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7,682,300 km²
(2,966,153 mi²)
Canberra (pop. 367,752)
Captain James Cook explored the east coast of Australia in 1770. The first European settlers arrived in 1788 when many tribes of indigenous people inhabited the continent. The original settlers where mostly convicts, government, and military officials. By the first half of the 1800's Britain claimed the entire continent for herself, which started a large influx of free settlers. The Commonwealth was proclaimed January 1, 1901. Today, Australia is a contrast of large urban cities and huge rural expanses. There are five metropolitan areas with over one million, the largest being Sydney with four million. Here you will find the most skyscrapers of Australia and some of the most interesting architecture, such as the Sydney Opera House.