Australia Name How Did Australia Get Its Name?

Claudius Ptolemy in about 200AD popularised the name Terra Australias

Claudius Ptolemy first used the name Terra Australis

The name Australia comes from the Latin phrase “ Terra Australias Incognita,” meaning the Unknown Southern Land. It was coined in the second century by the ancient mapmaker Claudius Ptolemy to describe a vast yet-to-be-discovered southern land he believed existed at the bottom of the world. In 1606, the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós used the name Australia del Espiritu Santo to describe an island in Vanuatu he mistook for the yet-to-be-discovered southern continent. In 1803, the British explorer Matthew Flinders proposed the name “Australia” for the vast southern continent to the south of Vanuatu, which he had just circumnavigated and mapped. He was confident that this was indeed the southern continent. In 1824, the British Admiralty agreed that this continent should be officially named Australia.


What was Australia First Called? Why was Australia called Terra Australis?

Ancient map of Australia

Photo: 1570 Map with hypothetical land at bottom

Before Europeans discovered it in the 15th century, Australia was known in the Western world as Terra Australis, which means "great southern land" in Latin. The concept of a southern landmass was first proposed by ancient Greek scholars in about 500 BC, who believed that the world was a sphere and that a landmass must exist in the south to balance out their known world in the north. This imaginary landmass was later depicted on maps by Greek mapmaker Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD, who called this mythical land Terra Australis.

There is no record of what Australia may have been called other people. The native inhabitants of Australia, the Aboriginals, did not have a name for the entire continent.

Who Discovered Australia


Who First Used of the Word Australia? First Documented Use of the Word Australia

Location of Vanuvatu relative to Australia

Photo:Location of Vanuatu relative to Australia

The first documented use of the word "Australia" can be traced back to Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, a Portuguese navigator who was commissioned by King Philip III of Spain to find Terra Australis. In 1606, Queirós and his expedition reached what he believed to be the southern continent and named it Australia del Espiritu Santo. However, it turned out that he was actually on an island that is now part of Vanuatu, nearly 2,000 kilometres off course. In his memoirs, Queirós altered the name to Austrialia del Espíritu Santo, which was a combination of Austria and Australis, in an attempt to flatter King Philip III, who was of the royal House of Austria.


First English Usage of the Word Australia Earliest Use of the Word Australia in English

The first recorded reference in the English language was in 1625 by Sir Richard Hakluyt. His article "A note of Austrialia del Espíritu Santo" published in Hakluytus Posthumus, referred to Queirós's memoirs. He followed Queirós's published spelling for the word with the additional letter "i". (Austrialia).


What About the Dutch & Portuguese? They Had No Idea it was the Southern Land

Abel Tasman's map of Nwq Holland

Photo: 1663 Map of Abel Tasman's discoveries

There is a good chance the Portuguese sailed past the northern parts of the southern continent without realising the significance of the lands they saw and didn't record their observations.

As early as 1606 Dutch Dutch explorers charted sections of the northern, western and southern coasts of the continent. But they, too, thought the land they encountered was just the coastlines of large islands. The Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman sailed along Australia's western and northern coast in 1644 and named the lands he saw New Holland (Dutch: Nieuw Holland, Latin: Nova Holland). It doesn't appear that he realised this was Terra Australis. The Dutch never claimed any of the territory as their own.

The name New Holland subsequently adopted by many others.


What did The First British Call It? They Colonise the Place

The British explorer James Cook, who had been secretly commissioned in 1770 by the British Admiralty to find the southern land arrived on the east coast on 29th April 1770. Cook initially referred to the place as New Holland. He claimed it for the British and named the place New Wales and then change the name to New South Wales.

When the British established a colony in the new territory in 1788, they claimed all the land up to 135th meridian east longitude (135° east) as part of New South Wales. The rest, yet the unexplored western half of the continent still retained the name New Holland.


The British Finally Named it 'Australia' When was Australia Officially Named?

Mathew Flinder's Map of Australia

Photo: Map of Australia by Matthew Flinders

George Shaw, a British naturalist, in his work Zoology of New Holland of 1794 wrote "the vast Island or rather Continent of Australia, Australasia, or New Holland, which has so lately attracted particular attention." But he still referred to the place as New Holland.

In 1803 the English explorer Matthew Flinders was the first to circumnavigate and map the entire continent. It was he who suggested the name in a footnote in his book A Voyage to Terra Australis published in 1814.

"Had I permitted myself any innovation on the original term, it would have been to convert it to AUSTRALIA; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth."

On 12 December 1817, Governor Lachlan Macquarie recommended to the British Colonial Office that the "Australia" be adopted as the name of the continent still being referred to as New Holland.

Finally, in 1824, the British Admiralty agreed that the continent should be officially called Australia.

Who Discovered Australia


Conclusion - Who Named Australia So Who Named Australia?

The first person to use the word Australia was Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, a Portuguese navigator who, in 1606, assigned this name to an island in Vanautu.

It was the English explorer Matthew Flinders who suggested that the continent be called AUSTRALIA. So Matthew Flinders is credited with assigning the name Australia to the great southern land.


The Official Name for Australia What is the Real Name of Australia?

The official name for Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia . This country is made up of six states and two territories that occupy the continent of Australia. While the country is often referred to as Australia, there was no country by that name. (Similarly, there is no country called America–it is the United Sates of America).


The Land of Oz

Wizard of Oz

The Strine word "Oz" is a phonetic shortened form of the word Australia. It first appeared in 1906 as "Oss" and sometimes as "Aus" (rhymes with boss). This morphed into "OZ", sounding the same as oss and Aus. This transformation may have been a consequence of the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

Other Names for Australia What Do Australians Call Their Home?

The people of Australia refer to their country by several slang names.

    Australia
    Oz
    Land Down Under
    Down Under
    Aussie
    the Lucky Country
    Home

Australia Facts, Description, People, Language, Economy


Aboriginal Name for Australia What the Original Inhabitants of the Continent Call Their Home

At the time the first Europeans arrived on the continent of what was to become Australia, there were 500 to 1,000 aboriginal tribes with different languages and traditions scattered throughout the land. These people did not have a continent-wide collective consciousness of the place, mainly because they did not realised that it was one huge island, nor did they see the land as belonging to anyone in particular. Instead, they had names for their own traditional tribal areas but not for the continent known today as Australia.

Aboriginals - The First Australian

10 Australia's Name Facts

  1. The name Australia is derived from the Latin word australis, which means 'southern'.
  2. This word, australis, was first used nearly two thousand years ago in the name of an imaginary land called Terra Australis Incognito–the Unknown Southern Land.
  3. 3. The first recorded use of the word Australia was by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós in 1606.
  4. The Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman charted the coast in 1644 and called the place New Holland.
  5. The name New Holland was in common usage for the southern land until the mid-1850s.
  6. When the British first established a settlement in 1788 they claimed all the land up to 135th meridian east longitude and named it New South Wales. The rest was still called New Holland.
  7. In 1803 the English explorer Matthew Flinders was the first to circumnavigate and map the entire continent. He suggested that the whole continent by called Australia.
  8. Finally, in 1824, the British Admiralty agreed that the continent should be officially called Australia.
  9. The official name for the country of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia.
  10. The original names for Australia Australia included Terra Australis, New South Wales and New Holland. These old names were dropped in 1824.



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