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Aborigines were believed to have migrated from Asia to Australia as early as 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Early European exploration of Australia began in the early 1600s when the Spanish navigator, Luis Vaez de Torres sailed through the Torres Straits. The European exploration of Australia began during the late 1960s and the famous Captain James Cook arrived later during the late 1700s. After nine days of chartering the coastline of Australia, he landed on a gulf that he named Botany Bay whereby he found a rich variety of botanical life forms. This area is now part of the busy modern city of Sydney.

European settlement began in 1788 when the British needed to relieve their overcrowded prisons. As Australia was also the entry point to the economic opportunity surrounding the country, the British made the decision to colonise the country. This decision was then authorised by Lord Sydney.

On May 13, 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip, commanding eleven ships full of convicts, left for Australia. He first landed on Botany Bay on January 18, 1788 but left after eight days upon discovering its openness and poor quality soil. Instead, he settled at Port Jackson, a few kilometers north. The ships landed 1,373 people, whereby 732 were convicts. Today, this settlement is known as the capital city of New South Wales, Sydney. The day of this first fleet landing is now celebrated every year on the 26th January by all Australians and is known as the Australia Day.



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