Australia

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Australia

Post  kosovohp on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:20 pm

Australia (play /əˈstreɪljə/ ə-STRAYL-yə or /ɒˈstreɪljə/ o-STRAYL-yə,[7] or /ɔːˈstreɪliə/ aw-STRAY-lee-ə), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a highly developed country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent (the world's smallest),[8][9] the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.N4 Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians,[10] who belonged to one or more of the roughly 250 language groups.[11][12] After sporadic visits by fishermen from the immediate north and discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606,[13] Australia's eastern half was claimed by Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, founded on 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in the following years; the continent was explored and an additional five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established during the 19th century.

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