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Description:This original steel plate engraved beautifully hand coloured antique map Van Diemens Land or Tasmania, Australia with vignettes of Hobart, Circular Head and Tasmanian Tiger, by John Rapkin and published by John Tallis in 1851.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: - Original & laterColors used: - Blue, pink, red, green, yellowGeneral color appearance: - AuthenticPaper size: - 14in x 11in (355mm x 280mm)Plate size: - 14in x 11in (355mm x 280mm)Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - NonePlate area: - NoneVerso: - None
Background: The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on 24 November 1642 by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who landed at todays Blackman Bay. More than a century later, in 1772, a French expedition led by Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne landed at (nearby but different) Blackmans Bay, and the following year Tobias Furneaux became the first Englishman to land in Tasmania when he arrived at Adventure Bay, which he named after his ship HMS Adventure. Captain James Cook also landed at Adventure Bay in 1777. Matthew Flinders and George Bass sailed through Bass Strait in 1798–99, determining for the first time that Tasmania was an island.Sealers and whalers based themselves on Tasmanias islands from 1798, and in August 1803 New South Wales Governor Philip King sent Lieutenant John Bowen to establish a small military outpost on the eastern shore of the Derwent River in order to forestall any claims to the island by French explorers who had been exploring the southern Australian coastline. Bowen, who led a party of 49, including 21 male and three female convicts, named the camp Risdon. Several months later a second settlement was established by Captain David Collins, with 308 convicts, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the south in Sullivans Cove on the western side of the Derwent, where fresh water was more plentiful. The latter settlement became known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, later shortened to Hobart, after the British Colonial Secretary of the time, Lord Hobart. The settlement at Risdon was later abandoned. Left on their own without further supplies, the Sullivans Cove settlement suffered severe food shortages and by 1806 its inhabitants were starving, with many resorting to scraping seaweed off rocks and scavenging washed-up whale blubber from the shore to survive.A smaller colony was established at Port Dalrymple on the Tamar River in the islands north in October 1804 and several other convict-based settlements were established, including the particularly harsh penal colonies at Port Arthur in the southeast and Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast. Tasmania was eventually sent 75,000 convicts—four out of every ten people transported to Australia. By 1819 the Aboriginal and British population reached parity with about 5000 of each, although among the colonists men outnumbered women four to one. Wealthy middle-class free settlers began arriving in large numbers from 1820, lured by the promise of land grants and free convict labour. Settlement in the islands northwest corner was monopolised by the Van Diemens Land Company, which sent its first surveyors to the district in 1826. By 1830 one-third of Australias non-Indigenous population lived in Van Diemens Land and the island accounted for about half of all land under cultivation and exports.Van Diemens Land—which thus far had existed as a territory within the colony of New South Wales—was proclaimed a separate colony, with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council, on 3 December 1825. Transportation to the island ceased in 1853 and the colony was renamed Tasmania in 1856, partly to differentiate the burgeoning society of free settlers from the islands convict past.The Legislative Council of Van Diemens Land drafted a new constitution which it passed in 1854. The following year the Privy Council approved the colony changing its name from Van Diemens Land to Tasmania, and in 1856 the newly elected bicameral parliament sat for the first time, establishing Tasmania as a self-governing colony of the British Empire.The colony suffered from economic fluctuations, but for the most part was prosperous, experiencing steady growth. With few external threats and strong trade links with the Empire, Tasmania enjoyed many fruitful periods in the late 19th century, becoming a world-centre of shipbuilding. It raised a local defence force that eventually played a significant role in the Second Boer War in South Africa, and Tasmanian soldiers in that conflict won the first two Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians.In 1901 the Colony of Tasmania united with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Tasmanians voted in favour of federation with the largest majority of all the Australian colonies.