Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
Monarchy in British Columbia
By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, Canada's monarchy operates in British Columbia as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. As such, the Crown within British Columbia's jurisdiction is referred to as the Crown in Right of British Columbia, Her Majesty in Right of British Columbia, or the Queen in Right of British Columbia; the Constitution Act, 1867, leaves many royal duties in British Columbia assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy. The role of the Crown is both practical, it is thus the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of the province's government. The Canadian monarch—since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II—is represented and her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown drawn from amongst them, the judges and justices of the peace.
The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power. This arrangement began with an 1871 Order in Council by Queen Victoria and continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the late 18th century. However, though British Columbia has a separate government headed by the Queen, as a province, British Columbia is not itself a kingdom. Government House in Victoria is owned by the sovereign only in her capacity as Queen in Right of British Columbia and used as an official residence by both the lieutenant governor and the sovereign and other members of the Canadian Royal Family will reside there when in British Columbia. Members of the Royal Family have owned property in British Columbia in a private capacity: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, owned Portland Island, though this was offered by her on permanent loan to the Crown in Right of British Columbia; those in the Royal Family perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province.
Monuments around British Columbia mark some of those visits, while others honour a royal personage or event. Further, British Columbia's monarchical status is illustrated by royal names applied regions, communities and buildings, many of which may have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family. Associations exist between the Crown and many private organizations within the province. Examples include the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, along with the Vancouver Rowing Club and the Vancouver Racquets Club, is under the patronage of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Royal British Columbia Museum, which received its royal prefix from Queen Elizabeth II in 1987; the main symbol of the monarchy is the sovereign herself, her image thus being used to signify government authority. A royal cypher, crown, or the provincial arms may illustrate the monarchy as the locus of authority, without referring to any specific monarch. Additionally, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of British Columbia's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, so bear on the insignia symbols of the sovereign.
In 1959, Premier W. A. C. Bennett desired that the Queen of Canada read the Speech from the Throne at the opening of a session of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia; this request was turned down on the grounds that it was "constitutionally impossible". The validity and logic behind the refusal was a matter of debate; the Queen was again in British Columbia to mark the centennial of the province's entry into Confederation. In 2002, Elizabeth toured Vancouver as part of her Golden Jubilee as Queen of Canada. Symbols of British Columbia Monarchy British Columbia Archives. "Welcoming the Royals: The Archival Legacy". Queen's Printer for British Columbia
Monarchy in Ontario
By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, Canada's monarchy operates in Ontario as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. As such, the Crown within Ontario's jurisdiction may be referred to as the Crown in Right of Ontario, Her Majesty in Right of Ontario, the Queen in Right of Ontario, or Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario; the Constitution Act, 1867, leaves many functions in Ontario assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy. The role of the Crown is both practical, it is thus the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of the province's government. The Canadian monarch—since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II—is represented and has her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown drawn from amongst them, the judges and justices of the peace.
The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power. This arrangement began with the 1867 British North America Act, continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the early 17th century. However, though Ontario has its own government, of which the Lieutenant Governor, as the Queen's representative, Ontario is not itself a kingdom. A viceregal suite in the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto is used both as an office and official event location by the lieutenant governor, the sovereign, other members of the Canadian Royal Family; the Lieutenant Governor resides in his or her own private residence, though may be provided accommodations by the provincial government if her or she is not from Toronto. The Queen and her relations reside at a hotel when in Ontario; those in the Royal Family perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province. Monuments around Ontario mark some of those visits, while others honour a royal event.
Further, Ontario's monarchical status is illustrated by royal names applied regions, communities and buildings, many of which may have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family. Associations exist between the Crown and many private organizations within the province. Examples include the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, under the patronage of Charles, Prince of Wales, received its royal designation from Queen Victoria in 1891, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, though founded in 1886, was constituted through royal charter by King George VI in 1947; the main symbol of the monarchy is the sovereign herself, her image thus being used to signify government authority. A royal cypher or crown may illustrate the monarchy as the locus of authority, without referring to any specific monarch. Further, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of Ontario's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, so bear on the insignia symbols of the sovereign.
List of royal visits to Ontario Symbols of Ontario Monarchy Archives of Ontario. "A Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Archived from the original on 2009-10-16
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954
Monarchy of Canada
The monarchy of Canada is at the core of both Canada's federal structure and Westminster-style of parliamentary and constitutional democracy. The monarchy is the foundation of the executive and judicial branches within both federal and provincial jurisdictions; the sovereign is the personification of the Canadian state and is Queen of Canada as a matter of constitutional law. The current Canadian monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. Elizabeth's eldest son, Prince Charles, is heir apparent. Although the person of the sovereign is shared with 15 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country's monarchy is separate and distinct; as a result, the current monarch is titled Queen of Canada and, in this capacity, her consort, other members of the Canadian Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of Canada. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role.
While some powers are exercisable only by the sovereign, most of the monarch's operational and ceremonial duties are exercised by his or her representative, the Governor General of Canada. In Canada's provinces, the monarch in right of each is represented by a lieutenant governor; as territories fall under the federal jurisdiction, they each have a commissioner, rather than a lieutenant governor, who represents the federal Crown-in-Council directly. As all executive authority is vested in the sovereign, their assent is required to allow for bills to become law and for letters patent and orders in council to have legal effect. While the power for these acts stems from the Canadian people through the constitutional conventions of democracy, executive authority remains vested in the Crown and is only entrusted by the sovereign to their government on behalf of the people, underlining the Crown's role in safeguarding the rights and democratic system of government of Canadians, reinforcing the fact that "governments are the servants of the people and not the reverse".
Thus, within a constitutional monarchy the sovereign's direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, with the sovereign exercising executive authority only on the advice of the executive committee of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, with the sovereign's legislative and judicial responsibilities carried out through parliamentarians as well as judges and justices of the peace. The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against abuse of power, the sovereign acting as a custodian of the Crown's democratic powers and a representation of the "power of the people above government and political parties". Canada is one of the oldest continuing monarchies in the world. Established in the 16th century, monarchy in Canada has evolved through a continuous succession of French and British sovereigns into the independent Canadian sovereigns of today, whose institution is sometimes colloquially referred to as the Maple Crown.
The person, the Canadian sovereign is shared with 15 other monarchies in the 52-member Commonwealth of Nations, with the monarch residing predominantly in the oldest and most populous realm, the United Kingdom, viceroys acting as the sovereign's representatives in Canada. The emergence of this arrangement paralleled the fruition of Canadian nationalism following the end of the First World War and culminated in the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Since the pan-national Crown has had both a shared and a separate character and the sovereign's role as monarch of Canada has been distinct to his or her position as monarch of any other realm, including the United Kingdom. Only Canadian federal ministers of the Crown may advise the sovereign on all matters of the Canadian state, of which the sovereign, when not in Canada, is kept abreast by weekly communications with the federal viceroy; the monarchy thus ceased to be an British institution and in Canada became a Canadian, or "domesticated", though it is still denoted as "British" in both legal and common language, for reasons historical, of convenience.
This division is illustrated in a number of ways: The sovereign, for example, holds a unique Canadian title and, when she and other members of the Royal Family are acting in public as representatives of Canada, they use, where possible, Canadian symbols, including the country's national flag, unique royal symbols, armed forces uniforms, the like, as well as Canadian Forces aircraft or other Canadian-owned vehicles for travel. Once in Canadian airspace, or arrived at a Canadian event taking place abroad, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen, officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, other Canadian officials will take over from whichever of their other realms' counterparts were escorting the Queen or other member of the Royal Family; the sovereign only draws from Canadian funds for support in the performance of her duties when in Canada or acting as Queen of Canada abroad. As in the other Commonwealth realms, the current heir apparent to the throne is Prince Charles, with the next four in the line of succession
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s