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Australia history

Early period until the 19th century

The first people to come to the Australian continent were the Aborigines, who lived here at least 50,000 years ago. At the beginning of the 17th century, European seafarers set foot on Australian soil, the first being Willem Jansz in 1606. Tasmania was discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642. James Cook first came to the east coast of the continent in 1770 and took possession of it for the British crown. Inspired by the sight of the mountains and the green forests and meadows, he called the country "New South Wales". After England lost its colonies there due to the defeat in the American War of Independence, Australia became a new target for the convict ships on which criminals were deported. The penal colony of Sydney was founded in 1788. The banishment of criminals from England to Australia did not end until 1868.

Australia historyIn 1850 the white population was estimated at around 400,000. Around 30 years later, attracted by large gold discoveries, there were already over 2.3 million in New South Wales and Victoria. Australian Aborigines have been pushed back from their ancestral territories.

The first half of the 20th century

In 1901, the six self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania merged to form the "Australian Federation" (Federal Commonwealth of Australia), thereby gaining independence from England. The form of government was the parliamentary monarchy, the official head of state remained the British Queen. The Constitution did not provide any rights for Australian Aborigines. The capital was initially Melbourne (from 1913 Canberra in the newly founded "Australian Capitol Territory").

The huge economic resources made the state one of the most important suppliers of raw materials in the world, but the consequences of the Great Depression around 1930 caused the unemployment rate to rise to 25%. In the short term, the number of emigrants was higher than that of immigrants. As a result of the threat of a possible Japanese invasion in World War II, immigration laws were changed and Australia's population skyrocketed after 1946. The composition of the Australian population was made more complex by immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.

Acknowledgment of aboriginal rights

The actual natives of the continent were not recognized as citizens until 1967 and were granted full civil rights. However, this did not include Aboriginal land ownership. According to AbbreviationFinder, Victoria was the first state in 1970 to grant Aboriginal land. It was not until 1992 that the Supreme Court ruled in what is known as the "Mabo ruling" that Australia was not a no man's land when the first Europeans arrived and that the Aborigines had rights of ownership over state territory. Since 1990 there has been an Aboriginal government representative of the Aboriginal people (ATSIC, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Comission). The Australian government apologized for the first time in early 2008 for the injustice inflicted on the Aborigines by years of brutal assimilation policy.

Time after World War II

In terms of foreign policy, Australia increasingly separated from Great Britain after the Second World War. Robert Menzies, Prime Minister from 1949 to 1966 (Liberal Party), turned his attention to issues related to the Pacific region and Southeast Asia. In the mid-1960s, immigration regulations, which until now had only allowed Europeans to immigrate, were further relaxed and completely abolished in 1973. The Colombo Plan allowed Asians to go to Australian schools and universities. Australia participated in the Korean War and alongside the United States in the Vietnam War. Economically, a closer link to Japan was entered into.

In a referendum at the end of 1999, 55% of Australians decided to maintain the constitutional monarchy and against an Australian republic with its own president as head of state. In September 2000, Australia was the host country for the XXVII. Summer Olympics that took place in Sydney. The country has been repeatedly criticized by international media for its rigid refugee policy.

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