Federal, state, and territorial elections are held every three or four years. Voting is compulsory at the federal and state levels but not at the local government level. There are two houses of the federal and state parliaments except in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory. Core features of the political party system derive from early twentieth-century arrangements that followed the federation of the states into a commonwealth.
The other large political parties are the Australian Democrats and the Green Party. Since federation, the constitution has been changed only reluctantly through referenda. In there was a vote rejecting the proposition that Australia become a republic, ceasing to have an office of governor-general as a representative of the British monarch and thus as the titular head of state. Some argue that the society is already a de facto republic since the constitution has entrenched the primacy of popular sovereignty.
The British Union Jack on the flag is for some people an acknowledgment of historical ties with Britain, while for others it is a reason to change the constitution to emphasize the independence of the nation. Leadership and Political Officials. There are three levels of government leadership: the prime minister in the federal government, the state premiers, and the mayors in local government.
All officials are elected democratically. At the federal level the governor-general is appointed by the government, as are governors at the state level. Mining is one of the most important industries in Australia. High-ranking officials are important in the administration of policies and laws. Social Problems and Control. In the legal system authority is divided between states and territories and the commonwealth. The judicial system is based on the common law of England. The criminal justice system consists of the state and commonwealth agencies and departments responsible for dealing with crime and related issues.
The federal criminal justice system deals with offenses against commonwealth laws, and the state systems deal with offenses against state laws. Criminal law is administered mainly through the commonwealth, state, and territorial police forces; the National Crime Authority; and the state and territorial corrective or penal services. Crimes such as stealing are more common than crimes against individuals, such as assault. Military Activity. The defense forces operate according to three basic priorities: defeating attacks from outside the country, defending the nation's regional interests, and supporting a global security environment that discourages international aggression.
Australia has a volunteer army reserve but no national service requirement. There is a navy, an army, and an air force. Twelve percent of regular service positions are held by women. The nation's strategic stance is broadly defensive, with the expectation that armed force will be used only to defend national interests. The Defence Force has been called on frequently, to assist in international security and humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Namibia, and Cambodia as well as in humanitarian crises in Somalia and Rwanda.
The most recent military activity has been peacekeeping in East Timor. The Defence Force also has played a key role in responding to major floods and fires, and its services are called on in search and rescue missions. The approach to social welfare is based on the notions of "a fair go" for all and egalitarianism. Since the s, legislation has promoted equity and equal access to services for all citizens, often to improve the chances of the disadvantaged. This history of helping "the battler" has been challenged by notions of economic rationalism.
Pertinent social welfare issues include rising unemployment, an aging population, child care, assisting people from diverse cultural backgrounds, assisting people in remote areas, and poverty. Approximately two million people live below the poverty line. A host of social welfare provisions have been enacted throughout the nation's history.
Australia was one of the first countries to give women the vote. It also was the first country to legislate a forty-hour working week in The government maintains continuing relationships with many large and small Nongovernmental organizations NGOs that are active in human rights and community services Amnesty International, Australian Red Cross, Defense for Children International, and International Women's Development Agency.
NGOs provide relevant needs-based community services and welfare and promote changes in government policies and activities. Most not-for-profit NGOs were created by religious organizations to meet perceived needs or by community members to deal with a specific problem Salvation Army, Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence, Care Australia.
The government encourages the existence of charitable NGOs through tax exemptions and liberal laws of association and incorporation. Often, NGOs are established in response to immediate or emergency social problems. The government will intervene when resources are not being used efficiently and when services are being duplicated.
NGOs, particularly those in the nonprofit sector, are major providers of welfare services and significant contributors in the health, education, sport, recreation, entertainment, and finance industries. The bulk of their revenue comes from government grants, private donations, and service fees.
Division of Labor by Gender. British ideas and practices involving gender were imported with colonization. Women tend to be associated with the private sphere, unpaid work, and the home, while men tend to be associated with the public sphere, paid work, and the larger society. This division was particularly pronounced in the early years of settlement, when free settler women were seen as homemakers who brought civility to the male population.
Migrant women have been valued for their ability to create settled families and generally have entered the country as dependents. Traditionally, occupation has been sex-segregated, with women predominating as domestics and in the "caring professions," such as teaching and nursing. However, sex discrimination and affirmative action policy since the late s has been directed toward promoting gender equality in all spheres. As a consequence, there have been increases in women's participation in secondary and higher education as well as in the general workforce and an increase in the availability of child care.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. Many areas of social, economic, political, and religious life remain gendered, generally to the disadvantage of women. Women are underrepresented in scientific occupations, managerial positions, and the professions and overrepresented in administrative and clerical positions. Women earn on average less than men do and spend more time than men doing unpaid domestic work.
