Why did Willem Janszoon discover Australia?
Hanisauland: Lexicon @todo: from Preprocess
251 years ago, on April 29, 1770, the navigator and explorer James Cook and his crew set foot in Australia for the first time. They were among the first Europeans on the continent. The plants they discovered there, i.e. the botany of the east coast, impressed them so much that they named their landing site “Botany Bay” (in German: Botany Bay). Today this bay belongs to the Australian city of Sydney.
Captain James Cook
James Cook was born in Great Britain on October 27, 1728. Even as a young man he was interested in shipping, sea maps, maps, geography and the stars. James Cook became a good captain, so good that he was commissioned by the British Royal Navy to discover the still unknown “southern continent”. The ship with which he set out on the trip was the "Endeavor", a converted coal freighter. On this mission he did not discover the "southern continent", but the previously unknown continent Australia. He first saw the coast of Australia on April 19, 1770, and set foot on the country a few days later.
A strange world is discovered
Cook made maps of all the islands and land ranges he discovered in and around Australia. His fellow sailors, who knew a lot about animals and plants, described the strange animals (for example kangaroos), drew plants and everything that was unknown to them until then. The people living in Australia called them "Aborigines". That means "native inhabitants" in German. Descriptions of the Aborigines were also found in their records. Cook officially declared the newly discovered continent to be owned by the British monarchy.
Australia is settled
A few years later, the British used the vast country as a penal colony for their prisoners. Because the British prisons were overcrowded, the criminals were shipped to distant Australia. On January 26, 1788, the first ships with British prisoners reached the continent. The first settlement was built in a small bay on the east coast, the "Sydney Cove". January 26th is still celebrated as a national holiday in Australia today. For the Aborigines, however, this date is not a day to celebrate. They were subjugated by the European settlers, driven from their land and often robbed of their culture. The settlers also brought many diseases into the country that were often fatal to the Aborigines. The Aborigines have only been equal citizens by law since 1960.
Australia was discovered more than once by the Europeans
Even if James Cook is considered the discoverer of Australia, other European seafarers had seen the country before. For example, in 1606 the Dutchman Willem Janszoon landed with his ship on the west coast of the continent. However, since he did not know exactly where he was, he could not convince the Europeans of his discovery.
By the way: The Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, is still the head of state of Australia today. Because although the country has been independent since 1901, it is still a monarchy.
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