Tasmania (also called Tas or Tassie) is an island state in the Commonwealth of Australia. The Bass Strait separates the island from the Australian mainland.
The island-state includes the main island of Tasmania, plus the surrounding cluster of 334 islands (many of which are uninhabited). Furthermore, the main island is the 26th-largest island in the world.
Tasmania has over half a million residents. Almost half of the citizens reside in the Greater Hobart precinct. The Greater Hobart precinct forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest city, Hobart.
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Why visit this small Oceanic island paradise? Reserves, national parks, and World Heritage Sites cover almost 45% of Tasmania’s land mass. In addition, the state is the founding place of the first environmental party in the world.
The Bishop and Clerk Islets are about 37 km south of Macquarie Island. They are the southernmost terrestrial point of the state. Also, they are the southernmost internationally recognized land in Australia.
Many believe that Aboriginals inhabited the island for 40,000 years before British colonization. The Tasmanian Aboriginals separated from the mainland Aboriginal groups roughly 10,000 years ago. The separation occurred when the sea rose to form the Bass Strait.
At the time of colonization, the Aboriginal population was between 3,000 and 7,000. Within 30 years after settlement, that entire population was nearly wiped out. A violent guerrilla conflict with settlers known as the “Black War” plus intertribal conflict resulted in heavy casualties. The conflict peaked between 1825 and 1831. Eventually, it led to more than three years of martial law and the deaths of 1,100 Aboriginals and settlers.
Also, an infectious disease spread throughout the population during the late 1820’s. Unfortunately, the Aboriginal people had no immunity to the disease which left them helpless to defend against the onslaught. Some historians describe the near-destruction of Tasmania’s Aboriginal population as an act of genocide by the British.
In 1854, the current Constitution of Tasmania passed. The following year the state changed its name to Tasmania. In 1901, it became a state through the process of the Federation of Australia.
October 5, 2016 2:02 pm