Officially called the Commonwealth of Australia, Australia is a sovereign country that is comprised of the Australian continent, Tasmania and a large number of smaller islands. Australia is the largest country by area of Oceania and is the oldest, flattest and driest inhabited continent.
Due to its size and location, Australia is a very diverse country and is home to mountain ranges, deserts and rain forests.
Australia has been inhabited for some 60,000 years and wasn't discovered by Europe until the early 17th century with the arrival of explorers from The Netherlands. It's Eastern half was claimed for Great Britain in 1770 with initial settlement being used for the purpose of transporting convicts from 1778 to New South Wales. Most of the continent had been explored by European settlers by the end of Australia's gold rush during the 1850s, resulting in the creation of 5 more crown-colonies, which, along with New South Wales, federated in 1901 to become the Commonwealth of Australia.
Most of Australia's 26 million people live in urban areas on the country's eastern seaboard, where the capital city of Canberra is located along with other large cities such as Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.