Australia




Australia is a both a country and a continent in the southern hemisphere. The land has a rich history that spans both modern and prehistoric time periods. Early human settlements in Australia occurred roughly 45,000 years ago by an indigenous people who most likely reached the isolated region by crossing land bridges from Asia. These early settlers of Australia are considered to be direct ancestors to the Indigenous Australians who continue to live throughout the Australian Outback today. Europeans began arriving in Australia during the late 1600s and early 1700s. Australia subsequently lived under the foreign rulers from the Netherlands and Great Britain. Australia became an independent nation during World War II.

Australia is comprised of six distinct states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Two territories also exist in Australia. Each state and territory is governed by its own parliament and are considered to be sovereign regions, however each of them is governed by the nation's Commonwealth and the Constitution of Australia.

Australia's geography consists of more than 7.5 million square kilometers of land surrounded by the Indian and and Pacific Oceans. Although the country is the sixth largest by land area, the continent of Australia is by far the smallest geographical continent. One of the major geological features of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef that lies just off of the northeastern coast. The reef is a popular attraction for tourists, as well as home to countless species of marine life. The Australian Outback is a large region of Australia that is considered by many to be the adventure capital of the world. The Outback is a remote region that is more also commonly called "the bush". A wide variety of wildlife resides in the Australian Outback and species such as the kangaroo, emu, dingo, cockatoo, galah, and various reptiles frequent the region.

Australian business is dependent on the Australian Dollar for its currency. The Australian Securities Exchange is the major trading center for stocks in the country. The per capita GDP of Australia is considered to be among the highest in the world and the majority of Australians enjoy prosperous lifestyles compared to the rest of the world. The official language of Australia is English, but the majority of Australian immigrants are bilingual with Italian and Greek being secondary languages.

In recent years Australia has adopted the American culture as its major influence. Younger generations of Australians are the major demographic that relies on American television, movies, sports, and news for its cultural traditions.