Women's right to vote in federal elections was included in the constitution of Nevertheless, the progress of women in entering public office was A traditional pearling lugger is loaded with supplies at Streeter's Jetty. In women's representation in local, state and federal government was around 20 percent. Although women are more likely to spend time on religious activities than men, the majority of religious ministers are male.
Most heterosexual couples marry for love and to confirm a long-term emotional, financial, and sexual commitment. Arranged marriages occur in some ethnic groups, but are not considered desirable by most people. Marriage is not essential for a cohabiting relationship or child rearing, but nearly 60 percent of people over fifteen years of age are married. The law grants members of de facto relationships legal rights and responsibilities equivalent to those of formally married couples. Homosexual couples are not recognized by law as married regardless of a long-term relationship.
Marriage occurs with a civil or religious ceremony conducted by a registered official and can take place in any public or private location. The ceremony usually is followed by a celebration with food, drink, and music. Guests provide gifts of household goods or money, and the parents of the couple often make substantial contributions to the cost of the wedding.
No other official exchange of property occurs. Divorce has been readily available since and involves little stigma. It requires a one-year separation period and occurs in approximately 40 percent of first marriages. Upon divorce, the husband and wife agree to divide their mutual property and child-rearing responsibilities; law courts and mediators sometimes to assist with this process. Remarriage is common and accepted.
A significant trend in family formation is a dramatic increase in the proportion of marriages preceded by a period of cohabitation. Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is widely considered the norm; the most common household unit in the census was the couple, followed closely by the couple with dependent children, then the one-parent family with dependent children, the couple with nondependent children, and other family groups. A pervasive myth is that the extended family does not exist and that society is composed of nuclear families cut off from extended kin.
While most people live in couple-only or nuclear family households, the extended family is an important source of support for most people. Blended families and stepfamilies with children from former marriages are becoming more common. Citizens have "testamentary freedom" or the right to declare how they wish their property to be distributed after death.
With this freedom, individuals can legally enforce their cultural practices. They also can choose to remove relatives from the will and pass their property to a charitable organization or an unrelated person. If an individual dies without a valid will, the property is distributed to the spouse, then the children of the deceased, and then the parents and other kin. If there are no relatives, the property goes to the Crown.
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Kin Groups. Broad kin groups are not a significant feature of the national culture, but extended families exist across households and are the basis for emotional, financial, and social support. Many minority ethnic groups recognize kin networks of considerable breadth. Aboriginal cultures encompass principles of traditional kinship in which large networks of relatives form the significant communities of everyday life. Infant Care.
Child rearing varies considerably with the country of origin, class background, the education and occupation of the parents, and the religious group to which a family belongs. While most practices are aimed at developing a responsible and independent child, Aboriginal and many migrant families tend to indulge young children more than do most Anglo-Celtic parents.
Some ethnic groups supervise their young more strictly than the dominant Anglo-Celtic population, encouraging them to mix only with family and friends, be dependent on the family, and leave decision making to the parents. Child Rearing and Education. Mothers are the preferred primary caretakers, although fathers are taking increasing responsibility for child care. In the past mothers were not as isolated in their child care responsibilities, receiving help from older children, extended kin, and neighbors.
The reduction in family and household size in recent years has meant that the burden of care falls largely on mothers. There is significant variation in ideas about good parenting, reflecting the diverse cultural values and traditions of parents' ethnic background. Practices justified by recent scientific research usually are considered the best. In the past the values most prized in children were obedience and deference, but today good parenting is commonly associated with having assertive and independent children.
There are no formal initiation ceremonies for the "national culture," although the twenty-first birthday often is celebrated as a rite of passage into adulthood. Access to high-quality education is considered the right of all citizens, and the government provides compulsory primary and secondary schooling for children between ages six and fifteen.
Most schools are fully funded by the government. The remainder are nongovernment schools that receive nearly half their funding from fees and private sources such as religious associations. Attendance at nongovernment schools has been increasing since the s because it is felt that independent schooling provides better educational and employment opportunities. Preschool centers are available for children younger than age six. Nongovernment schools are mainly Catholic. Education is aimed at providing children with social and workplace skills. Educational methods vary depending on particular requirements; for example, education for children in remote rural locations relies heavily on advanced communication technologies.
Guidelines have been established in all states for dealing with children with special educational needs, such as those with disabilities and those who are intellectually gifted. Higher Education. Higher education is considered to offer the best employment opportunities. Consequently, tertiary education has become more widely available and is undertaken by an increasingly larger proportion of the population. It is available in two forms: universities and institutions of technical and further education TAFE.
In , 37 percent of women and 47 percent of men received post-school qualifications, and Universities also attract substantial numbers of overseas students. The government is responsible for funding most universities and institutions, with increasing contributions being made by students in the form of fees and postgraduation tax payments.
A predominant image among Australians is that they are very casual, easygoing, and familiar. First names are used commonly as terms of address. An ideology of egalitarianism pervades, with men, women, and children treated similarly. Attempts at appearing superior to others in terms of dress, manners, knowledge, and the work ethic are discouraged. A handshake is the most common way to greet a new acquaintance, and a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or a verbal greeting the most common way to greet a friend. The colloquialism, "g'day" good day , is considered the quintessential greeting.
There is an easy friendliness in public places. Personal privacy is respected and staring is discouraged, although eye contact is not avoided. Eye contact during conversation is considered polite among the general population; averting the eyes during conversation is considered a sign of respect among Aboriginal people. When a line is forming, new arrivals must go to the end. In museums and exhibitions voices are hushed. In performance contexts the audience is expected to be silent and attentive. Service attendants consider themselves equal to their guests, and usually are not subservient.
Australians also resist being "served.
The First Miracle: Water Into Wine Essay
Bodily functions are considered inevitable but are not discussed or performed in public. Religious Beliefs. The constitution guarantees religious freedom, and while there is no official national religion, Australia generally is described as a Christian country. British colonists brought the Anglican belief system in , and three-quarters of the population continues to identify with some form of Christianity, predominantly the Catholic and Anglican faiths. Until recently almost all businesses closed for Christian religious holidays. Extensive immigration has made Australia one of the most religiously diverse societies in the world.
Almost all faiths are represented, with significant numbers of Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus. Many indigenous Australians have embraced Christianity, often as a result of their contact with missionaries and missions. Religious alternatives such as spiritualism and Theosophy have had a small but steady presence since the s. A growing set of beliefs is represented by the so-called New Age movement, which arrived in the s and evolved into the widespread alternative health and spirituality movement of the s.
This has opened the way for an interest in paganism and other aspects of the occult among a minority of citizens. Religious Practitioners. There has been an increase in lay religious practitioners in the Christian churches in recent times as a result of decrease in the number of people entering the clergy. Most religious institutions are hierarchical in structure. Religious specialists participate in pastoral care, parish administration, and fund-raising for missions.
Many also maintain a host of institutions that deal with education, aged care, family services, immigration, health, youth, and prisoner rehabilitation. Rituals and Holy Places. Every religious denomination has its own places of worship, and most expect their followers to attend religious services regularly. There has been a decline in regular church attendance among the younger generation of Christians, who tend to be critical of church policy and practice. Places of worship are considered sacred and include locations that hold spiritual significance for believers.
Among certain ethnic groups shrines are established in places where saints are said to have appeared. There are many Aboriginal sacred sites, which are generally places in the landscape. Death and the Afterlife.
first fleet on. Nash/Williams pioneer families New Holland (Terra Australis) Great South Land
The law requires that deceased people be dealt with according to health regulations. A vigil over the body in the family home is practiced in some religious and cultural traditions. Funeral parlors prepare the body of the deceased for cremation or burial in a cemetery. Funerals are attended by family members and friends and often include a religious ceremony.
Most medical health care is subsidized or paid for by the government, for which a small levy is paid by all citizens. Public hospitals often provide free services. People can select a private general practitioner, usually in their neighborhood. The general practitioner provides referrals to specialist doctors where necessary, and payment is usually on a feefor-service basis.
Health professionals may work privately or in a hospital setting. In recent years there has been an attempt to increase the level of private health insurance coverage among citizens. Prevention of illness is a high priority of the government, with several programs such as vaccination, public health warnings about smoking and AIDS, public education campaigns on nutrition and exercise, and public awareness campaigns regarding heavy drinking and illicit drugs.
Individuals are held to be responsible for their own health problems, and most investment goes to individually oriented, high-technology curative medicine. In the s community health centers were established to focus on groups with special needs, such as women, migrants, and Aboriginal people. These centers provide more holistic care by addressing personal and social problems as well as health conditions.
Increasing numbers of people combine Western medicine with traditional and New Age practices. This may include Chinese herbalists, iridology, and homeopathic medicine. These alternative forms of medical treatment generally are not subsidized by the government. The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides emergency medical assistance to those in remote areas. It was founded in and is funded by government and public donations.
The service also provides emergency assistance during floods and fires. Probably the most significant national secular celebration is Anzac Day on 25 April. However, the event now encompasses participants in all wars in which Australia has been involved. Dawn services are held at war memorials and there are well-attended street parades. On Remembrance Day 11 November , which is not a public holiday, a two-minute silence is observed in remembrance of Australians who fought and died in wars.
Australia Day is celebrated on 26 January to commemorate British settlement, and many capital cities host a fireworks event. Boxing Day occurs on 26 December. The Boxing Day cricket test match is an annual event watched on television by many residents. The day also is treated as an opportunity to extend Christmas socializing, with many barbecues taking place in public parks or at private homes. Labour Day is a public holiday to commemorate improved working conditions and the implementation of the eight-hour workday.
It is celebrated at different times of the year in different states. A significant celebration occurs on Melbourne Cup Day, an annual horse-racing event in Melbourne. Many people attending the race dress formally, and employees in workplaces gather to watch the event on television. Royal Easter Shows and Royal Show Days with annual agricultural shows are held in capital cities with exhibits, competitions, and sideshows highlighting the rural tradition.
On Grand Final Days, the annual finals to the national Australian Rules and Rugby League football competitions, large crowds gather to watch the game and friends congregate to watch it on television in homes and public bars. Most states have public holidays to commemorate the founding of the first local colony, and there are annual arts festivals that attract local, national, and international artists as well as multicultural festivals. Some states have wine festivals. Support for the Arts. Most people who participate in the arts depend on other professions for their primary income.
Full-time arts practitioners are usually highly dependent on government funding. The sale of work in graphic arts, multimedia, and literature earns a substantial income for many practitioners, while the performance arts, in particular dance, do not tend to generate enough income to cover their costs.
The Australia Council funds artistic activity, provides incomes to arts workers and projects, and is the primary source of income for dance and theater. The film and television industries receive substantial government support and tax incentives. There is government funding for schools of the performing arts. Approximately 10 percent of large businesses provide some form of support or funding to the arts or cultural events.
Since the s a national literature has been developing with a distinctly Australian voice. This tradition, which is focused largely on the bush as a mythic place in the Australian imagination, has been challenged recently by a new suburban focus for literature. Increasingly, Aboriginal and other authors from diverse cultural backgrounds are having work published and appreciated. Australian authors have won many international awards, and Australians are claimed to be one of the leading nations in per capita spending on books and magazines.
Graphic Arts. Painting was dominated by the European tradition for many years, with landscapes painted to resemble their European counterparts until at least The Heidelberg school was influential in the late nineteenth century. Social-realist images of immigrants and the working class were favored as more "Australian" by Since , images of the isolated outback have been popularized by artists such as Russell Drysdale and Sydney Nolan. Aboriginal artists were acknowledged in with a comprehensive display of their art in the Australian National Gallery.
Their work is becoming increasingly successful internationally. Performance Arts. Each state capital has at least one major performing arts venue. Playwrights have been successful in presenting Australian society to theatergoers. Indigenous performance has been supported by a number of theater and dance companies since the early s. Women's theater achieved a high level of attention during the s. The styles of music, dance, drama, and oratory vary significantly, reflecting the multicultural mix of the society.
Annual festivals of arts in the states showcase local and international work and are well attended, in particular by the well educated and the wealthy. Music styles range from classical and symphonic to rock, pop, and alternative styles. Music is the most popular performance art, attracting large audiences.
Pop music is more successful than symphony and chamber music. Many Australian pop musicians have had international success. Comedy and cabaret also attract large audiences and appear to have a large talent pool. Ballet is popular, with over twenty-five hundred schools in the early s. The Australian Ballet, founded in , enjoys a good international reputation. The sciences are well served in a number of leading fields, including astronomy, chemistry, medicine, and engineering. Funding is provided by a combination of government and industry.
Most universities provide scientific programs. The social sciences are not as well funded mainly because they tend not to produce marketable outcomes. Nevertheless, there is a strong representation in disciplines such as psychology, history, economics, sociology, and anthropology in universities. Social scientists work both in their own country and overseas.
There is a tradition of social scientists from certain disciplinary backgrounds working in government and social welfare organizations. Bambrick, S. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Australia , Bessant, J. Watts, Sociology Australia , Bosworth, M. Carroll, J. Castles, S. Cope, M. Kalantzis, and M. Clyne, M. Price, ed. Commonwealth of Australia. Defending Australia: Defense White Paper , Davison, G. Hirst, and S. Macintyre, eds.
The Oxford Companion to Australian History , Forster, C. Australian Cities: Continuity and Change , Haralambos, M. Smith, and M. Holborn, Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, Jupp, J. Makin, T. Henningham, ed. Molony, J. Parrinder, G. Worship in the World's Religions , Australia Now—A Statistical Profile. Toggle navigation. Culture Name Australian. Alternative Names. Orientation Identification. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space There has always been a high concentration of urban and suburban dwellers, partly because the harsh physical environment has encouraged people to remain close to the fertile coastal areas.
Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Political Life Government. Social Welfare and Change Programs The approach to social welfare is based on the notions of "a fair go" for all and egalitarianism. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Socialization Infant Care. Etiquette A predominant image among Australians is that they are very casual, easygoing, and familiar. Religion Religious Beliefs. Medicine and Health Care Most medical health care is subsidized or paid for by the government, for which a small levy is paid by all citizens.
Secular Celebrations Probably the most significant national secular celebration is Anzac Day on 25 April. The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. The State of the Physical and Social Sciences The sciences are well served in a number of leading fields, including astronomy, chemistry, medicine, and engineering. Bibliography Bambrick, S. Jose, A.
History of Australasia, Turnbull, C. A Concise History of Australia , Van Sommers, T. Religions in Australia , User Contributions: 1. I think that the Article was vere mind blowing it had alot of useful that i could use on my travels. Ariole Brown.
I'm australian and there was one piece of information that grabbed my attention because it was not correct. Dampers wasn't originally made by settlers, it was made by indigenous groups across asutralia long before the invasion. Settlers may have seen this being done and did it themselves however they were not the first in Australia to do so. The Pope. From another Australian, I think you have done a good job in writing this. It is a pretty accurate and balanced article, and sums up our national character well.
I don't agree with Ronnie's comment about the damper. This is very helpful! Where is the clothing catagory. Daniels mom! This was very helpful for my 9 year olds school project on Australia! Thanks so much! Ronnie's comment regarding the damper is correct. Interesting information perhaps a little simplistic at times but still good information. I wanted to thank the people who put the web site together. I found some information very funny, such as "bodily functions are considered inevitable, but are not discussed in public. Some information I found a little too simple, and I would have liked to know more such as the role of men and women and the traditional dress of the Australians.
I really want to use this information for an essay but want to quote correctly. Thank you. Thanks for the website because its gives every meaningful articles, It helped me alot because it had everything that i needed. Very good information. Here then, with supreme irony, are the seeds of the two major misconceptions that formed the premise for two of the world's great voyages. The combined errors of a smaller world and an extended Mediterranean will lead Christopher Columbus to believe that the distance from the Canaries to Japan is only twenty-four hundred miles--it is over ten thousand.
And the persistence of the terra incognita in the south will send James Cook off on the second of his great voyages around the world. Basil, in the fourth century A. What is important is to know how I should conduct myself towards myself, towards my fellow man and towards God. In , a few years after St. Basil's death, we watch, with an Olympian shrug of the shoulders, a Christian mob looting and destroying the pagan temples and centers of learning in Alexandria. It is the dawn of a thousand years of Christian dogma that is to cripple any free inquiry into the workings of the natural world.
Gibbon will comment sadly that the empty shelves in the libraries "excited the regret and indignation of every spectator whose mind was not totally darkened by religious prejudice. Theology is all, and the explanation of all phenomena can be found in the Scriptures. The world reverts to the flat-disc theory of the ancient Greeks.
For does not the Lord "sitteth upon the circle of the Earth" and "stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" Isaiah ? Jerusalem is the center of this disc, for "I have set it in the midst of the nations and the countries that are round about her" Ezekiel And any suggestion of a southern continent is stomped upon with ecclesiastical severity.
In Pope Zacharias excommunicates an Irish priest who has the temerity to preach such a doctrine. They had not gone to the antipodes; therefore the antipodes could not exist. Terra australis incognita was heresy. On such ideaological thinking a future librarian of the Royal Geographical Society would pass this summary judgment: "It is an unedifying story.
But religion has not yet finished with the Alexandrian centers of learning. Another monotheistic faith is soon to sweep through Egypt, along the coast of North Africa and into the Iberian Peninsula: Islam has burst forth from its narrow desert confines. The Islamic general who captures Alexandria asks the Syrian Caliph Omar what are his wishes for the remaining libraries.
And destroyed they were--to heat the public baths. But Ptolemy's works, buffeted by the zealots of both religions, survive and are translated into Arabic. And Islam becomes the custodian and caretaker of much classical learning. For the lighthearted, however, all is not unrelieved theological gloom. Borrowing shamelessly from the Roman naturalist Pliny--Solinus is mockingly known as "Pliny's ape"--and with fabulous additions of his own as to the animals and strange humans that inhabit the world, the Polyhistor is to have a lasting influence on the slumbering cartography of the Middle Ages, if only to provide decorative entertainment.
One incensed nineteenth-century geographer, C. Beazley, would fulminate regarding Solinus's influence on medieval geography that: "no one ever influenced it more profoundly or more mischievously. The thirteenth-century Hereford Map is an ecclesiastical and decorative example of this mischievous influence. The Earth is a circular disc with Jerusalem at its center. The Garden of Eden is located, as well as Noah's Ark. And the lands and islands are peopled with fabulous Solinus creatures. Here are the dog-headed men, the "cenocephali"; here is a horse-footed man, a "hippopod"; here is a man with long ears reaching to his knees; here are cannibals, the "anthropophagi," munching away on limbs; here are men with heads in the middle of their chests; and here are, perhaps most enchanting of all, the "ymantopedes," men with one leg who hop and somersault about and whose feet are so big that they use them as a shade against the sun or shelter against the rain.
All is not myth, however, for here also is a drawing of a man holding a long stick and wearing long flat boards on his feet: the first known drawing of skis. A man very familiar with skis, Fridtjof Nansen, echoing the Royal Geographical Society's librarian, would offer this acid comment on the church's influence on medieval thought: "This was the intellectual food which replaced the science of the Greeks. Truly the course of the human race has its alterations of height and depths. But the tide is turning.
In , to counter the wheel maps of the medieval age, there surface in Europe--via Constantinople--Ptolemy's works on geography and astronomy. Another translation is made, this time from the Arabic into Latin, and within two years these works and maps are available to European scholars. And from here, overlooking the ceaseless surge of the Atlantic at the westernmost limit of continental Europe, the Portuguese caravels are directed on their extraordinary voyages of exploration.
Souls and spices are an unlikely recipe for exploration.
But it is the search for a sailing route to the Spice Islands of the Moluccas, combined with zeal to convert the heathen, that is the driving motive behind these voyages. And also the adamantine will of Prince Henry. For his chosen captains show a certain pusillanimity at being ordered to sail into Solinus-like regions where oceans boil and monsters lurk to devour foolhardy mariners and sink their vessels.
But prodded by the visionary Prince, supported by faith, and sustained by a diet of salted meat, salted fish, garlic, olive oil, beans, biscuits, and flour, these tough and resourceful seamen range down the coast of Africa and into the Indian Ocean on their search for cloves, nutmeg, mace, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and souls.
Ptolemy's landlocked Indian Ocean is a myth. While the Portuguese have been scouting the coast of Africa for a passage east to the Indies, a self-confident and glib-tongued Genoese is persuading the Spanish--having been rebuffed by the Portuguese--to finance an expedition to sail west to the Indies.
Based on Ptolemy's maps, and with judicious juggling of figures to salt the mine, Christopher Columbus estimates that it is only twenty-four hundred miles from the Canaries to Cipangu Japan. It is ten thousand miles: the rest, as they say, is history. In this scramble for gain by the two Iberian powers leads Alexander VI--that most worldly of Popes--to issue, with sublime arrogance and pontifical omniscience, a papal bull dividing the world between Spain and Portugal.
The dividing line for this stupendous carve-up is set leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. After some acerbic haggling between the two beneficiaries, the final dividing line is settled, signed, and sealed by the Treaty of Tordesillas in The new line is set leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. All new discoveries to the west are Spanish, all to the east are Portuguese. Not even the nineteenth-century European scramble for Africa, the American move west, or the Russian move east can compare with this colossal real estate effrontery.
Straddling like Apollyon across the way, the New World is to prove a more formidable barrier than Africa to the riches of the Indies. In a dramatic gesture--in an age of dramatic gestures--Balboa wades into the ocean and claims for Spain all lands washed by its shores. The sea he names the South Sea. In the seeingly impenetrable bulwarks of the American continent are breached by Ferdinand Magellan and the discovery of his eponymous Strait. It is to take thirty-seven days for Magellan's three vessels to thread their way through the Strait.
The land to the south they name Tierra del Fuego; but they are uncertain if this is part of a large land mass or merely an island. Only one vessel, the leaking, stinking, and barnacle-encrusted Victoria, returns to Spain. And eighteen scurvy-ridden seamen, barefooted, dressed in rags, faces hidden by matted hair and beards, stagger in file carrying lighted candles to the Convent of Santa Maria de la Vitoria in Triana. There they give thanks for their safe deliverance, pray for the souls of their dead companions and Ferdinand Magellan, and give penance "for having eaten flesh on Fridays and celebrated the feast of Easter on Mondays, due to their having lost a day in their reckoning.
Nevertheless, flat-earth churchmen and the dogmas of faith prove hardy beasts. Centuries later, in , Joshua Slocum in the Spray, sailing on the first single-handed circumnavigation, will entertain three Boers in Durban sent by President Kruger of the Transvaal to test the validity Slocum's outrageous claim that he is sailing around the world.
They will argue to no purpose. Later in the day Slocum will pass one of these gentlemen on the street and make a curving motion with his hands; not to be outdone, the fundamentalist will return with a flat and level movement of his. In , Sir Francis Drake, that pugnacious, spade-bearded, and archetypal fighting Elizabethan seaman--or pirate, depending upon your nationality--thumbs his nose at the Treaty of Tordesillas and slips through the Strait of Magellan in sixteen days. After entering the Pacific he is blown south and east by storm-force winds. The winds easing, he sails north and west to make a landing on--or near--the island that boasts Cape Horn.
Here Drake, in typical cocky fashion, lies down on his stomach, stretches his arms and torso over the steep face of the cape, and claims, with an urchin grin, that he is the southernmost man in the world. South of his outstretched arms lies a glittering sea. Here "the uttermost Cape or hedland In the International Oceanographic Conference of London will fix on the meridian of Cape Horn as the boundary between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Drake, no doubt, would be wondering why it had taken so long. What are the cartographers to make of these Spanish, Portuguese and English voyages? In , a French mathematician, Oronce Fine, publishes an elegant map of the world where Magellan's Tierra del Fuego forms part of a huge southern continent confidently named Terra australis recenter invento sed nondum plene cognita--"the southern land newly discovered but not yet fully known. This collection of seventy maps eventually runs to forty editions. As in Fine's map, Tierra del Fuego is shown as part of a vast southern continent, a mass of land with a coastline sweeping majestically around the earth, complete with headlands, capes, bays, inlets, and rivers.
A year previous to the publication of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, a friend of Ortelius and fellow cartographer had published a map of the world with a revolutionary new projection. Gerhardus Mercator--born Gerhard Kremer--produced this new type of map for the use of seamen: it was entitled a New and improved Description of the World amended and intended for the Use of Navigators. But another century will pass before seamen, being cautious conservative folk, fully appreciate the practicality of a chart where, for the first time, they can plot a course to a distant landfall with a straight line.
Mercator and Ortelius published their maps in the Low Countries. A decade after their appearance, the stolid burghers of those watery lands declare their independence from Spain and the loathed Spanish Inquisition. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had seen the caravels, carracks, and galleons of the two Iberian kingdoms carving furrows across the world's oceans.
The seventeenth century is to belong to the mercantile Dutch, who, in their seaworthy flyte and armed jacht, oust the Portuguese and the English from the East Indies. The Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie Dutch East India Company , founded in , is the formidable company--virtually an arm of the government--that monopolizes the Dutch East India trade. This formidable company, before its dissolution in , is to lay the foundations for the Dutch overseas possessions and etch on the world's maps the islands of the East Indies and the north, south, and west coasts of New Holland Australia.
The Company, formed for trade and not for exploration, lays down laws for Dutch merchants that only Company ships may sail to the East Indies for trade, going either round the Cape of Good Hope or through the Strait of Magellan. The legislators, perhaps, have been influenced by those maps showing Tierra del Fuego as part of Terra australis incognita.
One man believes otherwise. Isaac le Maire, a founder member of the V. Monopolist companies breed within them men who become stifled by the giant they have created. Such a man was le Maire. The Strait of Magellan was banned to all but Company ships. Therefore, reasons le Maire, create a new company--Australische Compagnie--and look for a passage to the Indies south of the Strait. Drake's headland where "the Atlanticke Ocean and the South Sea But there could be truth in it.
In June two vessels lie at anchor off Texel in the Netherlands: the ton Eendracht, commanded by Wilhelm Cornelius Schouten, and a ton jacht, the Hoorn, commanded by Jan Cornelius Schouten. The Hoorn is to be lost by fire on the Patagonian coast; but on 29 January the Eendracht rounds and names the southernmost cape of Tierra del Fuego and sails from the Atlantic into the Pacific. Schouten writes in his log: "Cape Hoorn in degrees'S. Rounded 8 p.
The Dutch voyage jolts the Spanish into a galvanic reaction to this end run around their precious Strait of Magellan. With commendable speed the Spanish India Office orders two tough, battle-hardened, and sagacious brothers, Bartoleme and Gonzalo Garcia de Nodal, to the command of two ton caravels. Their crew are impressed Portuguese and the two brothers sail from Lisbon during September of carrying orders to either prove or disprove the Dutch voyage around the end of South America.
They can, of course, only confirm the truth of it. But, driven by gales away from Cape Horn, they discover, on 12 February , a desolate group of islands that lie fifty-six miles south-southwest of the cape. Islas Diego Ramirez are named after the expedition's cosmographer. These bleak, wind- and wave-battered islands are to be the most southerly recorded land for a years. The cartographers dutifully adjust their world maps to show the new passage into the South Sea; and the shores of Terra australis incognita inch south. This is no maverick expedition, but one that sails under the flag of the Dutch East India Company.
It is part of a comprehensive plan to discover "the Southern portion of the world all round the globe, and to find out what it consists of, whether land, sea, or icebergs, and all that God has ordained there. The two vessels are the jacht Heemskerch and the flyte Zeehaen. In command is Abel Janszoon Tasman, with Visscher as "pilot major.
On 13 August Tasman is issued his instructions and the two ships sail next day, bound for the Dutch possession of Mauritius. The instructions are enlightened ones. The natives of any land discovered are to be treated with courtesy and the Dutch are counseled to "be patient and long-suffering, no ways quick to fly out.
This is, after all, a commercial venture. There is canny advice to Tasman that if the natives "offer you gold or silver in exchange for your articles, you will pretend to hold the same in slight regard, showing them copper, pewter, or lead and giving them an impression as if the minerals last mentioned were by us set greater value on. The two ships spend a month at Mauritius outfitting for their voyage south.
The plan is to sail south to between 52 and 54 degrees south latitude and search for land; if no land is discovered, to run east to the longitude of the eastern extremity of New Guinea, then north to elucidate questions raised by Dutch and Spanish voyages. There is also a contingency plan to continue sailing east to the coast of Chile. Here the gold- and silver-bearing provinces of Chile and Peru exert a double allure to the Dutch: they can satisfy their hunger for precious metals and have the satisfaction of tweaking the beards of the hated Spanish.
Loaded with their cargo of trade goods, by early November they reach latitude degreesS. Snow, hail, gales, and the cold felt by the crew force a return to more temperate latitudes, and they run their easting down in 44 [degrees Toward the end of November land is sighted and by 1 December they come to anchor in a protected bay.
The land is named Van Diemen's Land Tasmania. No inhabitants are seen, but traces of them exist, for cut into the tree trunks are notches spaced five feet apart. These natives could be giants.
- Alternative Names.
- Aramaic New Testament: English text (Ancient Roots Translinear Bible Book 2).
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In truth they are not giants; but the descendants of these shy natives quietly watching the Dutch are to have a melancholy history. Their story is terrible and shameful. Tasmania would be settled by the British in as a penal colony, and the natives, displaced from their ancestral lands, would fight back with their primitive weapons. One settler wrote: "The natives have been very troublesome and treacherous This included a massive sweep of the island, with a line of armed settlers attempting to drive the natives, like a herd of game, into the cul-de-sac of the Tasman Peninsula.
Needless to say, most of the natives, with their superior fieldcraft, managed to avoid the blundering British. But the settlers won in the end--removing the natives to Flinders Island in the Bass Strait. The last pure-blooded native died in Tasman's stay is short. By 4 December the two ships sail from this land that is "not cultivated but growing wild by the will of God" and continue their easterly course.
On 13 December more land is sighted. It proves to be a cloud-capped, mountainous one, with surf beating in a white fringe along its shores. Sailing along this inhospitable-looking coast they eventually reach a low-lying shore that offers hope of a protected anchorage. At sunset on 18 December the two vessels are anchored. An hour later, twinkling in the evening shadows, lights are seen on shore, and then two canoes slip from the shore to the ships.
They stop a short distance off, call out to the Dutch in an unknown language, and blow what sounds to the Dutch like a Moorish trumpet. The Dutch shout back and, not to be outdone, play European instruments. This impromptu concert reaches its finale with the fall of darkness. So ends the first contact between Europeans and the Maoris of New Zealand. The natives of Van Diemen's Land had proved shy, elusive, and mysterious.
The following day the natives of this new land are to prove of a different kidney. The next morning the Dutch find themselves encircled by canoes. Suddenly, without warning, one of the larger canoes, the natives furiously paddling, rams into a launch carrying a message between the two ships. In a frenzy of violence, four of the launch's crew are clubbed to death. The piacevole overtures of the previous evening have been replaced by the feroce chords of an all too familiar tragedy. The two ships weigh anchor and sail from this ill-fated refuge, which the Dutch name Murderers' Bay, and for three weeks coast north along the shores of the land they have named Staten Land.
Contrary winds prevent them following the land when it trends east and Tasman sails north deeper into the Pacific. The expedition finally returns to Batavia ten months after leaving. The Directors of the company receive the news of his discoveries with marked unenthusiasm. The voyage has brought no trade or profit and, sniff the Directors, Tasman "had been to some extent remiss in investigating the situation, conformation and nature of the lands and peoples discovered, and left the main part of this task to be executed by some more inquisitive successor.
Nevertheless, Tasman's voyage has sliced off a great segment from the coastline of Terra australis incognita. And the world is to wait eighty-five years before the birth of the inquisitive successor.
Related Terra Australis: Dawn of a New Era
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