January 27, 2022
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the southern hemisphere that includes the mainland of the world's smallest continent, the island of Tasmania, as well as many other islands in the South, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia has an area of 7,692,024 km2 and is the 6th largest in the world. It is surrounded by Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea in the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the northeast, and New Zealand in the southeast. According to the 2006 census, Australia had a population of 19,855,288. The capital is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory. The largest cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, where most Australians live. Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Australian mainland for more than 42,000 years. After sporadic visits by northern fishermen and European explorers and traders in the 17th century, Great Britain occupied the eastern half of the island during 1770, sending people on a sentence to a colony called New South Wales, which was formed on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new territories were discovered, five more large autonomous British overseas territories were formed during the 19th century. On January 1, 1901, six colonies formed a federation called the Commonwealth of Australia. As a federation, Australia has established a stable liberal-democratic political system, remaining a member of the Crown Countries of the Commonwealth.