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Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the

mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is
the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The
neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north;
the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.
For about 50,000 years[13] before the first British settlement in the late 18th
century,[14][15] Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages
classifiable into roughly 250 groups. After the European discovery of the continent
by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and
initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January
1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the
continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia
has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as
a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories.
Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF). With
the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life,
health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a
member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum. The population of 25 million is
highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard.[21] Australia had the
world's 9th largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population.
The name Australia (pronounced in Australian English) is derived from the Latin Terra
Australis ("southern land"), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern
Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in
the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was naturally applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by
the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 (as Nieuw-Holland) and subsequently anglicised. Terra
Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts. The name Australia was
popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, and
an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time
that Australia appears to have been officially used was in April 1817, in which Governor Lachlan
Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In
December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted. In
1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially by that name. The first
official published use of the new name came with the 1830 publication of "The Australia
Directory" by the Hydrographic Office.
Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under" (usually shortened to
just "Down Under"). Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the
Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land". The latter two both derive from Dorothea
Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".