July 1, 2022
Australia (English pronunciation: /əˈstɹeɪljə/ ( listen)), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country in Oceania, whose form of government is the parliamentary federal constitutional monarchy. The country occupies the main continental mass of the platform called Sahul, in addition to some islands in the Pacific, Indian and Antarctic oceans. The closest countries to Australia are Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with an area of 7,741,220 km². Its capital, Canberra, is located in the Australian Capital Territory. The population of the country (according to the estimate for 2020) is more than 25 million inhabitants, concentrated mainly in the large coastal cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the capital Canberra. Australia has been inhabited for at least forty-six thousand years by Australian Aborigines. Its discovery would have occurred after the sporadic visits of the Spanish and Portuguese who explored the northern and western coast of Australia, although without advancing inland due to the small number of explorers. The explorations Started in the 17th century, they were continued by Dutch fishermen, European explorers and traders. Until now it is argued that the first to land on the eastern shores was the British navigator James Cook, who arrived in New Zealand in 1769 and in 1770 in Australian lands. Because of this, the eastern half of the continent was claimed by Britain in 1770, and in 1788 a penal colony was established in New South Wales. Due to the settlement of colonists, its population growth and the exploration of new areas, five more British colonies were established during the 19th century. On January 1, 1901, the six colonies federated to form the Confederation of Australia. Since its institution it has maintained a liberal democratic political system and has continued to be a monarchy within the British Commonwealth of Nations. In the conventional division into continents, Australia is included in Oceania, which also includes the Pacific islands. However, English speakers often speak of the "Australian continent" without Australia, from a geological point of view, constituting a continent. New Zealand and the adjacent islands do not form a continent with Australia either, as they do not belong to the Sahul platform, but are usually associated with it due to historical and political proximity.