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Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under" (usually shortened to just "Down Under").
Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land".
The population of 25 million Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 (as Nieuw-Holland) and subsequently anglicised.
Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts.
Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney.
For about 50,000 years After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788.
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from mainland Europe.
Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted.