According to microedu, Australia is a continent and at the same time a country in the southern hemisphere northwest of New Zealand and south of Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. The country is the 6th largest in the world. The name ‘Australia’ comes from the Latin term terra incognita australis (“unknown southern country”).
Even with an area slightly smaller than Europe, this continent has a population of only about 20 million. In Australia live white descendants of Europeans, Asians and the indigenous people, the Aborigines.
It is believed that the first residents of Australia came from Indonesia more than 50,000 years ago and spread across the continent. The first European to explore a bit of Australia was probably the Spanish captain Luis Vaez de Torres, who sailed through the strait that lies between Australia and Papua New Guinea. This is now called Torres Strait.
Most of Australia is made up of savannah or desert. Australia is the driest and flattest inhabited continent in the world and has the oldest and least fertile soils. Only the southeastern and southwestern corners of the continent have a temperate climate. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate with rainforests, forests, grasslands and desert.
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, is located not far from the northeast coast, stretching over 2,000 kilometers.
The world’s largest monolith is found in Western Australia and is called Mount Augustus.
Among Australia’s most famous rock formations is Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory. Australia’s red sand has its color from rusted ore and metal in the sand.
Australia participated in both World War I and World War II and was bombed by Japan during the last war. It came to mean that Australia changed course of foreign policy and followed the United States in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
1606 – The continent was discovered by the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon, but actual expeditions to this were not initiated until the 18th century.
1770 – British Captain James Cook lands near present-day Sydney, taking possession of Britain’s eastern two-thirds of the continent.
1778 – When the English “discovered” Australia, it was inhabited by an indigenous population – the Aborigines – of about 250,000 divided into 500 tribes. In 1901 there were only 66,000 left. Today, they represent 1% (200,000) of the total population. They live predominantly side by side with European descendants, but under far more degrading conditions in socio-economic terms. The descendants of the British today make up about two-thirds of the total population. The rest are predominantly immigrants from Asia, Europe and Latin America.
1788 – Australia’s time as a penal colony begins, which continues until 1868.
1850 – Great British immigration takes place this year, and six different British colonies emerge in Australia. The colonization of the country started at the coasts and gradually penetrated further into the country. The British behaved as if the country was uninhabited. The arrival and colonization of the country by the Europeans was thus a disaster for the indigenous people. The brutal intrusion into their territories disrupted their way of life, deprived them of their hunting grounds and irrigation sites, and brought with them previously unknown diseases and alcohol. Europeans’ war against indigenous peoples cost about 80% of their lives. The British ways of solving the “aborigine problem” were executions, poisoning of drinking water and food, and the concentration of indigenous peoples in British-led reserves. Only in our days has the population started to increase again. The Aboriginal religion based on a strong religious relationship between man and the earth was an obstacle to the colonization of the country. Therefore, it was systematically devalued and persecuted, just as the original languages were suppressed. The indigenous people first lost the lands richest in natural resources. Europeans settled on the best fishing grounds, and the lands best suited for cultivation and grazing. The Industrial Revolution in Britain took its starting point in the textile industry, yielding a significant market for wool. The Europeans therefore introduced sheep breeding, and even today are and the lands best suited for cultivation and grazing. The Industrial Revolution in Britain took its starting point in the textile industry, yielding a significant market for wool. The Europeans therefore introduced sheep breeding, and even today are and the lands best suited for cultivation and grazing. The Industrial Revolution in Britain took its starting point in the textile industry, yielding a significant market for wool. The Europeans therefore introduced sheep breeding, and even today is Australia the world’s largest sheep exporter.
1854 – The country’s only armed uprising takes place as gold diggers try to sabotage an attempt by the authorities to declare all gold finds to be government property. The uprising was broken by force of arms and 30 gold diggers were killed. But out of this arose several democratic movements.
1860 – Rapid immigration into the country leads to a tripling of the population, reaching 1.1 million, and a further ½ million were added over the following decade.
1902 – Together with New Zealand, Australia is among the first countries in the world to grant women the right to vote.
