Pinellas County Population 2021

The Pinellas County population is 949,827 (latest US Census Bureau data).

Pinellas County is located in the state of Florida. It is the 6th largest county in Florida by population, and the 51st largest county in the US. It the most densely populated county in the state. Although the population of Pinellas County dropped by 0.5% between the 2000 and 2010 censuses (from 921,482 people in 2000 to 916,542 people in 2010), population growth has returned in the past five years.

Pinellas County Population GrowthSince the 2010 census, the number of people who live in Pinellas County has grown to 949,827, which is an increase of 3.6%.

There are two major cities in Pinellas County – St Petersburg, with a population of 257,083 (2015 data) and Clearwater, the state capital, with a population of 107,685. Together they are a part of the wider Tampa Bay metropolitan area.

Largest cities in Pinellas County

St Petersburg is the largest city in Pinellas County – its 2015 population was 257,083. It is also the 5th largest city in the state of Florida, and the 80th largest city in the US.

Clearwater, the county seat, is the second largest city in Pinellas County and the 16th largest in Florida. In 2015 its population was 107,685 people.

Other major cities in Pinellas County are Largo (population 84,500), Pinellas Park (population 49,079) and Dunedin (population 35,321).

City namePopulation
St Petersburg257,083
Pinellas Park49,079

Together, St Petersburg and Clearwater are a part of the Tampa Bay Area, alongside the larger city of Tampa Bay (which is a part of Hillsborough County) and a number of smaller unincorporated cities such as Brandon.

Formally known by the US Census Bureau as the Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, the area has a population of 4,310,524 million people (2010 census).

Ethnicity / Race in Pinellas County

According to the US Census Bureau (2015 data) , the largest ethnic group in the county is White non-Hispanic (74.9%). Other major groups are Black or African alone (11.0%), Hispanic or Latino (9.1%) and Asian alone (3.5%).

White non-Hispanic74.9%
Black or African alone11.0%
Hispanic or Latino9.1%
Asian alone3.5%

Just over one in ten (11.2%) of the people living in Pinellas County were born outside of America.

Economy and income

Pinellas County has an average per capita income of $28,742. This makes it the 11th richest county in Florida.

US average$27,334

Per capita income is just above the US average of $27,334.

Pinellas County Population Density

The total area of Pinellas County is 608 sq miles (1,57km2). This makes it the second smallest county in Florida by area.

However, Pinellas is the most densely populated county in Florida – it has a population density of 3,427 people per square mile (1,323 people per km2). This is more than twice the population density of Broward (1,445 people per square mile).

Pinellas County population growth

Pinellas County was founded in 1912, so the first census report is from 1920. This table lists the Pinellas County population at every census since then.

Census YearPopulationPercentage change

Further reading and Sources

Data used in this article comes from the US Census Bureau and the Pinellas County official Government website.

Bahamas Population 2021

The population of the Bahamas (2021) is 378,040. This makes the Bahamas the 169th largest country in the world by population.

The Bahamas is the 6th largest country in the Caribbean, although the territories of Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Martinique (administered by the USA and France) are each larger than the Bahamas.

Bahamas population chart

Nassau, the largest city in the Bahamas, is home to 70% of the population. In 2016 it was home to 274,400 people.

The Bahamas is a archipelago of islands in the Caribbean ,just off the east cost of Florida and the north east coast of Cuba. The island chain is divided into two – the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in the north west of the archipelago and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the south east.

How many people live in the Bahamas today?

The latest estimate for the population of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is 378,040 people. The estimate comes from the government’s Department of Statistics. This is an population increase of 4,400 people (1.18%) over the 2015 population of 373,630.

Between the last two censuses (2000 and 2010) the population grew by 47,850 or 15.8%. On average, growth over the decade was 1.6% per annum.

Although the population of the Bahamas has been growing for decades, the rate of growth has slowed gradually over the years, as you can see in the population table below.

Census YearPopulationPercentage changeAverage annual change

Population growth is not consistent across the Bahamas. While the population in some islands is increasing (the number of people living on Exuma island increased by 94% between 2000 and 2010) it is decreasing on a number of other islands.

Largest cities in the Bahamas

Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas. In 2016 its population was 274,400 people. Located on the island of New Providence and its smaller neighbour Paradise Island, Nassau operates as both the capita city and the commercial hub of the Bahamas.

Almost three quarters of the entire Bahamas population lives in Nassau, which as a result dominates the country’s political, cultural and economic life.

The next largest cities in the Bahamas are both on the island of Grand Bahama – just off the coast of Florida in the United States. Lucaya has a population of 46,525 people and Freeport has a population of 26,910.


Ethnic groups

Just over nine in ten people (90.6%) in the Bahamas reported in the 2010 census that they were Black. The next largest ethnic groups are white (4.7%), white and black (2.1%), other (1.9%) and unspecified (0.7%).

White and Black2.1%

17.3% of the people living in the Bahamas are citizens of another country. Just under 40,000 (64.4%) are from nearby Haiti. Another 9.2% are from Jamaica and 7.2% are US citizens.

The Bahamas were originally inhabited by the Lucayan people. In just two years between 1509 and 1511, the Spanish transported almost the entire population of the islands (approximately 40,000 people) to Hispaniola, mostly to be used as slaves on neighbouring islands. By 1520 the Bahamas had been entirely depopulated and they remained uninhabited for 130 years.


The largest single religion in the Bahamas is Christianity, which is followed by 94.9% of the population.

Seven in ten (69.9%) Bahamians are members of a Protestant Church, 12% are Roman Catholic, and 13% belong to another Christian denomination.

Bahamians with no religion make up 1.9% of the population, and a further 2.6% did not specify their religion. Only 0.6% of the population reports that they are a member of a non-Christian religion.

Not specified2.6%
No religion1.9%
Other religion0.7%

The largest of the Protestant churches in the Bahamas is the Baptist Church 34.9%. Other major Protestant denominations in the Bahamas include Anglican (13.7%), Pentecostal (8.9%), Seventh Day Adventist (4.4%), and Methodist (3.6%).

