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The Discovery of Australia: What Happened?

In the 17th century, European ships sailed the seas. In this competition between nations, the Dutch take pride in a good part

Indian Ocean Since the powerful Dutch East India Company established its base in (today) Batavia

Jakarta), very close to the production sites of the precious spices it trades with. Many ships depart from Amsterdam and, after calling at Cape Town, cross the Indian Ocean “across”, that is, from southwest to northeast.

A straight line is not always the shortest

It wasn’t until 1611 that explorer Hendrik Brewer found a way to reach Batavia twice as fast. After passing the Cape of Good Hope, you no longer have to follow the African coast, but head east in 34° south latitude. Thus we find ourselves at the other end of the Indian Ocean, and there, after turning to the left, we point directly north to reach Batavia.

Our geography

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But there was a problem… At that time, we knew how to measure latitudes: the height of the Sun at its highest point was easy. But longitudes were poorly measured, requiring accurate clocks to detect any time difference. On ships, the longitude to decide to dive north was approximate and depended on the captain and his watch.

However, this southern route was the origin of the discovery of Australia by the Europeans. In 1616, Dirk Hardock left Holland, crossed the Cape of Good Hope, and took an express route to Java. He missed his left turn and went too far east to find land high up stream Shark Bay In the middle of Western Australia. He lands on an island that still bears his name. He planted a pillar there and hung a pewter dish bearing an inscription testifying to his passage.

After a long time, In 1697, Captain Willem de Vlaming dropped anchor at Dirk Hartog Island. There he finds the food nailed to the post, unwraps it, and stamps a new one with updated inscriptions. These lands were called “New Holland”.


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Land Ownership: From Foods to Bottles

Frenchman Louis Alain de Saint Alorne landed in New Holland at Cape Leeuwen in 1772, still on the west coast, but further south. It runs north to the coast. At the end of March, he approaches the island of Dirk Hartag. Not seeing Dutch food, he conquered this enormous sector of New Holland, nearly 1000 kilometers, in the name of King Louis XV.

Traditionally, bottles with parchment are buried along this west coast of Australia. To avoid any controversy, a small box contains two silver shields bearing the image of the king. Despite this gesture of appropriation, no follow-up was given by France to this acquisition.

Now at the other end of Australia, the British woke up late. English Captain Arthur Phillip captured the Sydney area in January 1788 and settled a colony of convicts numbering a thousand. East Nova Hollandia Now English.


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When did we know Australia was an island?

Realizing that it was a continent when Boudin sent out his expedition in 1802.

Bonaparte A year later he meets Flinders, an Englishman who left.

Towards the end of 1802, Boudin’s expedition stopped at a small island northwest of Tasmania. King Island. Unlike the French, Flinders did not aim to do natural history, but to map out as quickly as possible to establish English supremacy over New Holland. Thanks to Flinders’ maps, New Holland becomes official Australia to the British Admiralty.

During the Restoration, Louis-Claude de Freycinet was discontinued Shark Bay and Dirk anchors at Hardock Island. Freycinet found the dish – and hence the second – left by Vlaming… He brought it back to France and deposited it…

National Museum of Natural History In 1821. It was finally returned to the Australian government in 1947.

As for Australia, the Dutch and French were “better” than the British, they wanted a continent of their own, even if they had trouble living there: too big, too dry, too hostile.


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