1914 – When Australia was closely linked to the British Empire – i.a. by the fact that the British king was also the king of Australia – the politicians perceived it in the way that Australia was automatically involved in the war through the British declaration of war against Germany. Over 400,000 Australian volunteers took part in the war. 60,000 of them lost their lives. A quarter of a million were injured on battlefields thousands of miles off the coast of Australia. As the war continued, however, skepticism developed, and a proposal for conscription was twice rejected in referendums.
1929 – Australia is hit hard by the world depression because the economy was so dependent on exports of goods from the primary industries, and the prices of these goods fell sharply.
1939 – Australia almost automatically joins the Allies when World War II breaks out. Australian forces participated in Europe and the Middle East. Only when Japan joined the war did the Australians get closer to life. This was especially true when Singapore fell in 1942 and when Australia’s northernmost city Darwin was bombed by the Japanese two months later. Australia was not subjected to actual invasion, but US General MacArthur brought the war closer as he relocated his headquarters to Melbourne.
1945 – By the end of the war, 30,000 Australian soldiers have been killed and 65,000 wounded.
1950s – World War II weakens ties between Britain and Australia. The war had shown that the old colonial power was no longer able to guarantee the security of the colonies against the Japanese advance. Instead, the United States established itself as a “guarantor” of security in the Pacific region.
1956 – In foreign policy, Australia relies on the United States and Western European powers. The Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in 1956 was accepted and Australian forces were sent to Korea, Malaya and Vietnam. At the same time, the country entered into military alliances with the United States and other anti-communist countries. Initially with the signing of the ANZUS Pact in 1951 between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The pact was to guarantee military assistance between the 3 countries, to guarantee the North American interests in the region. At the same time, it was this alliance that drew Australia into the wars in Korea and Vietnam in particular , which led to the country’s international image suffering a significant loss and to the development of an important peace movement.
1972 – a united Labor Party regains power. Vietnam criticism of the Conservative government contributed to the victory. Australia’s forces were withdrawn from Vietnam and diplomatic relations were established with the People’s Republic of China.
1989 – Figures from the National University of Australia show that 1% of the population has 20% of the country’s wealth and 13% of the population lives below the poverty line. The economic and social crisis deepened, and in 1991 the number of unemployed rounded 1 million. They constituted a permanent pressure against Bob Hawke’s Labor government, which was subjected to strong opposition from the other political parties and from significant sections of the labor movement. Hawke had come to power in 1983, after 11 years as chairman of the country’s LO, ACTU. He began his term with a very large popular support.
1995 – France’s nuclear tests on Mururoa Atoll lead to popular protests throughout Australia. The Keating and Chirac governments clashed violently and severed diplomatic relations. The Australian delegation traveling to Europe, led by the Minister of Pacific Affairs, did not win the views of the British government, which refused to confront France. Britain’s position strengthened the demand for independence in Australia.
1998 – In April, forwarding firm Patrick Stevedore forges the government’s full approval of all of its 1,400 workers. This led to the dockworkers’ union, MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) launching a strike that became one of the biggest social conflicts in the country’s history. In May, a court ordered the fired workers re-employed, which was a serious blow to the Liberal government.
1999 – September. Australia intervened in various ways in the crises of the two neighboring countries, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The country was at the head of the UN peacekeeping force that went ashore in East Timor to halt the genocide and atrocities by Indonesia on the East Timorese people after the country voted for independence.
2000 – September. In a report, the UN criticized Australia for its treatment of the indigenous people (Aboriginals), and especially for the change in land laws that sabotaged the reconciliation process between government and natives. Fearing future demands for compensation, the government refused to come up with a public apology for the state’s atrocities against the indigenous people throughout history, as the indigenous people’s leaders had otherwise suggested. Instead, the government made an official “apology” for the historic abuses.