Seventh Day Adventist4.4%


English is the official language of the Bahamas and is widely spoken, particularly in formal settings. Bahamian Creole, which is derived from English and a number of other languages is also widely spoken, most commonly in less formal settings.

Many of the Haitian immigrants (around 40,000 people) also speak Haitian Creole.

No accurate statistics on the number of people who speak each language is available.

Population density

The total area of the Bahamas is 13,878 km² or 5,358 m².

Taking the 2016 population of 378,040 and dividing it by the area provides us with a population density of 27.24 people per km² or 70.56 people per m².

Literacy rate

The Bahamas literacy rate is 95.5% for adults (15 and over), increasing to 97.3% for young adults (15-24 years). (2003 data).

Adults (15 and over)95.5%
Young adults (15-24 years)97.3%

Life expectancy

Bahamas life expectancy in 2015 was 72.2 years. Life expectancy for women was 74.4 years and life expectancy for men was 69.8 years.

Overall life expectancy72.2 years
Female life expectancy74.4 years
Male life expectancy69.8 years

Bahamas population pyramid

Bahamas Population Pyramid 2016


Unless otherwise noted, data in this article comes from the report of the latest (2010) Bahamas census. Click here for a PDF copy of the report. Other related data can be found on the Bahamas Government Department of Statistics website.

Grenada Population 2021

The latest estimate of the Grenada population in 2021 is 103,328. Grenada is the 180th largest country in the world and the 10th largest country in the Caribbean. St George is the largest city in Grenada. It has a population of 36,823.

How many people live in Grenada today

Accurate data about the population of Grenada is difficult to find. The latest official estimate from the Grenadian government, in its 2014 Labour Force survey, puts the population at 109,597.

A census was conducted in 2011. Although the full results have not yet been released, a preliminary count indicated that the population in 2011 was 103,328 (see page 11 of the linked report). This marked an increase in population of just 191 (0.19%) people over the 10 years since the 2001 census, or 0.02% per annum.

Given the low growth rate in the preceding ten years, the 2014 estimate should be taken with caution. Because of this we have kept our estimate of the population of Grenada at 103,328.

YearPopulation% Change

The table above shows the population of Grenada at the time of each census.

Largest cities in Grenada

St George is the largest city in Grenada, as well as the island’s capital city. In 2011, the population of St George was 36,823.

St George’s population grew rapidly from 29,369 in 1981 to 37,058 in 2001, but since then the number of people living in the capital has fallen slightly to 36,823.

Major parishes in Grenada include St Andrew (pop: 25,722), St David (pop: 12,561) and St Patrick (pop: 10,980). Here is a full list.

St George36,823
St Andrew25,722
St David12,561
St Patrick10,980
St John7,802
St Mark4,086


Ethnic groups in Grenada

The largest ethnic group in Grenada is people of African descent. They made up 89.4% of the population at the time of the 2001 census (latest available data).

The other groups of notable size (more than 1%) are mixed ethnicity (8.2%) and East Indian (1.6%).

Only 125 people (0.1% of population) reported that they were Carib, the indigenous peoples that inhabited the islands before Europeans arrived.

Ethnic GroupNumberPercentage
African descent92,18289.38%
East Indian1,6621.61%
Indigenous people1250.12%

Religion in Grenada

Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in Grenada. In 2001, 44.6% of Grenadians reported that they were Catholic. Other major Christian religions in Grenada are Anglican (11.5%), Pentecostal (11.3%) and Seventh Day Adventist (10.5%).

Roman Catholic44.6%
Seventh Day Adventist10.5%

Nearly four thousand people (3.6%) reported that they had no religion. Men were more than twice as likely than women to report they had no religion (5.15% male and 2.09% female).

Non-Christian religions in Grenada include Rastafarianism (1.7%) and Islam (0.3%) and Hindu (0.2%). Just over one in twenty people (5.7%) reported that they belonged to another religion not listed on the census form.

Language in Grenada

English is the official language of Grenada, but accurate data is not available on the number of people in Grenada who speak English.

Grenadian Creole is widely spoken in the islands. Again, accurate data is not available, but Ethnologue estimates that around 89,000 people speak Grenadian Creole English.

A French variant of Grenadian Creole also exists – the island was a French colony from 1649 until 763 when it was captured by the British during the Seven Years’ War. Ethnologue estimates that around 2,300 people in Grenada speak Grenadian Creole French, which is a variant of St Lucian Creole French. Its usage is in decline and it is classified as a threatened language.

Population density in Grenada

Grenada is the 45th most densely populated country or territory in the world.

The island of Grenada covers an area of 348.5 km², or 825.2 m². Dividing the 2011 population of 103,328 by the area gives a population density of 300 people per km² or 777 people per m².

Greanadan literacy rate

The literacy rate in Grenada is 96%.

Grenada population pyramid

grenada population pyramid 2016

More men than women

Grenada is unusual in that there are more men in Grenada than women. According to the Grenadian government, in 2011 there were 52,651 males and 50,677 females. They attribute this to a higher number of male births than female and also to emigration from the island.


Unless otherwise stated above, data in this article comes from the 2001 Grenada census. Other than a few preliminary results, data from the 2011 census was not available at the time of writing (August 2016).

Largest cities in Illinois (2021)

The table below lists the 221 largest cities in Illinois by population – every city with a population of more than 10,000 people.

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois, and the 3rd largest city in the United States. According to the latest US Census Bureau estimates, the population of Chicago is 2,695,598.

The sprawling Chicago Metropolitan Area (CMA) has a population of 9.4 million people (2015 estimate). It is so large that it crosses into two neighbouring states – Indiana and Wisconsin. Seven of the ten largest cities in the state of Illinois are part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.

The second largest city in Illinois is Aurora (population 201,110), followed by Joliet (population: 148,262). Both cities are part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area. The largest city outside of the CMA is Rockford (population 147,651), in northern Illinois.

Springfield is the Illinois state capital. The population of Springfield is 115,715, making it the sixth most populous city in Illinois.

The table below lists the 221 largest cities in the state of Illinois, their population at the time of the 2010 census, their latest estimated population, and the percentage population increase since 2010. You can sort each column, and use the search box to find individual towns and cities. For example, by sorting the population growth column, you can find the fastest growing city in Kansas, as well as identify those cities that are losing population.

