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Invasion, Theft, Rape, Murder: The Aboriginal Holocaust in Tasmania

european tasmania


The isolation of Tasmania’s original people ended in 1642 with the arrival and intrusion of the first Europeans. Abel Jansen Tasman, the Dutch navigator after whom the island is named, anchored off the Tasmanian coast in early December 1642. Tasman named the island Van Diemen’s land, after Anthony Van Diemen–the governor-general of the Dutch East India Company. The island continued to be Called Van Diemen’s Land until 1855.

On January 28, 1777, the British landed on the island. Following coastal New South Wales in Australia, Tasmania was established as a British convict settlement in 1803. These convicts had been harshly traumatized and were exceptionally brutal. In addition to soldiers, administrators, and missionaries, eventually more than 65,000 men and women convicts were settled in Tasmania.

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