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Aborigines [aborijineez]

Aborigines where the first people to live in Australia. The word Aborigine comes from the Latin phrase ab origine, meaning from the beginning. Aborigines have lived in Australia for at least 50,000 years, and evidence for that people have been living there for about 130,000 years ago have been found at lake George near Canberra. Most scientists believe that the aborigines come from southeastern Asia from the beginning.

In Australia there were nearly 600 territorially defined groups which where living on hunting and gathering food. They had a population of 300 000–1 million. The Europeans arrived to Australia in 1788. At first many aborigines thought that the newcomers, whit their pale skin, where spirits of their own dead relatives.

The numbers felled dramatically when the Europeans came. There where many conflicts between the Aborigines and the Europeans, in those many Aborigines died. By 1933 the population had fallen to nearly 66 000, but then it steadily increased, and now there is about 250 000.

The Europeans designed policies to turn the Aborigines into Christians with European lifestyles. In the late 19th-century the Social Darwinist ideas were influential, contained that Aborigines were an inferior race which not where capable to manage them self and destined to die out. In Van Diemen's Land, nowadays called Tasmania, the government removed the last survivors of massacre and disease to Flinders I in the late 1820s, the last full-blooded Aborigine, Truganini, died there in 1876. A community of people with mixed descent remains in Tasmania. Elsewhere in Australia, a hard work were made to confine them to government reserves or Christian missions.

Aborigines have not accepted their lot as passively. In the 1950s they began moving into the cities of south- east Australia and started advancement groups, but it was not until the mid-1960s that activism became prominent. In 1965 Charles Perkins became the first Aboriginal university graduate, and helped organize freedom rides in New South Wales to protest against discrimination. In 1967 90.8% of Australian voters approved a referendum, which granted the federal government the power to count Aborigines in the census and to make laws on their behalf, in this way enabling them to be supported with official assistance.

Aborigines have adopted a flag that symbolizes their continuing struggle to be independent and selfdeterminat. The flag bears a red band on the bottom half, a black band on the top half and a yellow circle in the centre.
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