Australia (continent)

the continent Australia covers a main land mass, actual Australia or earlier new Holland, and the pre-aged islands Tasmanien and new Guinea, whatever Papua or Irian is called. The northernmost point lies directly at the equator, on the island Kabare, in the south extendsthe continent up to the southeast cape on Tasmanien with 43° south. The east west expansion hands from the Cape Byron to 153. Degree of longitude east up to the Cape Inscription to 113. Degree of longitude east. With a surface of 8.500.000 km ² is it nearly as largely as Europe and about four times like thatlargely like the largest island of the earth, Greenland.

Frequently among the continent Australia also the island states lain in the Pacific are ranked, in particular for cultural and political reasons New Zealand. This total region is called however cultural continent Ozeanien.

Lage Australiens

Table of contents

political arrangement

independent States of

dependent one of areas

Earth-history emergence

with the help of here the colored marked paläobiogeographischen circulation areas of Cynognathus, Mesosaurus, Glossopteris and Lystrosaurus can be reconstructed the arrangement today separate continents to Gondwana.

The continent Australia was part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, that approximately 200 million years ago due tocontinental drift from the Urkontinent Pangäa one separated.

After itself successively Africa and Madagascar (forwards approx. 160 million years), India (forwards approx. 125 million years) and New Zealand (forwards approx. 80 million years) of Gondwana split off, drifted the Australian continent slowly northward, remained however to forwards45 million years further connected with Antarktika. During this time formed Australia, new Guinea and Tasmanien a connected land mass, Sahul. 15 million years ago the northern part of Sahuls collided with Southeast Asia, whereby the mountains of new Guinea unfolded themselves. From this collision also those developed Torres Strait, which lay however at this time still over the sea level. Only before 8000 years the Torres Strait was flooded, before approximately 12,000 years also the bass Strait and thus the continuous land connection between new Guinea, Australia and Tasmanien was interrupted.

During the continent partGondwanas was, prevailed a mild climate forwards. To the separation from Antarktika it came by the again arising Meeresströmungen between these continents to a cooler and drier climate. This effect was still strengthened, after also South America and the Antarctic continent separated and thus that Antarctic Zirkumpolarstrom began.

The continent Australia lies today on the Australian continental plate, which is seen as part of the larger Indian-Australian plate. It covers Australia, the southern parts of the island new Guinea, the northern part of New Zealand as well as the eastern Indian ocean, the Indian Subkontinentand a part of the Pacific ocean. The continent moves today with a speed of 73 mm per year toward northeast.


Satellitenfoto von Australien
satellite photo of Australia

physical geography

Australia is characterised by its dry, flat hinterland. InThe east is limited the flat center of the Great Dividing rank, which reaches a height of 2228 meters with the Mount Kosciuszko. This mountain chain pulls itself until Victoria in the southeast. In the thinly settled west of the continent are the Australian deserts, as for examplethe Nullarbor desert. These flat landscapes are interrupted only occasionally by collections like the Macdonnell of rank. Salient landmark of the Australian mainland is the island mountain Uluru, which is regarded of the Aborigines as holy place.

Contrary to the remainder of the continent are on new Guineadue to the collision with the Chinese continental plate strongly fissured mountains. One about 200 km broad mountain chain pulls the entire island through from west to east. Here are the highest mountains of the continent, the Puncak Jaya with 4.884 m and the Mount William with 4.509 M.

To the most well-known rivers for example the Darling River, Murray River, Snowy River and the Sepik River belong (new Guinea). The inside of Australia is fresh water reservoir, large salt lakes such as Lake Eyre determines the landscape poor on.

see also geography of Australia

to climate

The continent takes three climate zones : the tropical zone (northern turning circle of the Steinbocks), the subtropical zone (southern turning circle of the Steinbocks) and the coolingmoderate zone in the extreme south and on Tasmanien.

New Guinea in the extreme north is exposed to all year round strong tropical rainfalls. Temperaturesbecause of the coast are here usually with for instance 30°C. In the higher mountain regions it can come however also to night frost.