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Source: US Census Bureau.

Largest cities in Kansas (2021)

The table below lists the 300 largest cities in Kansas – every city with a population of more than 476 people.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, and the 50th largest city in the US. Latest data from the US Census Bureau estimates that Wichita’s population is 389,902.

Overland Park (population 188,966) is the second largest city in Kansas, less than half the size of Wichita. Kansas City (population 151,709) is the third largest city in Kansas state, followed by Olathe (population: 135,473). Together, these three cities plus a number of smaller cities, have combined to form the Kansas City Metropolitan Area (population 2.34 million).

Toledo (population 126,808) is the fifth largest city in Kansas and the state capital.

The table below lists the 300 largest cities in the state of Kansas, their population at the time of the 2010 census, their latest estimated population, and the percentage population increase since 2010. You can sort each column, and use the search box to find individual towns and cities. For example, by sorting the population growth column, you can find the fastest growing city in Kansas, as well as identify those cities that are losing population.

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Source: US Census Bureau.

Largest Cities in Florida (2021)

The table below lists the largest cities in Florida – every city, town or village with a population of more than 5,000 people.

Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida. Latest estimates from the US Census Bureau show that it was home to 880,619 people in 2016, an increase of 7.16% since the 2010 census. Other major cities (more than 500,000 population) in Florida include Miami (population: 453,579), Tampa (population: 377,165), Orlando (277,173) and St Petersburg (population: 260,999).

Tallahassee, Florida’s state capital, is the 7th largest city in the state. 190,894 people live in Tallahassee.

The table below lists each city with more than 5,000 people, its population at the time of the 2010 census, its latest estimated population, and the percentage increase since 2010. You can sort each column, and use the search box to find individual towns and cities.

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Source: US Census Bureau

This article is one of a series of articles about the population of Florida. A related article contains a list of Florida counties by population.

North Korea population (2021)

The latest UN estimate puts the population of North Korea at 25,549,604 people.

The last official North Korean Government data comes from the 2008 North Korean census which recorded a population of 24,052,231 people.

Today, North Korea (formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea) is the 51st largest country in the world and the 22nd largest country in Asia.

North Korea’s population is roughly half the size of South Korea, which has a population of just over 50 million people.

Population growth in North Korea

Population growth in North Korea has slowed dramatically in recent years. After holding at above 2% per year until the 1990s, the growth rate has fallen to just 0.5% per annum in 2015.

North Korea population by year chart

(Note the large gaps from 1963-1993 and 1993-2008. These are due to lack of data about the population of North Korea, and make growth seem stronger than it actually was.)

There are a number of reasons for this slowing population growth rate including increasing urbanisation, delayed marriage, a high proportion of men among the young North Korean population and, perhaps most importantly in recent years, the impact of famine in North Korea.

Between 1994 and 1998 famine in North Korea was estimated to have killed between 300,000 and 800,000 people every year. Malnutrition would have also reduced birth rates throughout the country and slowed the growth of the North Korean population.

Ethnic groups in North Korea

Korea is perhaps the most ethnically homogenous country in the world today.

The 2008 census reported that, of the 23,349,859 people who answered the census question about their nationality, 23,349,326 reported that they were Korean.

That leaves just 533 respondents who reported that they were of another nationality.

Interestingly almost all of the of the 533 non-Koreans were women. Only 58 were male, set against 475 females. Additionally, almost all (453 of 533) of the non-Koreans were aged 50 years or older.

(See table 5, 2008 North Korean census).

Religion in North Korea

Officially all North Koreans are guaranteed freedom of religion in the constitution. This protection doesn’t always translate to reality, however, as evidenced by the note in the 2008 census (see table 37) which reports that there are just 103 religious professionals working in North Korea today.

There are no official statistics on religion in North Korea, and the majority of the population is thought to be non-religious, either atheist or agnostic.

The main religions in North Korea are Korean Shamanism and Cheondoism. There is thought to also be a small number of Christians and Buddhists in North Korea.


Some argue that the Juche ideology – which stresses self-reliance and venerates North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung and his successors – has taken on aspects of a religion, and could be considered to be North Korea’s dominant religion.

North Korea languages

The official state language is Korean. As is to be expected from such an ethnically homogeneous nation, Korean is spoken by virtually everyone in North Korea.

The Korean spoken in North Korea is very similar to the Korean spoken in South Korea, although the two languages have diverged slightly in the 60 years since the two countries separated. The largest difference is that South Korea has adopted many Western words that have not been adopted in North Korea.

Pronunciation is also different between the two countries, as North Korean pronunciation is based on the Pyongyang dialect, whereas South Korean pronunciation is based on the Seoul dialect.

Largest cities in North Korea

The population of Pyongyang is 3,255,288 people (2008 data). This makes the capital the largest city in North Korea by some distance.

The only other cities in North Korea with a population of more than half a million people are Hamhung (768,551) and Chongjin (667,929).

Here is a list of the ten largest cities in North Korea.

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Education and literacy rate

Education in North Korea is state organised and funded, and attendance at school is compulsory for all children over the age of five.

Continuing adult education is also compulsory, and often takes the form of small study groups and practical, work-focused study.

North Korea also has a number of more traditional universities. The most prestigious is considered to be Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang which is host to 16,000 students.

The official literacy rate in North Korea is almost 100%. Of the 20,495,407 people aged over 10 years, only 326 are judged to be illiterate.

Rather unusually for a country in the region, over 99.9% of all North Koreans over 80 years of age are literate.

Although the official North Korean literacy data is likely to have been exaggerated, the country’s well regarded universal education system means that the real literacy rate is probably not all that far off 99%.

Other North Korean demographic data

Data in this section is, unless otherwise noted, drawn from the CIA Factbook, and is from 2015.

Sex ratio

The sex ratio at birth in North Korea is 1.05 male(s) to every female. This is very similar to the global average of 1.07 male(s) to every female at birth.

North Korea sex ratio at birth1.05 male(s)/female
Global average sex ratio at birth1.07 male(s)/female

The total sex ratio across all ages is 0.94 male(s) to every female, which is lower than the global average of 1.01 males(s) to every female.

