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Interesting Facts About Australia
Australia is a continent that many people are fascinated with and for good reason. It is full of sites and places that thousands of tourists flock to every year.
But there is more to Australia than a lot of things to see. There are many interesting historical and current facts about Australia, including:
Australia housed thousands of prisoners.
When the British began to settle Australia in the late 1700s, their main motivation for doing so was to create a land to send their captives to. The common practice at the time was to send convicts and prisoners (usually those who owed money or defied the government in some way) to the American colonies to work for a period of seven to fourteen years. However, when the British lost control of the American colonies, they had nowhere to send their captives until James Cook, the first Englishman to plan and explore Australia, suggested it as a suitable place. As a result, thousands of British prisoners were sent to Australia, where they were eventually released and allowed the colonies to prosper. Now, about twenty-five percent of Australians have ancestors who were convicts.
Australia originally had over 200 languages.
Australia was first inhabited 40,000 years ago by Aboriginal people. These Aboriginal tribes in the states and across the country spoke over 200 languages and dialects. However, more than half of these dialects have now disappeared, as over ninety percent of the original Aboriginal people were killed when the British settled the continent, mostly as a result of diseases brought by Europeans.
Australia is the smallest continent in the world.
Australia can claim itself as a country, a continent and an island. While it is the world’s smallest continent, it is also the world’s largest island. Additionally, Australia is the only country in the world that is an entire continent. The majority of people in Australia live in the big coastal cities because over ninety percent of Australia is actually dry and flat, and about three quarters of the land cannot support any kind of agriculture.
Australia is famous for its sheep.
Australia’s population is more sheep than people. In fact, there are about ten sheep in Australia for every person. As a result, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of lamb meat and wool.
Australia’s most famous animals are unique only to Australia.
When many people think of wildlife in Australia, they think of animals like koala bears and kangaroos. Because Australia is an island and not connected to any other land, it has developed its own wildlife. The kangaroo, koala bear, emu and kookaburra are animals found only in the wild in Australia.
Australia is a smart country.
Australia currently claims to have a 100% literacy rate, one of the highest in the world. Perhaps this is why they read more newspapers per capita than any country in the world.
Australians love to gamble.
Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other country in the world. And despite making up less than one percent of the world’s total population, Australia has over twenty percent of the world’s poker machines.
As you can see from these few facts, Australia is a country full of interesting events, both past and present. For more Australia visit Australia at Surfing the Net with Kids.
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