Australia's First Fleet


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The natives were wary and fearful of the settlers, who referred to them as Indians. Some African-American convicts, hoping to be accepted by the natives, escaped but were rejected by them. Other convicts, heeding rumours of other settlements nearby and that China was just over the horizon, also escaped. Those that managed to survive the rigors of the country returned to the colony to further punishment.

The First FleetAustralian History Research


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Feb 24, 2012
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The Motherland
Between 1788 and 1850 the English sent over 162,000 convicts to Australia in 806 ships. The first eleven of these ships are today known as the First Fleet and contained the convicts and marines that are now acknowledged as the Founders of Australia. This is their story. The agrarian revolution in Britain, and the population explosion in the cities, resulted in an increase in crime. As the American Revolution meant that no more convicts could be sent there, the only way to overcome the overcrowding in the jails was to establish a penal colony in the land discovered by Captain James Cook. The convicts would be transported, never to return to Britain.

There were only two African-Americans among 25,000 British convicts initially shipped out to Australia and these black convicts were the men who ended up as British convicts to Australia, after helping British troops during the American Revolution. American Indians also fought for the British who forbade colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains in 1763, thus angering white settlers. Britain historically promoted religious and racial tolerance in its colonies and protected religious or racial minorities, which was why ethnic minorities in America fought for the British, who also promised to free slaves. Moreover, without the American Revolution, Australia would not have existed and Britain looked for an alternative destination to transport convicts after 1783 and picked Australia to set up a penal colony.
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