North Korea total sex ratio0.94 male(s)/female
Global average total sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female

The extremely low ratio of 0.53 male(s) to every female aged 65 or over can largely be attributed to the death toll in the Korean War.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy in North Korea is much lower than in South Korea. The average North Korean can expect to live 70 years. This compares with an average life expectancy of 82 years in South Korea.

North Korea life expectancy70 years
South Korea life expectancy82 years

Life expectancy for North Korean males is 66 years, and life expectancy for North Korean females is 74 years.

Male life expectancy66 years
Female life expectancy74 years

Median age

The median age in North Korea is 33.6 years. For men, the median age is 32.0 years and for women it is 35.2 years.

Median Age33.6 years
Male Median Age32.0 years
Female Median Age35.2 years

Birth and death rate

The birth rate in North Korea is 14.52 births / 1,000 population. The death rate is 9.21 deaths / 1,000 population.

Birth Rate14.52 births per 1,000 population
Death Rate9.21 deaths per 1,000 population

Fertility rate

The fertility rate in North Korea is 1.97 children per woman. This is below the replacement rate of 2.33 children per woman, but still considerably higher than the fertility rate in South Korea, which is 1.2 children per woman.

North Korea fertility rate1.97 children per woman
South Korean fertility rate1.2 children per woman
Replacement fertility rate2.33 children per woman

North Korea population pyramid

Here is a North Korean population pyramid.

North Korea population pyramid 2016

Note the low ratio of male to female among older North Koreans, which is in large part due to the Korean War.

North Korea population by year

Here is a table listing the population of North Korea by year.

There are large gaps between years because the North Korean government only published population data on a very irregular basis. In particular there are large gaps between 1963 and 1993 and between 1993 and 2008.

[table “41” not found /]

What continent is Russia in?

When a country has borders with Poland in the West and Japan in the East, it gives rise to the question – just what continent is Russia in? Is Russia in Europe or Asia? Or is it in both continents at the same time?

The quick and simple answer is that, because the Ural Mountains form the boundary between the two continents and mark the unofficial border between Asia and Europe, Russia is a part of two continents – Russia is in both Europe and Asia.

But the detailed answer is slightly more complex that just considering where is Russia located geographically. To deal with it properly we need to look more carefully at Russia’s geography, its history, its politics and its culture.

Last updated: 27 June 2016.

Is Russia in Europe or Asia geographically?

Although Russia is thought of by many people as a European country, almost three quarters of its landmass is actually in Asia, east of the Urals. A more pertinent question might be – is Russia in Asia?

It is usually accepted that the Ural Mountains mark the border between Europe and Asia. Anything to the west of the Urals is considered to be in Europe and everywhere on the Eastern side of the range is considered to be in Asia.

What continent is Russia in
European Russia is shaded gray, Asian Russia is shaded red.

Russia is a massive country – 17,098,242 square kilometres in size. But only about 4 million square kilometres of Russia are in Europe, west of the Urals. The remaining 13 million square kilometers, including Siberia and the Russian Far East are in Asian Russia.

European Russia is much more densely populated than the rest of Russia, though. About 75% of the Russian population lives in European Russia. Population density in European Russia is around 27 people per square kilometer, whereas in Asian Russia contains just 2.5 people per square kilometer.

There are some how believe that Europe and Asia are not actually separate continents. Instead, the European and Asian continents should be treated as one mega-continent called Eurasia. This is because, geographically, there is no real border between Europe and Asia – the choice of the Ural Mountains was largely arbitrary and based on history and politics. If Eurasia existed, it would be the largest single continent in the world, with a population of around 4 billion people – almost a half of the world’s population.

What other countries are in more than one continent?

Russia is one of a select number of countries in the world that are located in more than one continent. The other famous example of a transcontinental state is Turkey, which is also in both Europe and Asia. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is one of the few examples of cities which are located in multiple continents.

There are also quite a few other, less well known, transcontinental states. Examples include France, which has territory on almost every continent, Egypt, which because it straddles the Suez Canal is in both Africa and Asia, and Greece, which is mostly in Europe, but has a couple of islands near Turkey, in Asia.

Did Russia once span three continents?

Historically, Russia is one of the few countries in the world that has held territory in three continents at the same time.

As well as its European and Asian territory, Russia held territory in North American in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, through the auspices of the Russian American Company. Quite a few Russian colonies were founded in Alaska, as well as a number of others along the western seaboard of North America, going as far south as Fort Russ (now Fort Ross) in California.

Russia gave up its American territories in 1867, when it sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million in a sale known as the Alaska Purchase, or Seward Purchase.

How has Russian territory changed over the years

Watch this video to see how Russia’s borders have ebbed and flowed over the centuries. It shows whether Russia is in Europe or Asia with an animated map.

At times the Russian government has controlled only small amounts of territory in European Russia, often around the Moscow area. Whereas, at other times, its reach has expanded into Poland in West and North America in the East.

Is Russia a part of Europe or Asia politically and culturally?

The split between two Russia’s two identities has been a major factor in Russian politics and has shaped its relations with the outside world for hundreds of years. Russia has never quite decided whether it is a European country, or an Asian country.

Under Peter the Great, Russia became a great European power.
Under Peter the Great, Russia became a great European power.

The confusion goes back to the times of Peter the Great, who was one of the great modernisers of Russian history. Until Peter’s arrival, Russia was a landlocked, and generally not well respected country.

Peter believed that Russia could not hope to be a great power without looking outwards, and so he traveled across Europe to learn about new technologies and ways of organising society. He took many of these new developments back to Russia, and his vision was instrumental in turning Russia into a strong country and a major player in 16th century Europe.

The debate became formalised, and entrenched, in 1840s and 1850s when two opposing intellectual movements began to take shape. On the one hand were the Westernizers, who advocated building Russian society along Western, European lines. And, on the other hand were the Slavophiles, who wanted Russia to accept its uniqueness and develop its own, distinct way of doing things – their vision was a more traditional, less individualistic society.

Since then, every Russian leader has faced the dilemma of whether to build closer links to Europe, or Asia, and Russia has often see-sawed between the two approaches. As a result, Russia has developed in a way that doesn’t quite fit either vision.

