Australia was discovered by Europeans in the early 17th century. This honor fell to the Dutch admiral Willem Janszon. Before the advent of Europeans, local Aborigines lived calmly and peacefully on the Australian continent. After the appearance of Europeans in Australia, the modern history of this “Green Continent” began.
In 1901, the former British colonies in Australia formed a state called the Commonwealth of Australia. Now this country is administratively composed of six states (Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia), three mainland territories (Northern Territory, Federal Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory) and several external territories. See Australia abbreviations.
Geography of Australia
The continent of Australia is located in the southern hemisphere of the Earth. From the west and south, Australia is washed by the Indian Ocean, and from the north and east by the Tasman, Timor, Arafura and Coral Seas. The Bass Strait separates this continent from the island of Tasmania. Off the Australian coast are New Zealand and New Guinea. The total area of this continent is 7,659,861 sq. km.
Along the northeast coast of Australia in the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2,000 km, which is considered the largest coral reef in the world.
About 95% of the continent is occupied by plains. Just to the east are the Musgrave Mountains, the McDonnell Range, to the north the Kimberley Range, and to the southwest the Darling Range. The highest local peak is the Kosciuszko Peak, whose height reaches 2,228 meters.
Rivers in Australia, compared to other continents, are not very long. However, among the longest of them, the following should be mentioned: Murray (2,375 km), Murrumbidgee (1,485 km) and Darling (1,472 km). As for the Australian lakes, they are even smaller than the rivers, and in summer almost all of them dry up.
To the west, south, and northwest are Australia’s largest deserts, the Great Sandy Desert and the Great Victoria Desert.
The climate in the north of Australia is subequatorial, in the central part – tropical, and in the south – subtropical.
At the moment, the population of Australia already exceeds 23.3 million people. About 98% of the population of this continent are Caucasians – they are descendants of the British, Scots and Irish. There are also descendants of Scandinavians, Germans, Dutch, Poles, Italians and Greeks. In addition, quite a lot of Australians consider Arabs and Chinese as their ancestors.
In the north of the continent, in the central regions, as well as in the northeast and northwest, tribes of Australian aborigines still live, which form a separate race – the Australoid.
Most Australians speak Australian English. Other popular languages are Chinese, Italian, Arabic and Greek.
On the continent of Australia there is only one state – the Commonwealth of Australia, which is part of the British Commonwealth. The capital of the Commonwealth of Australia is the city of Canberra, on the territory of which once upon a time there were settlements of local Aborigines. Now about 400 thousand people live in Canberra. See countries in Australia.
Regions of Australia
Topographically, the Australian continent is sometimes divided into four regions – the lowlands, the coastal plain in the east, the central plain and mountain plateau, and the western plateau.
The oldest Australian city is Sydney, founded by the British in 1788. Now Sydney is the largest city on the Australian continent – more than 4.6 million people live in it.
Australia’s other largest cities are Melbourne (4.3 million people), Brisbane (2.2 million people), Perth (1.9 million people), Adelaide (1.3 million people) and Tweed Heads (600 thousand people).