World History

































A ship full of British convicts heads for Australia.

Australia is the only country that is also a continent. Like the Americas, Australia was settled twice: thefirst time by hunter-gatherers called Aborigines who arrived by boat from Southeast Asia some 50,000 years ago; the second time by Europeans. The Dutch spotted Australia first, but found it a barren land and lost interest. British explorer James Cook found more promising land in southern Australia and claimed the continent for Britain. The British first used Australia as a prison colony; Australia’s first European settlers were convicts. After gold was found in the mid -1800s, European immigration to Australia boomed. The native Aborigines experienced the usual pattern of decline after contact with Western diseases and weapons.

Aborigines = a member of the original people to inhabit an area, especially as contrasted with an invading or colonizing people.

James Cook = an English explorer of the eighteenth century, known for his voyages to the Pacific Ocean. Cook visited New Zealand, established the first European colony in Australia, and was the first European to visit Hawaii. He also approached Antarctica and explored much of the western coast of North America.

Southeast of Australia lie the islands of New Zealand, where the British subdued native tribes of hunter-gatherers called the Maori. (MOW-ree) New Zealand was added to the British Empire in 1840. The British took control of Canada from the French in 1763. Many French-speaking Canadians remain, primarily in the province of Quebec. Canada is the second-largest country in size after Russia, but most of its people live within 100 miles of its border with the United States. Despite their far- flung locations, the former British colonies of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are considered part of the Western world.

New Zealand = a country in the southern Pacific Ocean containing two principal islands—North Island and South Island—and several small outlying islands. Its capital city is Wellington.

Quebec = a province in eastern Canada. It is the only province in Canada that has a predominantly French-speaking population.