A modern example of this tension is the different approaches taken by two of Russia’s most recent Presidents – Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. While Yeltsin adopted Western free-market economic policies at the end of the Cold War, Putin’s Russia is characterised by a more centralised form of State Capitalism, combined with an assertive foreign policy.

Perhaps this tension is one of the reasons why many in the West are so fascinated by Russia – we can see how similar it is to us in so many respects, but also how different.

Is Moscow in Europe or Asia?

Moscow, the capital city of Russia, sits at the Western point of Russia, close to the country’s borders with Ukraine, Belarus and Estonia and with the Ural Mountains several hundred miles to the east.

So, the answer to the question ‘is Moscow in Europe or Asia?’ is that Moscow is comfortably in the European part of Russia.

Is Moscow in Europe or Asia
Moscow is in European Russia

The majority of major Russian cities lie to the west of the Ural Mountain range – for example, St Petersburg, Samara and Kazan are all comfortably in European Russia.

A number of other cities lie just to the East of the Urals. The most prominent example is Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia, which is home to 1.5 million people. It lies just 30 miles east of the mountain range that separates the two continents. This leads many to claim that Novosibirsk is a city on the border between Europe and Asia.

The only other major city on the border between Europe and Asia is actually in Turkey. Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus Strait, another geographical boundary between Europe and Asia, and has its northern sector in Europe and its southern sector in Asia.

Is Russia in the EU?

No. Russia is not a member of the EU (European Union) and has no plans to join the EU.

Russia and the EU have strong trading links, and in 2014 50% of Russia’s exports were sent to EU states – notably in the form of gas and oil exports.

At the time of writing (2016), EU-Russia relations are tense because of the conflict. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia and, in return, Russia has imposed a ban on importing food from EU member states. The sanctions have not dramatically affected trade between Europe and Russia, however.

Formal relationships between Russia and the EU are governed by a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which was signed in June 1994.

Is Russia in NATO?

No. Russia is not a member of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

The relationship between Russia and NATO was positive in the 1990s and early 2000s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A number of Western and Russian leaders even suggested that Russia should join NATO.

Russia did join the NATO Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and in 2002 a Russia-NATO council was formed to handle joint security issues.

In recent years, however, relations between the two organisations have soured and on 1 April 2014 NATO suspended co-operation with Russia. Relationships have further worsened during the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian government has instead focused on developing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security, military and political organization whose members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Australian history timeline

Quick Timeline (click each entry to read more)40,000 BC – First Aborigines arrive in Australia1606 – First European landfall in Australia1770 – James Cook lands and claims Australia for the British Empire1788 – First fleet of convicts arrives in Australia1851 – Australian gold rush begins1877 – Australia and England play the first cricket test match1901 – The Commonwealth of Australia is founded1911 – Canberra, Australia’s capital city, is founded1914 – The First World War begins1939 – The Second World War begins1948 – ‘Populate or Perish’ – Australia’s new immigration policy1956 – Melbourne hosts the Olympic Games1971 – Neville Bonner becomes Australia’s first aboriginal Senator1966 – The Australia Act – independence from Britain1993 – Native Title Act grants land rights to indigenous Australians2000 – Sydney hosts the Olympic Games2002 – The Bali bombings kill 88 Australians

This Australian history timeline covers all of the major events of Australia’s 40,000 year history – from the first arrival of aboriginal Australians tens of thousands of years ago, right up to the 21st century.

Click on any of the entries in the timeline below to read a more detailed explanation. 

40,000 BC – First Aborigines arrive in Australia

Thanks to archaeological records, we know that the first people to set foot on the continent of Australia arrived somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago, towards the end of the Pleistocene era

At that time, sea levels were lower than they are today and New Guinea was joined to Australia. The first arrivals are thought to have come initially by sea, hopping from island to island in what is today Indonesia.

Over time, these settlers expanded across the entire Australian landmass, although the population was highest in the Southern and Eastern parts of the continent. They developed a sophisticated stone-age society, based on a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

By the time the late eighteenth century, when the first European settlers began to arrive, the indigenous population of Australia was approximately 350,000 – 750,000 people, divided into what is thought to have been at least 250 different nations each with their own language. Within a hundred years, European settlers’ dominance of Australia was complete, although a few isolated tribes did survive with little to no contact well into the twentieth century.

The last tribe to give up it’s nomadic lifestyle – the Pintupi Nine of the Gibson Desert – did so only in 1984.

1606 – First European landfall in Australia

The first European person to set foot on the territory of present day Australia was Willem Janszoon, Dutch captain of the Duyfken. On 26 February 1606 he, and a number of un-named members of his icketew, landed at the mouth of what is today known as the Pennefather River in Queensland.

He had mistakenly thought he was landing on a southerly part of the island of New Guinea and named the territory Nieu Zeland – a name that was later adopted by some islands to the East…

Other European sailors, usually attached to the Dutch East India Company, returned to Australia at intermittent intervals over the following century and a half. No attempts were made to settle during this period, but much of the Australian coastline was mapped and there was some small scale trading with aboriginal people.

However, information about the newly discovered continent was not shared widely and, for most Europeans, Australia remained a mythical ‘Southern Continent.’

1770 – James Cook lands and claims Australia for the British Empire

In 1769, Lieutenant James Cook (not, as is commonly thought, Captain James Cook), took command of HMS Endeavour and set sail for the island of Tahiti.

Officially, his mission was to make astronomical observations, but really Cook had been given a secret mission by the British Admiralty. His role was to find out whether the ‘Southern Continent’ was real and, if it was, to chart it and claim its territory for the British Empire.

Captain Cook’s route

Cook and his crew first sighted Australia on 19 April 1770 and, ten days later on 29 April 1770, landed for the first time at Botany Bay. Five months later, on 22 August 1770, Cook formally claimed the territory of Australia for King George III and the British Empire, naming it New South Wales.

Other European powers also laid claim to parts of Australia – for example, the French claimed Western Australia in 1772 and Sweden briefly planned a colony at Swan River – but none of them followed up on their claims with an actual attempt to settle.

