Dutch put Australia on the world map
Despite being the world’s largest island continent, Australia was the last inhabited continent to appear on Europe’s map of the world.
It was a small group of navigators in the service of the Dutch East India Company that put much of Australia’s coastline on the world map by the year 1644 – more than 125 years before the arrival of Lieutenant James Cook.
At first, the coastline was mapped by the Dutch navigators to warn other ships in the Dutch East India Company of Western Australia’s hazardous coastline.
But as more coastline was mapped, the company began taking interest in the region and sent out ships on journeys of exploration.
It was a massive accomplishment, one that Cook recognised when claiming the east coast of Australia for Britain:
“… on the western side (of New Holland) I can make no new discovery – the honour of which belongs to the Dutch navigators.”
Read below to find out how the Dutch East India Company charted Australia’s northern and southern coastlines by the year 1644.