2002 – In January, 211 asylum seekers in the Woomera Asylum Center went on a hunger strike in protest of the center’s conditions and the difficulties in obtaining asylum in the country. As part of the strike, several of the participants sewed their mouths together. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) characterized the detention and detention of asylum seekers as “unnecessary” and “unacceptable”. Prime Minister Howard defended the mandatory detention policy as a means of stating that ” one cannot just travel illegally into Australia “, and further that: ” neither condemnation by international organizations, hunger strikes or suicide attempts will make us change refugee lawA large proportion of asylum seekers are Afghans, and although the UN had requested that their right to seek asylum not be generally questioned, Australia argued that the situation in Afghanistan had changed radically after the fall of the Taliban regime. Instead, Australia offered financial support to get the Afghans back to Afghanistan. In April, a number of asylum seekers managed to escape the Woomera camp and be on the run for a week. The escape became possible after several hundred protesters overturned the fence around the camp in protest against the treatment of the asylum seekers.
2002 – October. The Australian population was severely affected by the terrorist attack in Bali, as 94 of the 190 victims were Australian tourists. Prime Minister Howard declared that he would do justice to those killed by supporting the United States in its fight against terrorism, despite a number of religious leaders warning that this could expose Australians to future assassinations.
2003 – In January, Australia sends troops to the Persian Gulf in support of the United States’ impending war on Iraq. This happened despite widespread popular protests.
In February, for the first time in the country’s history, the Senate adopted a no-confidence motion against the government for its support of the US war of aggression. Nevertheless, in March, Howard sent another 2,000 troops to the Gulf and allowed the military ( Australian Defense Forces, ADF ) to take part in the US- led attack. Opinion polls showed that 71% of Australians were against this move.
In July, Australian intelligence sources admitted they had not informed Howard of serious doubts about the accuracy of information on Iraqi uranium purchases in Niger. The Prime Minister apologized for using falsified intelligence to justify Australia’s involvement in the war of aggression. He added, however, that even though he had been informed that the intelligence was false, he had still sent troops. The Liberals accused Howard of not daring to lay the truth on the issue of the country’s national security.
2004 – In April, Jane Errey was fired after refusing to confirm that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Errey was chief adviser at the Department of Defense’s Science and Technology Office. Defense Secretary Robert Hill stated that the decision was made solely after an assessment of Errey’s work performance and had nothing to do with her position on Australia’s policy towards Iraq.
2005 – In January, Labor leader Mark Latham withdraws from politics due to ill health. That same month, an investigation revealed that the government had not manipulated intelligence reports to legitimize its participation in the war of aggression against Iraq. The inquiry acquitted Prime Minister Howard of any responsibility in this regard. Former diplomat Philip Flood led the investigation, concluding that Australia had based its decisions on “miserable, ambiguous and incomplete” intelligence. The findings of the study were in line with the findings of similar studies in the United Kingdom and the United States, who also placed all the responsibility on the intelligence services, and not the governments that acted on the basis of the intelligence. The study probably recommended that the Australian intelligence service should be more transparent and report, but did not recommend that major restructuring be carried out. Of the 2,000 troops the country sent to Iraq in 2003, 900 remained there in January 2005. In July, the government announced that it would also send 150 troops to Afghanistan.
2006 – The country is hit by the worst drought in 100 years. The drought exacerbated the unrest in the population over the global climate change.
2007 – In July, Secretary of Defense Brendan Nelson admits that the background to the presence of Australian troops in Iraq is the desire to secure oil supplies. It was the first time since the occupation of the country in March 2003 that this relationship was publicly admitted.
2008 – In February, the Australian Government makes an official apology to the country’s indigenous people, the Aborigines, for the persecution they have been subjected to for centuries. The Australian indigenous people today make up approx. 200,000 people. Two-thirds of them no longer live in tribal communities, but live in urban areas. For modern Australia, this population group is without a doubt second class. A minority of the indigenous people continue to live in areas that Europeans stay away from. This applies to the desert areas in the central parts of the country and the rainforest areas in the northern part. Here they maintain their religious and social traditions.
2008 – Australian geologists have now found the world’s oldest diamonds to date. De ca. 50 stones is 4.3 billion. years old and thus almost as old as the Earth. So far, geologists have believed that the Earth was first able to form diamonds for about.3 billion. years ago, but that view must now be revised. ( Ill. Vid. No. 11/2008 )