The British, however, did…

1788 – First fleet of convicts arrives in Australia

On 13 May 1787 a fleet of eleven ships set sail from Portsmouth. Two Royal Navy escort ships, three supply ships and six transport ships filled with crew, marines and more than eight hundred convicts, all bound for the new British territory of Australia.

Although they first landed at Botany Bay on 18 January 1770, Captain Arthur Phillip quickly deemed the land there unsuitable for habitation and, instead, set up the first colony in Australia at Sydney Cove. 

More ships filled with convicts followed and, by the time the last convict arrived in Australia in 1868, over 130,000 men and 25,000 women had been transported to Australia’s penal colonies.

The first free settlers arrived in 1793, and began building a life alongside the convicts. But, for the first thirty five years of its existence New South Wales remained primarily a penal colony.

1851 – Australian gold rush begins

Although colonists had know for many years that gold existed in Australia, the discovery of five flecks by Edward Hargreaves in 1851 led to a gold rush to rival the earlier California gold rushes.

Within months, hundreds of diggers had flocked to Bathurst, the site of Hargreaves’ discovery. Other gold sites were discovered throughout Victoria and New South Wales, and the first diggers were followed by tens of thousands more miners, plus other settlers to support them.

Within a decade, more than a third of the world’s gold was being mined in Australia, a country that was suddenly becoming very rich.

The gold rush also led to discontent and violence. Heavy handed taxes imposed by the government caused anger and, in December 1854, the diggers simmering anger boiled over into the Eureka Rebellion, a conflict that would shape Australia’s democratic future.

More than a thousand diggers gathered in Eureka, demanding a reduction in the cost of mining licences, an end to government harassment, and calling for an end to taxation without representation.

The government’s response was swift, and violent. The diggers were overrun and more than 30 were killed in what as known as the battle of Eureka Stockade.

Although the battle was lost, the government recognised that changes were needed and a sweeping programme of reforms was implemented the next year, including the introduction of voting rights for miners. Because of this, the Eureka rebellion is celebrated as a key moment in Australian history. Mark Twain, visiting years later, remarked:

It was a revolution—small in size; but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for principle, a stand against injustice and oppression … It is another instance of a victory won by a lost battle.

Mark Twain

An indication of just how important the Gold Rush was to Australia’s development can be seen in Australia’s population statistics. In just a decade, the colony’s population almost trebled – growing from 405,000 in 1850 to 1.1 million in 1860.

1877 – Australia and England play the first cricket test match

Australia has the distinction of being host to the first ever test match, contested between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – a ground which, even in 1877, was large enough to warrant a grandstand.

Opening batsman Charles Bannerman led Australia from the front. He scored test cricket’s first ever run and its first century before retiring hurt on a score of 165, helping Australia to a respectable first innings total of 245.

England, led by James Lillywhite, had been favourites to win the match but its batsmen, sadly missing the strength of the legendary W.G. Grace, could not match their hosts. They fell short with a first innings total of 196. Although England out-scored Australia by 108 to 104 in the second innings, it was not enough to prevent the first of many English defeats on Australian soil.

The Ashes were first used as a trophy in matches between the two countries after England’s first defeat on home soil, five years later in August 1882. The Sporting Times posted a mock obituary of English cricket: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”

A small urn, containing the ashes of one of the bails, was duly taken to Australia and, since 1883, cricket teams representing Australia and England have fought for the honour of retaining the Ashes.  

1901 – The Commonwealth of Australia is founded

Half a world away from Britain, home of the British Empire, the Australian colonies could only function if they had a great deal of autonomy.

Over time, as the number of people born in Australia gradually became the majority of all people living in Australia and technological advances such as the telegraph allowed speedy communication between the various Australian colonies, calls for increased autonomy and self government became irresistible.

Australia’s first constitutional convention was held in 1891, in Sydney. Representatives of each of the six colonies, plus New Zealand, gathered together to develop constitution that could be used by a federation of the Australian states and New Zealand.

Although New Zealand dropped out of the process early on, enough progress had been made by the time of the second (1897-98) convention to produce a draft constitution which, after some further amendments, was ratified by referendums in each of the six colonies.

The next step was to return to London. In July 1900, the House of Parliament debated, and then passed the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. Several days later, on 9 July 1900, Queen Victoria signed the Act into law.

  Read more about Australia’s constitution…

You can read the Australian constitution on the Parliament of Australia website. Or, because it is also technically still a law in Britain as well, you can also read it on the UK Parliament website!

The Commonwealth of Australia came into existence on 1 January 1901. From that point on, although it was still technically a colony of the British Empire, Australia effectively had self-government and full autonomy over its own affairs.

The last formal ties with the United Kingdom were severed in 1986 when the Australian Parliament and the UK Parliament both based the Australia Act. Click here to jump to the section about the Australia Act.

1911 – Canberra, Australia’s capital city, is founded

One of the first things any new country needs to have is a capital city.

Although Australia’s first capital city was, because of necessity, Melbourne, this was not a good long term solution.

The problem was that no-one really wanted the capital of Australia to be in either of its two largest cities – Sydney or Melbourne.

Leaving aside the political problem of choosing one of these two rival cities over the other, they were both hot in summer, and too close to the coast for comfort.

The solution? Create a new city entirely from scratch in a location that is both temperate and safe from sea bombardment, and make it the nations capital.

An enclave of land in New South Wales, known as Canberra-Yass was chosen, the Australian Capital Territory was formed, and a competition was launched to design a new model city.

Construction began shortly afterwards and, by 9 May 1927, Canberra was ready for the opening of the Provisional Parliament House (today known as Old Parliament House).

Today, Canberra is home to 380,000 people. It remains the seat of Australia’s Government and Australia’s Capital City.

1914 – The First World War begins

The First World War was Australia’s first major military conflict, and the one that has had the most profound impact on its society.

From Gallipoli in Turkey, to the Western Front in France and Belgium, thousands of Australian men fought and died on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East. Of the 331,781 Australian men who served, 152,284 (almost half) were injured and 60,284 (one in five) died. 

