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Word Count: 782
Between 1788 and 1850 the English sent over 162000 convicts to Australia in 806 ships The first eleven of these ships are today known as the First Fleet and contained the convicts and marines that are now acknowledged as the Founders of Australia Before 1788 Australia was populated by about 300000 aborigines These nomadic people had inhabited the continent for more than 10000 years They had seen very few Europeans but two events were to play an important part in changing their way of life forever Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of New Holland in 1770 and named it New South Wales He sailed the whole of the coast and reported to the British government that he thought it would make a good place for a settlement Britain did not recognise the country as being inhabited as the natives did not cultivate the land and were therefore labeled uncivilized The agrarian revolution in Britain and the population explosion in the cities resulted in an increase in crime As the American Revolution meant that no more convicts could be sent there the only way to overcome the overcrowding in the jails was to establish a penal colony in the land discovered by Captain James Cook The convicts would be transported never to return to Britain The convicts and marines embarked on the ships which arrived at Portsmouth on 16th March 1787 They then waited on board until the arrival of Captain Arthur Philip signaled the time for their departure By the time they departed some convicts had been aboard these ships for seven months Very few only 23 to be exact died during the voyage compared to the later convict fleets From the start the settlement was beset with problems Very few convicts knew how to farm and the soil around Sydney Cove was poor Instead of Cooks lush pastures well watered and fertile ground suitable for growing all
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