The Australia , considered country-continent, is the sixth country in area, with a total area of over 7.7 million square kilometers. Its area is surpassed only by Russia, Canada, China, the United States and Brazil.
This longshore country is bathed by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Among the few islands of its extensive coast, the island of Tasmania stands out, separated of Australia by the Strait of Bass, to the south-east of the country.
The territory is divided into six states : Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, as well as two territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).
The Australian shield forms an extensive crystalline plateau, the Western Plateau , whose altitudes vary between 300 and 600 meters, and has important mineral deposits.
Along the Pacific coast lies the Australian Cordillera , stretching from the York Peninsula to the State of Victoria, on the southern tip of the continent. In the southern portion of this mountain range lies an ancient folding called Australian Alps in the State of New South Wales.
Between the Western Plateau and the Australian mountain range, the Central Plains are located .
The country is relatively poor in rivers, due to the arid and semi-arid climates that dominate great extensions. The most important watershed is Murray , with its large tributary, the Darling River , and is located south of the Central Plains.
The center-west portion of the country is rich in lakes. The rivers that exist in this region are, for the most part, temporary and tributaries of Lake Eyre , with 9,583 km².
Hot, dry climates (arid and semi-arid) predominate in Australia, accounting for extensive deserts such as Victoria, Gibson and Simpson on the Western Highlands.
In arid regions, continentality is responsible for the marked daily temperature range, as is the case in Alice Springs , Northern Territory, where the temperature during the day reaches more than 47 ° C in the shade and at night falls to -5 ° C.
Other types of climate in Australia are tropical humid , in the northern and eastern portions, subject to the monsoon regime; the humid temperate , of fertile lands; the Mediterranean and the subtropical , with rains in the winter.
The variety of climates results in a range of plant formations in Australian territory. The extensive savannas ( bush ), a consequence of hot and arid climates, and tropical and subtropical forests , with the presence of eucalyptus (native tree of Australia), are located in the humid areas of the northern and eastern coasts.
Australia is known for its endemic fauna, that is, animal species that have evolved in its territory and only exist there, such as the koala, the platypus, the echidna, the dingo, the kangaroo among others. This is due to its continental isolation.
Colonization of Australia
The Dutch were the first Europeans to explore the Australian territory. In 1770, it was the turn of the English James Cook.
In 1788, British occupation and colonization began in Australia: the English settled in Sydney Cove Bay, where the present-day Sydney city is located. For a long time, Australia was an English agricultural penal colony.
The original inhabitants of Australia were the Aborigines , who were, for the most part, exterminated by the English. These people lived collectively, were nomadic and did not practice agriculture. They were economically self-sufficient.
Colonial domination, however, has disrupted these societies, relegated today to isolated areas of the country, the outbacks . In many communities, the native lifestyle reflects the values adopted by the colonizing peoples.
Initially, some factors discouraged Europeans from going to Australia: the distance between the two continents and the preference for America, relegating Oceania to the background.
The discovery of gold in Australia in 1851 changed that situation: the country began to receive thousands of European immigrants , initially British, then Italian, Irish and Greek (making it difficult for non-Europeans to enter the country).
The population of Australia, with 24 million people (data for 2016), is concentrated in the southeast and the main cities are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Canberra, the capital, has a little more than 350,000 inhabitants.
Current socioeconomic indicators – such as high HDI, low birth rates, high life expectancy and high per capita income – make Australia a modern and developed nation.
It is a country that has a very diversified economy, with an industry linked from the primary sector, with food, wine, tobacco and mineral exploration, to activities that require great technology, such as machinery, equipment, products chemical, metallurgical, steel, etc.
The tertiary sector accounts for 71% of the country’s economy (major development of state-of-the-art technology and qualified service provision), the secondary sector (industries) accounts for 21% of production and the primary sector accounts for 8%. In addition, some of its universities are considered research centers, such as the University of Melbourne.
Australia exports beef, wheat, wool and minerals such as bauxite, lead, nickel, manganese, gold and silver.
Australia is located between America and Asia, a strategic area of the Pacific, both commercially and maritime, as well as international geopolitical. International trade is being carried out more dynamically: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC ) today accounts for a significant share of world exports.
Australia is very well equipped to play the role of “average power” in the Pacific Ocean.
English is the official language of the country, and until the 1960s Australia and the United Kingdom remained militarily and economically linked.
Australia is part of the Commonwealth , which is defined as the “Voluntary Association of Sovereign States”.
The country is a parliamentary monarchy whose head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The head of government is the prime minister.