Australia’s first involvement in the war was the hastily assembled Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Two thousands sailors and soldiers set sail from Sydney on 19 August 1914, just two weeks after the declaration of war, in a successful mission to capture German New Guinea.

Troops of the First Australian Imperial Force were then quickly assembled and sent north to Europe and the Middle East.

In the early years of the war, most Australians were based in Egypt, to fight against the threat posed by the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The Gallipoli campaign the first major campaign of the war. On 25 April 1915, thousands of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand (ANZACs), alongside others from Britain, India and France, landed on the peninsula of Gallipoli. Their ultimate goal was to defeat the Ottoman Empire, and capture Constantinople, its capital city.

The campaign was, from start to finish, a disaster. Allied forces quickly became bogged down and, after eight months of brutal fighting, were forced to withdraw. By the end of a campaign that the Sydney Morning Herald called Australia’s “Baptism of Fire”, almost 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed, alongside more than 50,000 troops from Britain, France and other parts of the Empire.

Australian soldiers also fought on the Western Front, taking part in the brutal trench warfare that characterised the first world war. In total, more than 40,000 Australian soldiers lost their lives on the Western Front.

The bloodiest single day of the war for Australia came on the night of 19th and 20th July 1916 at the Battle of Fromelles in Northern France. In a period of just 24 hours Australian forces suffered 5,533 casualties as they attempted, and failed, to capture territory from the Germans.

The impact of the First World War on Australia was immense, particularly the Gallipoli Campaign, which has become an enduring symbol of Australia’s national identity. Although it was a massive military defeat, it singled Australia’s coming of age as a nation and Australia’s soldiers are celebrated for showing the Anzac Spirit – the courage, determination and mateship that defines Australia today.

1939 – The Second World War begins

After standing down the bulk of its military after the First World War, Australia was underprepared for the Second. When Australia declared war on Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939, its regular army numbered just 3,000 troops

Military strength was quickly ramped up to almost a million servicemen and women. In total 575,799 Australians served overseas during World War 2 – that’s almost one in every ten Australians at the time.

Casualties were much lower than in the first world war – 39,429 Australians died in the Second World War, and 66,563 were injured

More than a hundred Australian pilots also fought alongside the RAF during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

More difficult defensive battles were to follow. Australians were heavily involved in fighting in Greece and, in particular, the lost Battle of Crete in May 1941. The same summer, however, 14,000 soldiers held firm under a five month German siege of Tobruk – their determined defence earning them the name ‘Rats of Tobruk’.

Because Australia had committed the bulk of its military forces to the conflict in Europe and North Africa, it was not well prepared to resist the Japanese advance in the Pacific in 1942.

In the months following the raid on Pearl Harbour, a lack of airpower, naval power and manpower meant that Australian and British Empire strongholds throughout the Pacific fell one after the other. After a disorganised, determined, and desperate last stand in Singapore, 80,000 allied soldiers, including 15,000 Australians, were taken as Japanese Prisoners of War.

Dozens air raids on northern Australian towns brought the war to Australian territory – between 900 and 1,100 people were killed in the Darwin air raid of 19 February 1942. These raids, combined with a Japanese invasion of New Guinea, prompted fears that a Japanese invasion of Australia itself was planned.

With Britain pre-occupied in Europe, Australia turned to Washington for support in the Pacific War. A deal was swiftly agreed which put Australian forces under the command of US General Douglas MacArthur. By 1943 there were more American troops in Australia than there were Australian troops.

Australian troops focused on pushing the Japanese from New Guinea – a feat which, in the face of dogged Japanese resistance was only achieved in April 1944, while the Americans focused on attacking Japan’s new Pacific islands strongholds.

As a part of the deal with America, Australia also scaled back its direct military involvement in the overall conflict. Instead, it focused on boosting production of military weaponry and supplies for allied troops engaged elsewhere.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, Australia took over responsibility for administering territories such as Borneo and Lombok, and for guarding more than 300,000 Japanese who had been stranded across the Pacific by the Allied advance. Many Australian troops continued to serve overseas for a time, but demobilisation of the Australian army was rapid and completed by February 1947.

1948 – ‘Populate or Perish’ – Australia’s new immigration policy

Between 1945 and 1965 over two million immigrants came to Australia. They travelled from all over the world, mostly from a Europe scarred by years of conflict. Together, they changed Australia forever.

In the aftermath of the second world war, Australia had two problems.

The first was that its economy, especially its manufacturing economy, had grown massively during the war. People were needed to work in the factories – more people than Australia had.

The second was that the resource rich, but sparsely populated, territories of Australia had looked incredibly appealing to other powers – not least the Japanese. “Populate or Perish” was the catchy slogan of Authur Calwell, Australia’s first Minister for Immigration.

The solution was to open up immigration to people from across Europe, as well as to British migrants. Victims of European conflict became the first priority and, between 1947 and 1953, Australia accepted over 170,000 displaced persons.

The policy was helped by a decision taken in Britain and other parts of its Empire, to change the law so that residents of countries like Australia and New Zealand would, instead of being British citizens, become Australian citizens, or New Zealand citizens. The British Nationality Act 1948 and the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 each came into force on 26 January 1949, and the first Australian citizens were created.

Displaced migrants from Europe were followed by economic migrants from Britain and the rest of Europe. Any Britain who could pay ten pounds (leading to the nickname ‘Ten Pound Toms’) could emigrate to Australia. And hundreds of thousands came from other countries in Europe – the most popular countries of origin for 1950s migrants were Italy, Germany, Holland and Greece. 

Almost all migrants to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s were white – immigrants from non-white countries were strongly discouraged for many years. Those that did come – for example, from the pacific islands, faced discrimination. The White Australia policy began to be abandoned in the 1960s, and today the majority of immigrants to Australia come from Asia.

1956 – Melbourne hosts the Olympic Games

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics were a global statement of Australia’s new found confidence. As host to the first Olympics ever to be held outside of Europe or the United States, Melbourne gave Australia a showcase on the world stage.

The Olympic Committee had been keen to take the Olympics to a new region, and Melbourne beat Buenos Aires of Argentina in the contest to host the Games by a narrow margin of just 21 votes to 20.  

