name of the Crown. With this, New South Wales was born. Due to the fact that the USA was breaking away from Great Britain and the British government wanted to establish new penal colonies, the 5th continent literally offered itself to get the convict problem under control. The first fleet of ships ("First Fleet") arrived on January 26th, 1788 on the 5th continent, which led to the establishment of the first settlement (Sydney). Many other fleets followed, transporting tens of thousands of convicted convicts down under. In just 80 years (1868) over 160,000 prisoners were relocated. Over the years, other important colonies emerged: 1792: Tasmania, 1829: Western Australia, 1836: South Australia, 1851: Victoria, 1859: Queensland, 1863: Northern Territory. 1851 was a special year in Australian history when gold was found near Melbourne. This suddenly triggered a gold rush that lasted several years, which in turn contributed to the fact that more and more people immigrated voluntarily. Now it was no longer possible for the British to use Down Under exclusively as a penal colony. From 1855 to 1890, the various colonies achieved increasing independence from the British Empire (“Responsible Government”), although England still exercised influence and control. Above all, foreign policy, trade and the defense of the newly forming country were affected.


Association of the individual states

The previously independent colonies founded the "Federal Commonwealth of Australia" on 01.01.1901. Melbourne, the first capital of the country that now has 3.7 million inhabitants, will be the seat of the first federal parliament. Sir Edmund Barton becomes the first Prime Minister of the 5th continent. Due to the domino status (September 26th, 1907), the newly formed federation was given almost complete independence from Great Britain. The Australian Capital Territory was created in 1911 and, two years later, the new capital of the 5th continent. Even if Melbourne remains the seat of government until 1927, the political scene is gradually shifting to Canberra. Canberra has been the official state capital since March 12th, 1913, as both Melbourne and Sydney were decided as the seat of government. On October 24th, 1929 (Black Thursday) the world economic crisis breaks out, from which the 5th continent is not spared. The consequence of this was that the unemployment rate rose rapidly to 25% and, for the first time in history, more people left the country than immigrated.


First & Second World War

In both World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), Australia sends troops to Europe to aid Britain. On April 25, 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps recorded heavy losses in Turkey (Gallipoli). In commemoration of this day, the so-called ANZAC Day became a national holiday. From 1942 to 1943 Darwin was subject to constant bombardment by the Japanese, which led the government to intensify relations with the USA. In 1951, Australia, the USA and New Zealand sign the ANZUS agreement, which calls for military assistance from all three countries in the event of an attack. After the Second World War, the 5th continent under Joseph Benedict Chifley pursued an active immigration policy that greatly benefits the country's economy.


Referendums & Laws

Until 1964, the British carried out atomic bomb tests in the outback of South Australia, which did not result in the evacuation of the local Aborigines. In 1994, the Australian government paid $ 13.5 million to the indigenous peoples in compensation, which is more a sign of reconciliation than real reparation for the damage caused. In 1967 90.7% of the people voted for all laws that imply discrimination against indigenous people to be abolished. 1986 the "Australia Act" is signed. It says that Great Britain is now also giving up the final power of disposal over the 5th continent. In 1999, 55% of the population voted against the establishment of a republic and thus decided in favor of preserving the parliamentary monarchy based on the British model.


Data & facts at a glance

  • 16th / 17th century: Scholars of ancient Europe discuss the existence of the southern region ("terra australis").
  • 1606: The Dutchman Willem Jansz discovers the Cape York peninsula.
  • 28. 04.1770: James Cook takes possession of Australia as a British colony on behalf of the Crown.
  • 26.01.1788: First fleet of ships ("First Fleet") arrives with convicts.
  • 1778 - 1868: 160,000 convicts are relocated to the 5th continent.
  • 1792: Founding of the Tasmania colony.
  • 1829: Establishment of the colony of Western Australia.
  • 1836: Founding of the colony of South Australia.
  • 1851: Establishment of the Victoria Colony.
  • 1859: Establishment of the Queensland Colony.
  • 1863: Establishment of the Northern Territory colony.
  • 1851: Start of the gold rush near Melbourne.
  • 1855 - 1890: Colonies are becoming increasingly independent from the British Empire ("Responsible Government").
  • 01.01.1901: Founding of the "Federal Commonwealth of Australia".
  • 26.09.1907: Due to the domino status, the newly formed federal government is given almost complete independence from Great Britain.
  • 1911: Creation of the "Australian Capital Territory".
  • 12.03.1913: Canberra becomes the official capital of the 5th continent.
  • 24.10.1929: Black Thursday: Great Depression breaks out in the USA and hits Australia hard.
  • 1914 - 1918: World War I: Australia fights alongside the British Empire.
  • 25.4.1915: Battle of Gallipoli with high casualties → ANZAC-Day becomes a national holiday.
  • 1939 - 1945: Second World War: Australia fights alongside the British.
  • 1942 - 1943: Several Japanese air strikes on Darwin.
  • 1951: ANZUS Agreement between the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1964: British nuclear tests in the desert of South Australia.
  • 1967: 90.7% of the population votes against the establishment of a republic and thus for a parliamentary monarchy.

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