Australia is an amazing continent, with an unusual nature and history. This is the smallest continent on Earth. In addition, it is the only continent of the planet whose territory is completely occupied by one state (with the same name).
The smallest continent in the world
In the Southern Hemisphere, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this continent is located. Everyone who has well taught geography at school knows the answer to the question: "Which continent is the smallest?" Of course, this is Australia! Its area is approximately 7.66 million square kilometers.
The smallest continent is quite compact. From north to south it stretches for 3,700 kilometers, and from west to east for 4000 kilometers.
Australia is extremely inhabited by people. The density of residents here is only 3 people per one square meter of land. Even the sheep population on the continent is several times larger than the number of people here!
Well, now you are aware of which continent is the smallest. Nevertheless, Australia has many other, equally fascinating records and interesting features.
General geographical information about the continent
The smallest continent is also the lowest on the planet! So, the average height here is only 330 meters. This continent is also very dry: about a third of its entire surface is occupied by lifeless deserts.
The mountains in Australia are few, and they are not high. In the southeast of the mainland, the Australian Alps with Mount Kosciusko - the highest point of the whole continent - rise. Its absolute height is 2228 meters. By the way, the snow in the Australian Alps lies much more than in the Alps that are in Europe.
The smallest continent on Earth has one more interesting record. So, this is the only continent on the planet, on which there are no active volcanoes at all. The largest Australian river system is Murray and Darling.
It is curious that the Australians on maps depict their native continent in the central part of the canvas. And on the periphery all other continents of the planet are shown.
Features of the flora and fauna of the continent
On the endemicity of Australia, perhaps, everything is heard. Of the 12,000 plant species, nine thousand are found only here. The reason for this is simple and understandable: since the Cretaceous period, the continent has been completely isolated from the rest of the world. The most popular Australian endemics from plants are eucalyptus, as well as several species of acacias.
Of the animals, the most famous endemics of Australia are the kangaroo, the emu, the platypus, the echidna and the koala.
Many, probably, also know about the history of Australian rabbits. In the middle of the XIX century, 24 of these animals were released here. However, in a few years, thanks to active reproduction and the absence of predators, their number has grown to two million! Today, there are more rabbits in Australia than the Chinese in China, and the state is making every effort to contain the growth of their population.
The smallest continent can not boast of a rich fauna. However, in Australia, it is not worth to go to people suffering from arachnophobia. After all, there are at least 1500 species of different spiders. There are a lot of snakes here, including poisonous ones (20 species).
Australia is famous for its wide pasture for cattle. It is on this continent that the world's largest farm operates. And around it is located the largest pasture, which is comparable in area to the territory of Belgium.
Australia: population and languages
The smallest continent was discovered by James Cook in 1770. Up to this point, the only inhabitants of Australia were the Aborigines.
After the discovery of the continent, soon began its active colonization. It is interesting that the first settlers who landed on the coast of Australia were exiled criminals.
Today, the mainland is home to about 23 million people. Australians often call their country "Oz". But the toponym "Australia" comes from the Latin "australis", which can be translated as "southern land".
Australia has a high level of urbanization. About 60% of the total population lives in the country's five largest cities. These are Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. Curiously, the capital cities of Canberra are not on this list.
The vast majority of Australians communicate in English. At the same time, it is believed that the dialect of this language is spread on the continent - the "Strane", which differs in pronunciation from pure English.
Other interesting facts about Australia
Finally, we offer some more interesting facts about this land:
- on the state emblem of Australia are depicted kangaroos and emus ostrich;
- every third Australian never ties himself by marriage;
- in Australia, for failing to appear in elections, a person has to pay a fine;
- despite the fact that kangaroos are a national symbol of Australia, on the mainland its meat is actively used for food;
- australians - very gambling people, every fifth player in poker - comes from this continent;
- in none of the cities on the mainland there is a metro;
- every fourth citizen of Australia was born outside of her.
Australia is the smallest continent of our beautiful planet. Here, a unique and unique nature, characterized by endemicity. More than half of the representatives of the Australian flora and fauna are not found on other continents of the Earth.
Near the eastern coast of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef - a natural miracle, the longest coral reef in the world, whose length exceeds 2000 kilometers!