1787: First Ships Bearing Convicts Set Sail towards Australia

1787: First Ships Bearing Convicts Set Sail towards Australia
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More than 1000 people set sail from England towards Australia. Upon arrival, they established the city of Sydney.

The first ships bearing convicts set sail from England for Australia on this day in 1787. It was an event with great symbolic significance for the history of Australia since these were the first European colonists to arrive on that continent. This colonization effort is also known as The First Fleet. It consisted of over 1000 people aboard 11 ships.

The First Fleet set sail from the English harbor in Portsmouth and took more than 250 days to reach Australia. The ships first went to Rio de Janeiro, then to the southern tip of Africa, and next crossed the southern part of the Indian Ocean and arrived in Australia. They arrived in Botany Bay and founded the city of Sydney nearby. It was named after Lord Sydney, who was at that time the British Home Secretary (minister of internal affairs) and thus also responsible for the convicts. The commander of the First Fleet was Captain Arthur Phillip, who later became an admiral.

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