Why Did the British Government Decide in 1786 to Establish a Colony in New South Wales?

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Date Submitted: 09/15/2012 05:42 AM

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Why did the British government decide in 1786 to establish a colony in New South Wales?

The British government’s conquest for new land began as early as the American Revolution in the late 18th Century, as any British involvement in attempting to govern colonies in North America was over-ridden. The British were defeated and had lost all their allies and potential colonies in America. For a long time the British had set up penal systems in America to send their convicts so there was no overcrowding in England. The loss in the revolution meant that the English could no longer send these convicts and therefore England became overcrowded and crime rates rose. Then, there arose a conquest for new land. Jails were overcrowding, crime rates were rising and the British Empire was in dire need of a new colony. Sir Joseph Burke was the first to recommend that government colonise in “New Holland”. Captain James Cook discovered and mapped the east coast of New Holland in 1770 [1] and colonising on this land was taken seriously by British government as it also brought forward opportunities to expand their empire, to create a penal colony, and that commerce and trade routes would be beneficial being located close to India, China and Japan.

The government’s decision to create a colony in Botany Bay is controversial, as we are not 100% sure why they colonised there. The first question we must ask ourselves is why the British decided Botany Bay, as opposed to colonies in America or Africa. The first reason is that the British could no longer send convicts to America, after their loss in the war of independence. This created a large growth in population and over-crowding in jails. The British also felt threatened by other major European colonies, especially the French, as the British had feud’s with the French and some expeditions by Jean-Francois de Galaup and Count of La Perouse[2] seemed as if they were going after Australia as well. The colonising of Australia was a good...