Criminal colonization (1788-1830). – Australia, due to its vastness, geographical position, political and social importance, is the essential part of that complex of lands that in the English colonization passes under the name of Australasia (Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and adjacent islets). Its seas began, in all probability, to be crossed by chance by Portuguese and Spanish coming from opposite directions until the first half of the century. XVI (1530): but the definitive discovery of the very new continent can only be assigned to 1606, thanks to the cruise, along the northern coast of Australia, of the small Dutch vessel Duyphen for a thousand miles. In the following years, other Dutch vessels skirted here and there some stretches of the western and northern coasts of the continent, without however deepening their knowledge, as well as of the interior, not even of the coastal area. According to Directoryaah, this task was fulfilled (on behalf of the Dutch authorities of Batavia) by the two vessels led by Captain Abel Jansen Tasman, in the famous expedition of 1642-43. With this begins the less indeterminate knowledge of the country by the Europeans, in whose maps it appears with the name of New Holland.
Yet another 127 years had to pass before another memorable oceanic expedition, that of Captain Cook (1769-70), posed the problem of the colonial occupation of the very new world in its geographical and practical terms. Then skirting the eastern part of the continent and discovering Botany Bay, the entire country was renamed New South Wales due to the found or believed similarities with the old Wales of England, while the first relations with the natives were initiated. and the attention of the British government and public was drawn to the great southern land of the antipodes, through the satisfactory reports of Banks and the other scholars who accompanied Cook. It will seem strange that, in the admirable fervor of the era of great geographical discoveries,famous raya, while the long diplomatic, military and scientific duel for possession of the Moluccas was fought between Spaniards and Portuguese, the Australian continent remained completely out of orbit, as well as the great colonial competitions of the time, even geographical knowledge and nominal and fictitious occupations; stranger still, that the Spanish galleons traveled for over two centuries (XVI-XVIII) from South America to the Philippines and vice versa, without any colonial or commercial establishment being founded on the Australian coast; Finally, it is very strange that the Dutch, who succeeded the Portuguese in the Far East, did not lay the foundations for European colonization in Australia.
But the wonder ceases when one thinks, on the one hand, of the physical conditions of the Australian continent; on the other to the motives of the European colonization before the century. XIX. Far more than the unfavorable winds and the characteristics of the Australian coast (very arid in the west, malarial in the north, rocky in the east, preceded by a formidable coral reef in the north-west), the apparent poverty of the country kept the European colonizer away. This appeared to be a continent with very scarce flora and even more scarce fauna, devoid of the most useful plants and animals; a desert inhabited by nomadic tribes (it is estimated that the indigenous people amounted to about 200 thousand in the whole continent alone, still at the end of the 18th century), remaining at the last step of the human ladder, not yet emancipated from the whim of natural forces for the satisfaction of the most elementary needs of life. As well as the drugs much sought after by Europeans in the extreme southern lands of Asia, these natives cultivated nothing; while gold, the other great motive of the colonial occupations of the time, on the American continent, was a still unknown wealth of Australia.
By a favorable historical coincidence, Cook’s aforementioned voyages brought the Australian continent out of the shadows, just as England was about to lose, with the United Thirteen Colonies of America, the then best part of its colonial rule and among other things, he was faced with a serious problem of prison administration: that of the approximately two thousand prisoners, which every year – to evacuate their homeland prisons – it sent to the southern colonies of North America. Here a real market for deportees had been established for some time, at an average price of 10 pounds for a male and 8-9 for a female, and a special system for assigning deportees to free settlers in need of labor.) to the colonist, he remained legally servant of this, until he could redeem himself. This trade interrupted with the American Revolution, a lively propaganda against the prison system (hulks); and, after an investigation of 1779, a law of 1783 authorized the government to establish distant places of deportation, proposing to this end Gibraltar in Europe and the Gambia in Africa. In the same year, however, Mr. Matra certainly presented a memorial to the colonization of New South Wales, citing the convenience of giving a refuge to American loyalists and making bold predictions about the importance of the future colony, contrary to Bentham, who in one of his letters to Lord Pelham, written in 1802, he proclaimed those nascent colonies completely useless: the usual anti-colonial prophecies! Still others thought of Australia as compensation for the loss of the American colonies. The deportation was the price of the British government accepting the colonization plans devised for New Holland, by Giorgio Young in particular; and New Holland was declared a place of deportation in 1786, although the first supporters of this colonization had rather a free immigration and settlement, that is, an agricultural colony. Botany Bay then appeared in the English parliament, in 1786, the country most suited to the need, especially as England was afraid of being supplanted by the French in the very new continent, still unoccupied. Captain Arturo Phillip was sent in 1787 to occupy it with a load of condemned men. The unfortunate physical condition of Botany Bay, on which Cook had deceived himself, led him to change it to another bay, which he discovered, Port Jackson, where he landed definitively on January 26, 1788 with 443 between officers, sailors and men. free, and with 1163 condemned, to begin the British colonization of Australia. Here precisely Sydney rose (named after the secretary of state for the colonies of the time), the capital of the first Australian colony, of the mother-colony.