Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a constitutional monarchy in the Southern Hemisphere . Australia is the sixth largest country in the world and the only one to cover an entire continent – the Australian continent (the world’s oldest, smallest, driest and flatest continent). Australia’s territory also includes the island of Tasmania and a number of other islands in the Indian Ocean, Pacific and Southern Ocean. Australia’s neighboring countries are Indonesia , East Timor and Papua New Guinea in the north, the Solomon Islands , Vanuatu and New Caledonia in the northeast and New Zealand in the southeast. It is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth .
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- The name “Australia” is derived from the Latin Australian meaning “Southern”. Legends of an “unknown land of the south” ( terra australis incognita ) have been common in medieval geography since Roman times, but were not based on any real knowledge of the continent.
- The first use of the word “Australia” in English was documented in 1625: the words “A note of Australia del Espiritu Santo, written by Master Hakluyt” in the book Hakluytus Posthumus published by Samuel Purchas. The Dutch adjective form, “Australian”, is by the officers of the VOC . in Jakarta (then Batavia ) in 1638 to refer to the newly discovered land in the South.