Within the range of the main land mass against it clear seasonal climatic differences step out. Weather-determining here mainly three phenomena, the tropical low pressure belt , are which trade wind zone and the subpolarenWest hoist. In the summer half-year from November to April strong rainfalls arise in the north due to a heat low. Additionally it comes over the Timorsee to eddy towers. South Australia lies at this time in the subtropical high pressure belt and remains to a large extent dry. In the winter term, May until Octobers, remains against it thatThe north due to a Hochdruckgebiets drying, the south and southwest of the country are appropriate for precipitation in the west wind zone and are suspended. Southeast trade winds bring all year round upward gradient rains to the mountains of the east.

The center of the country remains all year round to a large extent drying, 80 per cent of the surface of Australia is semiarid and arid areas alsoless than 250 mm precipitation in the year.

South Australia is the most densely populated area in the range of the southern ozone hole.


small bird of paradise (Paradisaea minor)
due to its size and situation exists in Australia remarkable variety at ecological systems, of deserts, Half deserts, steppes and savannahs, over the moderate up to the tropical rain forest. These are protected by numerous Australian of national park and the truck time national park in west new Guinea. A singular habitat that forms for 2,012 km long Great Barrier Reef. This corral reef before the northeast coast of Australia becamein the year 1981 of the UNESCO as the world nature inheritance explains.

The biogeographical Australian region includes also the Indonesian islands east of Bali also. The border to the eastern zone is formed thereby by the Wallace line. By the long isolation of the continent itself here a Flora could and fauna establish, who remained to a large extent uninfluenced by evolutionary developments on other continents. All rezenten kinds of the duck-bills occur only in Australia and new Guinea. . Characteristics of the bird world are for example the birds of paradise, one on the tropical regions limited family. The Flora pointsSimilarities to Florenelementen South America as well as to fossil finds in the Antarctic up, a reference to the only late separation of these continents.

Particularly on the Australian mainland introduced animal species endanger the ecological equilibrium by humans. So have foxes, cats and dogs for the extermination of severalsmall kinds of bag mammal contributed, hoof animals destroy the sensitive soil and to the hunt introduced game rabbit compete successfully with the domestic herbivores.

see also fauna of Australia

to population

the continent Australia is with approximately 28.4 million inhabitants after of Antarctic the population-poorest (less than for exampleSpain with 40 millions or Poland with 39 millions).

Indigene population

the indigene population of the continent consists of the Aborigines of the main land mass, the Tasmaniern, the Papua as well as the melanesischen peoples of new Guinea and the pre-aged islands. These groups form howeverno uniform cultures, but form a multiplicity of linguistic and for culturally definable units. In particular the population of new Guinea is considered to the most heterogeneous world as one. While in Papua New Guinea further a majority of the population is and also in west Papua still nearly half of the inhabitants of indigenen origin,places the Aborigines only scarcely two per cent to the Australian population. The Tasmanier was nearly completely destroyed after the settlement by the Europeans.

see also Indigene of peoples Australia Ozeaniens

to immigration

due to the different colonial history of the Australian regions are also the immigration samples very different.Like that the majority of the population of the Commonwealth of Australia is britischstämmig, for the 70's increases however the Zuwanderung from the asiatic area. In Papua New Guinea immigration never played an important role, while the Transmigrasi - program of the Indonesian government for the resettlement of approximately 1,2Millions humans, particularly from Sumatra and Java, after west Papua led.


in new Guinea are further several hundred Papua languages common, as traffic language however Tok Pisin here became generally accepted. Office language of Australia and Papua New Guinea is English, in west Papua Bahasa Indonesia.

see also languages in Papua New Guinea, Australian languages

to religion

the majority of the population belongs to Christian religious communities, particularly in Papua New Guinea is very high the portion with 96 per cent due to successful Missionierung. The practice of the faith takes place however frequently in combinationwith traditional faith conceptions with animistischem background. In west Papua Muslims place about 20 per cent, above all Indonesian immigrants to the population.



the Australian continent was settled before at least 50,000 to 60,000 years from Southeast Asia. Until before 35,000 years haditself the population over the continuous land connection until Tasmanien spread. The first human communities probably settled the coast. Before approximately 30,000 years then also the first settlements in the high country of new Guinea developed.


Hollandia new facts, map of 1659, provides of Joan blue on journeys of Abel Tasman and Willem Jansz, here a French expenditure of already 1663
in the antiquity is based from a southern continent, like Ptolemäus it in the 1.und 2. Jh. n. Chr. as terra australis incognita (unknown southern country) mentions, gone out, as necessary counterweight to Eurasien. But the conception, the equator is a fire barrier, not possibly made a possible discovery. After its discovery Terra Australis Incognita was finally renamed first in Terra Australis and Australia.

