Tasmania: Frequently Asked Questions

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Tasmanian History

Who discovered Tasmania and when?

The Tasmanian Aborigines had well-established communities over the length of Tasmania thousands of years before the island was discovered by Europeans. Most of the oldest known settlements are in the northern half of the state.

In 1642, a Dutch explorer named Abel Tasman was the first European to sight Tasmania. He initially named the island Van Diemen's Land after his employer, but parliament changed the name to Tasmania in 1856.

The French were the next Europeans to visit Tasmania, in 1772, followed by the English one year later.

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Last reviewed 2006-08-06 12:44:23