Why did the British Establish a Settlement in NSW in 1788?
Shaveen Kariyawasam 9V
Britain’s growing crime rate was a great cause of concern for British authorities in the late 18th Century. As there was nowhere else to export convicts, a new penal settlement had to be established, and in 1787, after learning about the potential trade value and natural resources of the ‘great southern land’, the government sent the First Fleet over to New South Wales with over 1400 people. First of all, as Britain could no longer find any other suitable place to export their surplus of convicts, the establishment of a new penal colony in New South Wales was imperative. Following the American War of Independence in 1775 and the subsequent defeat of the British there meant that convicts could no longer be sent to the newly independent nation. The African colonies under British rule were also out of the question as Africa’s severe climate was too hot for European settlers. With both potential locations proving to be invalid, Britain had no choice but to found a new penal colony in New South Wales. In addition to this, the potential economic and trading benefits New South Wales held enticed and persuaded the British authorities to establish a settlement there. There was no doubt that establishing in New South Wales promoted a massive expansion of British trade in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. British ships were now able to reach China for months earlier while passing Botany Bay instead of Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia). Produce made and cultivated in New South Wales could now be exported to Asian countries much quicker than before. The possibility of trade in New South Wales was a principle motive behind Britain’s choice to establish a settlement there in 1788. Furthermore, written extracts from Captain Cook’s voyage in 1768 described the abundance and profitability of natural resources that could be cultivated in New South Wales and its neighbouring lands. According to his writing,...
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