The first British ships, carrying about 700 convicts, arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, in 1788. The men, women, and children who survived the grueling eight-month voyage faced more hardships on shore. Many were city dwellers with no farming skills. Under the brutal discipline of soldiers, work gangs cleared land for settlement.

Emigration to Australia

In the early 1800s, Britain encouraged free citizens to emigrate to Australia by offering them land and tools. As the newcomers occupied coastal lands, they thrust aside or killed the Aborigines.

In time, a prosperous wool industry grew up as settlers found that the land and climate suited sheepherding. In 1851, a gold rush in eastern Australia set off a population boom as gold hunters from around the world headed to the island continent. Many gold hunters stayed on to become ranchers and farmers.

They pushed into the rugged interior known as the Outback and displaced the Aborigines as they carved out huge sheep ranches and wheat farms. By the late 1800s, Australia had won a place in the growing world economy.

Self-Rule in Australia

Australia was made up of separate colonies scattered around the continent. Britain worried about interference from other imperialist European powers. To counter this threat and to boost development, it responded to Australian demands for self-rule. In 1901, Britain helped the colonies unite into the independent Commonwealth of Australia. The new country kept its ties to Britain by recognizing the British monarch as its head of state.

The Australian constitution set up a federal system that limited the power of the central government. Its Parliament has a Senate and House of Representative, but its executive is a prime minister chosen by the majority party in Parliament.

Unlike Britain and the United States, Australia quickly granted women the right to vote. In 1856, some Australian states introduced the secret ballot, which became known as the Australian ballot. Later, other countries adopted this practice.

A city skyline at night is illuminated by exploding fireworks overhead.

Fireworks blaze over Perth, Australia, on Australia Day, which commemorates Australia's first European settlers.


How might Australia's aboriginal population feel about the celebration of Australia Day?

New Zealand's Story

About 1,000 miles southeast of Australia lies New Zealand. It consists of several islands. New Zealand was the last landmass in the world to be settled. Like Australia, New Zealand had its own indigenous people, the Maori (MAH oh ree).

Arrival of the Maori

The ancestors of the Maori had reached New Zealand from Polynesia in the 1200s. These seafaring people were skilled navigators who relied on the winds, stars, and ocean currents to reach land.

In New Zealand, the Maori lived in small hunting bands and raised sweet potatoes and yams brought with them on their voyages. They had an extensive oral history, in which they recorded long genealogies, or family trees. They engaged in warfare but also traded with one another.

Arrival of Europeans

In 1642, a Dutch explorer was the first European to reach New Zealand. Captain James Cook claimed the islands for Britain in 1769. The first Europeans arrived in New Zealand in the late 1700s.

Early settlements were outposts for whalers, seal hunters, and lumbering operations. In 1814, missionaries arrived to convert the Maori to Christianity.

White settlers were attracted to New Zealand by its mild climate and good soil. They introduced sheep and cattle and were soon exporting wool, mutton, and beef.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments