The paper "Australia and the Global Economy - Why Was Australia Settled" is a perfect example of a macro & microeconomics case study. The earliest inhabitants in the Australian continent were the aborigines. It is now widely believed that they migrated from Asia from around 60, 000 to 40, 000 BC in successive waves. This period coincides with the Pleistocene era, which was the last great ice age. During this era, sea levels were 60 to 200 metres below current levels and the coastline coincided with continental shelves. This resulted in the formation of the Indonesian land bridge whereby the islands of Indonesia were joined together to form a continuous landmass from South East Asia to the Australian continent (Bowler, 1971). Though there were regions where narrow straits cut the landmass in several places, they were still traversable on foot.
From about 15,000 BC, global temperatures started rising, the ice melted and receded, resulting in rising sea levels. Consequently, by 9,000 BC, the current coastline had formed and Australia was isolated again from the rest of the world. This period of isolation ended in 1788 when the first fleet of British ships comprising 11 ships and 1,322 people landed at Botany Bay on 26 January 1788 (Mulvaney & Kamminga, 1999).
This essay examines the reasons why the British decided to settle in Australia with respect to the prevailing odds of doing this and various aspects concerning initial economic development and trends of settlement. In looking at the reasons why Australia was settled, the traditional view is that the British needed the continent as a penal colony, that is, a place where convicts from British jails could be “ dumped” .
The population of prisoners in British prisons almost doubled between 1782 and 1787, the authorities were therefore under were under immense pressure to find a place to take the convicts. Before 1776, prisoners sentenced to transportation would sold be taken to the American colonies where they would be sold to plantation owners for labour provision. This was especially so for landowners in the southern colonies where vast tracts of land under tobacco that required extensive human labour.
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