Australia is an amazing continent, with unusual nature and history. This is the smallest continent on Earth. In addition, it is the only continent of the planet whose territory is fully 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 taught geography well at school knows the answer to the question: “Which is the smallest continent?” 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 4,000 kilometers.
Australia is very poorly populated. The population density here is only 3 people per square meter of land. Even the number of sheep on the continent is several times the number of people here!
Well, now you are aware of which continent is the smallest. Nevertheless, Australia has many other no less fascinating records and interesting features.
General geographical information about the mainland
The smallest continent is also the lowest on the entire 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.
There are few mountains in Australia and they are not high. In the southeast of the continent, the Australian Alps rise from the mountain Kosciusko - the highest point of the entire continent. Its absolute height is 2228 meters. By the way, there is much more snow in the Australian Alps than in those Alps that are in Europe.
The smallest continent on Earth has another 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 the maps depict their native continent in the central part of the canvas. And on the periphery all the rest of the continents of the planet are shown.
Features of the flora and fauna of the mainland
About endemicity of Australia heard, perhaps, everything. Of the 12 thousand species of plants, nine thousand are found only here. The reason for this is simple and clear: since the Cretaceous, 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 types of acacia.
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 story of the Australian rabbits. In the middle of the XIX century, 24 of these animals were released here. However, after a few years, thanks to active reproduction and the absence of predators, their number increased to two million! Today, there are more rabbits in Australia than Chinese in China, and the state is making every effort to curb the growth of their population.
The smallest continent can not boast of a rich fauna. However, people with arachnophobia should not go to Australia. After all, there are at least 1,500 species of different spiders. There are many snakes here, including poisonous (20 species).
Australia is famous for its wide pasture for livestock. It is on this continent that the world's largest farm operates. And around it is located and the largest pasture, which is comparable in size 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, its active colonization soon began. Interestingly, the first settlers who landed on the shores of Australia were exiled criminals.
Today, about 23 million people live on the mainland. 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 five largest cities in the country. These are Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. It is curious that the capital - the city of Canberra - is not on this list.
The overwhelming majority of Australians speak English. It is considered that the dialect of this language - “Strain”, which differs in pronunciation from pure English, is widespread on the continent.
Other interesting facts about Australia
Finally, we offer some more interesting facts about this land:
- the Australian state emblem depicts a kangaroo and an emu;
- every third Australian never binds the knot;
- in Australia, a person has to pay a fine for non-attendance;
- despite the fact that the kangaroo is the national symbol of Australia, on the mainland its meat is actively consumed;
- australians are very gambling people, every fifth poker player comes from this continent;
- there is no metro in any of the cities on the mainland;
- every fourth citizen of australia was born outside of it.
Australia is the smallest continent of our beautiful planet. Here is a unique and inimitable 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.
On the eastern coast of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef - a real natural wonder, the longest coral reef in the world, whose length exceeds 2000 kilometers!