Last year it was 400 years ago that Europeans discovered Australia
and by 1650 over 70 per cent of its coastline had been accurately
charted by Dutch sailors, mostly accidently blown off course on their
way to Java, but also in a few well-planned expeditions which led to
the discovery of Tasmania and New Zealand. It was, however, only in
1770 that Captain Cook discovered the Eastern Coast of the continent
and claimed it for Britain. How did it come about that Australia
was discovered and why did it take so long before Europeans got
really interested in this continent?
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