3 Most Significant Events in Australian History
Australia's history dates back well before European settlement, as far back as 40,000 years ago when Australia's native people - today's aborigines - migrated there. Though many events may have occurred during the time before European settlement, we are forced to work with what we have, and written records begin only when European explorers arrive. With that in mind, here are three of the most significant events in Australian history:
1. The Discovery of Australia by the Dutch
Though it is possible that the Portugese were aware of it before the official discovery by the Dutch, the first confirmable contact between Europeans and the Australian continent is in 1606, when the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon came upon the land we now call Australia, seeking gold and people to convert to Christianity.
2. Colonization by the British
Though the Dutch made a token effort to settle and colonize Australia, it was not until control was passed from the Dutch to the British that it began to see significant settlement. Soon the British had founded a colony in Botany Bay which would become famous as a dumping ground for criminals and the unwanted. Over time, agriculture, trade and strategic importance would make Australia more central to Britian's colonial policy.
3. Federation and Independence
Soon democratic and independence movements began to spread through Australia, especially after gold was discovered in the mid 19th century, bringing droves of settlers to the continent. In the year 1900 the colonies came together and requested independence from the British crown, officially becoming the Commonwealth of Australia on January 1st, 1901.
Though Australia's history is rich and complex, these are perhaps the three most significant events in Australian history, and have had the most impact on the development of Australia and the world.