The Imagined Australia: How views of the continent shaped strategies of invasion in the 18th century.
Australia is a country with a long and complex history. It was first inhabited by Aboriginal Australians, who arrived on the continent more than 60,000 years ago. In the 18th century, the first Europeans began to arrive in Australia. These European settlers brought with them new ideas and technologies that would forever change the course of Australian history.
The ideas generated by Europeans about Australia played important roles in shaping their views concerning appropriate strategies of invasion. European commentators imagined Australia as a land of contrast, a place where the savage and the civilized coexisted. They saw it as a land of great opportunity, but also believed that it posed a number of challenges that needed to be overcome.
2. What did the Europeans think about Australia in the 18th century?
In the 18th century, Europe was a very different place to what it is today. The majority of people still lived in rural areas and worked as farmers. Cities were much smaller than they are now, and most people had never travelled more than a few miles from their home town. For many people, the idea of travelling to another continent would have been completely unimaginable.
Despite this, there was a growing interest in exploration in 18th-century Europe. This was partly due to the advent of new technologies, such as the telescope and the printing press, which made it possible to learn about distant lands without leaving home. But it was also due to a change in attitude amongst Europeans, who were becoming increasingly curious about the world beyond their own continents.
One of the places that captured the European imagination was Australia. This was partly due to its isolation – it was one of the last remaining unknown places on Earth. But it was also because of its reputation as a land of extremes, where both danger and opportunity existed in equal measure.
Many Europeans believed that Australia was inhabited by savage cannibals who would kill and eat any Europeans who dared to set foot on their land. At the same time, they also believed that Australia was rich in natural resources and offered huge opportunities for those brave enough to take them. This dichotomy between danger and opportunity would shape European thinking about Australia for centuries to come.
3. How did these views shape their strategies of invasion?
The Europeans who invaded Australia in the 18th century did so with very different objectives in mind. Some were motivated by a desire to find new lands for settlement, others by a desire to convert the indigenous population to Christianity, and still others by a desire to exploit Australia’s natural resources for profit. But whatever their individual motivations, all of these invaders shared one common goal: to establish control over Australia and its inhabitants.
The way in which these Europeans went about achieving this goal varied considerably depending on their objectives. Those who were motivated by profit often took a very brutal approach, massacring Aboriginal Australians and taking their land without any compensation. This approach was justified by the belief that Aboriginal Australians were little more than savages who could not be expected to understand or respect property rights.
Those who were motivated by religious conversion often took a more proselytizing approach, seeking to win over Aboriginal Australians through peaceful means such as preaching and education. This approach was based on the belief that Aboriginal Australians were human beings with souls who could be saved through Christian conversion.
Those who were motivated by a desire to find new lands for settlement often took a more conciliatory approach, seeking to establish friendly relations with Aboriginal Australians and negotiate treaties for the use of their land. This approach was based on the belief that Aboriginal Australians were potential allies who could help the settlers to survive in a unfamiliar and often hostile land.
The way in which Europeans imagined Australia in the 18th century played a crucial role in shaping their strategies of invasion. These imaginations were often based on inaccurate and distorted views of Aboriginal Australians, who were seen as either savages or saints depending on the Europeans’ own objectives. But whatever their individual motivations, all of the Europeans who invaded Australia in the 18th century shared one common goal: to establish control over Australia and its inhabitants.