New Guinea was the first part of the continent, at the beginning 16.Century one sighted by European sailors.1526 landed the Portuguese Jorge de Meneses by accident on the island. From it allegedly also the term Papua , malaiisch for frizzy , comes as allusion on the frizzy hair of the melanesischen population. After the landing of the Spaniard 1545 one began Íñigo Ortiz de Retez with the export of noble woods and other luxury goods.

The main part of the continent was discovered in the year 1606 by the Dutchman Willem Jansz. In the following decades further Dutch trading vessels at the Australian coast stranded, measured this discovery howeverno special meaning. In the year 1642 the Netherlands east India company decided however to a planned study of the continent. Abel Tasman discovered the today's Tasmanien. In an expedition under Willem de Vlamingh starting from 1696 became far parts of the west coast cartography ore. There the landscape howeverdrying and unfruchtbar worked, showed the dutchmen no interest to colonize Australia.


in April or May of the yearly 1770 reached James Cook the fruitful east coast and took parts of the country as British colony new South Wales for England in possession.This was planned as convict colony, the first ships with settlers and convicts met to 26. January 1788 in Sydney Cove. Until 1836 becomes further colonies based, which entire Australia, apart from new Guinea under British control to bring.

1828 begin with the acquisition of the peninsula Vogelkop by the Dutchmen also the Kolonisation new Guinea. 1884 the Netherlands, Great Britain and the German Reich under itself divides the remainder of the island. The western part goes to the Netherlands, Great Britain receives the southeast, Germany the southwest. 1906 will hand over the British part at Australia,the German part goes 1919 under Australian control.

independence efforts

between 1855 and 1890 received the individual British colonies of the main continent the privilege of the Responsible Government and thus a larger independence from the British Empire. London kept however for the time being control of foreign policy,Defense and foreign trade. In the colonies planning for a union of the member states begins.

At the 1. Once from each other the independent colonies of the mainland with Tasmanien were formed January 1901 to the Commonwealth OF Australia. To 26. September 1907 receives the Commonwealth of Australia with the Dominionstatus thosealmost complete independence from the motherland Great Britain. Thus the home policy of Australia could be arranged according to own desires, while the foreign policy was led still with priority by the British Foreign Office. Only with the statute of Westminster (1931) the State of Australia kept its complete independence formal. Thus z became.B. the First World War of Australia does not explain, but it could sign the peace treaty of Versailles (1919).

During the Second World War the north of new Guinea is occupied from 1942 to 1945 by Japan. Also the Australian mainland is threatened in this time of Japanese invasion.

Indonesia, since 1949 independently, lays claim on the western part of new Guinea, this remains however for the time being Netherlands. 1957 began to develop the Netherlands and Australia plans for the independence of a united new Guinea into the 1970er years. 1961 were held a meeting in west new Guinea and a parliament, that Nieuw Guinea Raad, imported. Indonesia marched thereupon in and began somewhat later to drive out the Papua from areas in which settlers from Indonesia should be settled. 1963 became west new Guinea officially Indonesian province. Despite sequential autonomy efforts Indonesia does not recognize the independence of the province until todayon. The eastern part of the island received the complete independence from Australia to 1975.

the Commonwealth OF Australia

Australia joined that 1920 created Völkerbund as initial member. This permitted it that a people federation mandate for the former German protected area emperor William country on new Guinea and that Bismarck archipelago at Australia went. After the Second World War Australia became member in the Commonwealth OF nation.

Australia was not militarily only at the two world wars, which Korea war and the Viet Nam war take part. During the malaiischen state of emergency (EN: Malayan Emergency) (1948-1960) sent Australia 1955 troops. Alsowith the following Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation (EN: Confrontation) (1962-1966) Australian soldiers were involved Indonesia Malaysia starting from 1965 on Malaysian desire.

A further military presence of of great importance was 1999 the participation in the international peacekeeping force in Osttimor, which led to the independence Osttimors from Indonesia.

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Papua New Guinea

in the easternmost island of the State of Bougainville caught fire 1988 by a rejected demand after remuneration for the environmental damage a civil war caused by a Kupfermine. About 20,000 humans too dead ones are to have come. 1990 withdrew itself the government army and ordered oneBlockade of the island. 1992 marched then government troops, but only 1997 came it to an armistice and to negotiations, which were terminated 2001 successfully with a peace agreement.

See also: Gold

are history of Australia


work on] to economics


work on] of Bodenschätze at Bodenschätzen,Silver, diamond, hard coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, nickel, tin and uranium. In the year 2002 were 55% of all exports of the State of Australia raw material exports, whereby coal with 11,1% was the most important export product. For Papua New Guinea the raw material export was still more important, it amounted to 70% to80% of the entire exports. The most important raw material products were gold, oil and copper. In west new Guinea the world-wide largest Kupfermine of the world lies. Besides there are still gold mines and the illegal wood trade is special from great economic and ecological importance.


agriculture can in the State of Australia only at the coasts to be operated, whereby even the best surfaces, so z. B. the viticulture predominantly lying in the southeast - areas, to be occasionally artificially watered must. For this reason the principal part of the agriculture lies in the extensive Viehaltung.

With approximately 100 million In the year 2003 are produced for house sheep 25 per cent of the world production at wool in Australia. The sheep feast into the still partial fruitful areas of the Outback on farms with on the average 3,000 animals, whereby individual farms accommodate also over 100.000 animals. Besides is also productionof lamb and sheep meat of economic importance. Nearly entire production at Merinowolle comes today from the Australian Merinoschaf. This sheep race is divided South Australian and Spanish today into Peppin, Saxon, which show special in each case climatic adjustments. Beside the Merinoschafen is the crossing of Merinoschafto find and Border Leicester sheep most frequently in Australia.

The land managing of Papua New Guinea and west new Guinea are mainly aligned to the local need.


the State of Australia

Elizabeth present queen of Australia and thus the head of state of Australia are. As their agencythere is a governor general (see: EN: Governor general OF Australia) and ever a governor (see: EN: Governors OF the Australian of states) for the six states of Australia.

Apart from the close relations with regard to foreign policy, which with the membership in the Commonwealth OF are nation connected, Australia maintains intensive political andmilitary contacts with the USA. As consequence of the Pacific war 1952 the ANZUS agreement developed. In this military support on mutuality between the USA, Australia and New Zealand was agreed upon. The first emergency were the terrorist attacks at the 11. September 2001 in the USA, which for Australian participationwith initially 2,000 soldiers at the Iraq war and 300 command soldiers at the war in Afghanistan led.

The military participation of Australia in the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation led 1971 to the establishment five-power defense arrangement (FPDA) between Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore.

After the notice of Bali 2002 and the terrorist attackon the Australian message 2004 in Jakarta co-operation with Indonesia in safety questions strengthened.

In the commercial policy Australia represents its interests strengthened in favor of its export-oriented raw material industry. In addition belong for example the non--ratification Kyoto minutes and the many disputes with the European Union in the context of the world trade organization. Also by the membership in the APEC, which wants to furnish a foreign trade zone in the Pacific area, Australia tries to represent its interests.

Between New Zealand and Australia a free trade agreement, Closer Economic exists relation mentioned since 1983, which includes a free job market. Thus is nearlycompletely free market of approximately 22 million humans originated in. With China Australia speaks about a foreign trade zone, since so the Chinese requirements of raw materials and the Australian need at favorable consumer goods could be covered economically.

Papua New Guinea

Elizabeth II. if the head of state of Papua New Guinea is, represent througha governor general. The country is since its independence from Australia 1975 member in the Commonwealth OF nation and since 1993 in the APEC. To the states and dependent areas Ozeaniens exist political connections by the membership in the Pacific Community and the Pacific Iceland forum.

In Bougainville, the easternmost island of the country, gave it to 2005 elections for first autonomous province government, whereby the civil war is there provisionally befriedet. Only with the agreed upon referendum over an independence of the island the topic will then be finally clarified.

west new Guinea

armed andunarmed movements of independence engage themselves for an independence of the area from Indonesia. Since 2002 an autonomy law applies to the region, which for the first time a protection of interests for Papua institutionalized and a larger part of the locally gained profits from the wood trade and the mining industry enterprises the inhabitants benefitleaves. However the law stands so far only on the paper.

Commons: Australia - pictures, videos and/or audio files

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