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New Holland (Australia)

New Holland (Australia)

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New Holland is a historic
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 name for the island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

 of Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. The name was first applied to Australia in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman
Abel Janszoon Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the VOC . His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands...

 as Nova Hollandia, naming it after the Dutch province of Holland, and remained in use for 180 years.


William Dampier
William Dampier
William Dampier was an English buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer...

's account of exploring the region used the name in his account. The American author Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 also referred to New Holland as late as 1833, in his prize-winning short story "MS. Found in a Bottle": "the hulk flew at a rate defying computation (...) and we must have run down the coast of New Holland".

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

 - an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist
Naturalist may refer to:* Practitioner of natural history* Conservationist* Advocate of naturalism * Naturalist , autobiography-See also:* The American Naturalist, periodical* Naturalism...

, tax resister, development critic, surveyor
Surveyor may refer to:Professions and their activities* Surveying, the process of determining accurate positions on, or near the Earth's surface** Cadastral surveying, the process of establishing boundary locations and land parcel corners...

, historian, philosopher and leading transcendentalist - mentioned the term New Holland (referring to the territory of the "wild" indigenous Australians) in his book Walden; or, Life in the Woods
Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau...

, in which he writes: "So, we are told, the New Hollander goes naked with impunity, while the European shivers in his clothes. Is it impossible to combine the hardiness of these savages with the intellectualness of the civilized man?"

After the establishment of a settlement at New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 in 1788, which encompassed the eastern part of the continent, the term New Holland was more often used to refer only to that part of the continent that had not yet been annexed
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 to New South Wales; thus it referred to the area of land that is now Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...


The abandonment of the name is due to Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders
Captain Matthew Flinders RN was one of the most successful navigators and cartographers of his age. In a career that spanned just over twenty years, he sailed with Captain William Bligh, circumnavigated Australia and encouraged the use of that name for the continent, which had previously been...

, who used the name Australia for the continent, and recommended its official adoption. This was rejected at the time, but in 1824 the name change received official sanction by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

; though the term "New Holland" was still in use as late as 1837 in official correspondence between the Government in London and the colony of New South Wales, referring to the entire continent of present-day Australia.

In the Netherlands Nieuw Holland would remain the usual name of the continent until the end of the 19th century; it is now no longer in use, the Dutch name now is Australië.