The ‘Friendly Games’ as they were called, drew 3,314 athletes from 72 nations, to compete in 17 different sports. With thirteen gold medals, eight silver medals and fourteen bronze medals, Australia came third in the 1956 Olympic medal table behind only the Soviet Union (37 golds) and the United States (32 golds).

The Melbourne Cricket Ground was the main stadium for the 1956 Games, host to the opening and closing ceremonies, the athletics events, and the finals of the football and hockey tournaments.

Some facts about the Melbourne Olympic Games

  • The MCG was not only host to the main events. An exhibition baseball game at the stadium attracted an estimated 102,000 spectators!
  • The infamous Blood in the Water water polo match was played in Melbourne. The game became so violent that police were called in to restore order.
  • ​The 1956 closing ceremony marked the first occasion where teams marched together, instead of in groups divided by country.
  • All of the equestrian events at the 1956 Olympics were actually held in Stockholm, Sweden, several months earlier. This is because strict import rules barred competitors from bringing their horses to Australia.

1971 – Neville Bonner becomes Australia’s first aboriginal Senator

One of the more shameful aspects of Australia’s history is that <a href=””>it wasn’t until the 1960s that all aboriginal people were entitled to vote in elections</a>.

Although limited voting rights were extended to indigenous Australians in the late 19th centuries, the ‘White Australia’ policy had rolled back many of these advances. Supported by the 1901 Commonwealth Franchise Act, almost all Aboriginal people were prevented from voting in elections.

These rules were relaxed slightly in 1949, when Aboriginal people who had served in the military were granted the right to vote, but it was not until 1965 that the franchise was extended to all Aboriginals in Australia.

Neville Bonner became the first indigenous Australian to sit in the Federal Parliament when, on 11 June 1971, he was appointed by the Liberal Party to fill a vacant seat in the Senate. Bonner was re-elected in competitive elections in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1980, going on to serve as Senator for Queensland until February 1983.

As an activist Senator, Bonner was prepared to cross the floor and vote against his own party when he deemed it necessary – an approach that won him both respect and political enemies. In his first Senate speech, on 8 September, he said that he would play “the role which my State of Queensland, my race, my background, my political beliefs, my knowledge of men and circumstances dictate.”

Bonner’s lack of party loyalty was probably a factor in the Liberal Party’s decision not to select him as a candidate in the 1983 elections. He went on to unsuccessfully fight the 1983 election as an independent candidate.

Bonner was named Australian of the Year in 1979

Neville Bonner remains one of only five indigenous Australians to have served in Australia’s Federal Parliament – the others are Aden Ridgeway (Democrat, Senator, New South Wales), Ken Wyatt (Liberal, MP, Hasluck, Western Australia), Nova Peris (Labor, Senator, Northern Territory) and Joanna Lindgren (LNP, Senator, Queensland).

1966 – The Australia Act – independence from Britain

Although, by 1986, Australia had been effectively independent of the United Kingdom for many years, it was still technically possible for the UK to pass laws that would apply in Australia. It was also possible for legal appeals to be heard at the UK’s Privy Council, rather than in Australia.

To prevent this from ever happening, the Australia Act 1986 was introduced. In the same way as other laws that would separate the UK and Australia (for example, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act and the Australian Citizenship Act 1948, both of which are discussed earlier in this article) the Australia Act 1986 was passed in both England and Australia. 

The Act made it impossible for any UK laws to be introduced in Australia. The Act also made it impossible for constitutional appeals to be heard in the UK’s Privy Council – instead, the High Court of Australia became the final venue for all appeals.

Despite this, the Queen remains Australia’s head of state. She is represented in Australia by the Governor General. Although the Queen and Governor General’s powers are mostly ceremonial, they do still technically have the right to appoint or dismiss the Prime Minister, and to dissolve the House of Representatives. These powers have only once been used unilaterally – in the Australian Constitutional Crisis of 1975, also known as ‘The Dismissal’.

Australia held a referendum in 1999 to consider whether it should replace the Queen as head of state and replace her with a President. The vote was lost, with 55% of Australians voting against the proposal, and 45% voting for it.

Many people still believe that Australia should become a republic, although Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s Prime Minister, said in 2015 that he did not believe any changes were likely until after the end of the Queen’s reign.

You can read a good overview of republicanism in Australia here

1993 – Native Title Act grants land rights to indigenous Australians

Although indigenous Australians were, as their name suggests, in Australia first, for centuries they did not have any right to land or waters that they had originally owned or used.

Land rights for indigenous Australians became a topical issue in the 1960s, when Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory began to protest against the use of their traditional land, largely for mining. As a result, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 was passed. It gave indigenous Australians increased rights over their lands – but only in the Northern Territory.

In the 1980s, public and political opinion began to recognise the importance of land rights. A set of principles was outlined in 1983, but then quickly dropped in 1985 under pressure from mining companies.

Pressure continued to build on the government but it wasn’t until 1993, when the Native Title Act was introduced, that Australia finally had a “national system for the recognition and protection of native title.”

The Act sets out a clear legal process which native Australians can use to prove that they have title to land based on traditional law and custom, rather than formal ownership documents. It also compels the Social Justice Commissioner to prepare a report about native rights each year.

2000 – Sydney hosts the Olympic Games

If the 1956 Melbourne Olympics announced Australia’s arrival on the world stage, the 2000 Sydney Olympics demonstrated Australia’s maturity and self-confidence.

Cathy Freeman was the undoubted star of the Games for Australia. She lit the Olympic Torch at the opening ceremony, going some way to demonstrating Australia’s increased comfort with its multi-cultural heritage. The Guardian newspaper called Freeman “a symbol of Australia’s edgy transformation from the white male-dominated imperial outpost that staged the 1956 Olympics to the multicultural melting pot of 2000.”

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, on an unforgettable night Freeman blazed her way to a gold medal in the 400 metres final. She remains, to this day, the only person to have lit the Olympic flame and to have won an Olympic gold medal

10,651 athletes from 199 countries took part in the Sydney Games, competing in 300 different sporting events. Australia finished fourth in the medal table, with 58 medals – 16 gold, 25 silver and 17 bronze. Ahead of them in the final table were China (28 golds, 58 total medals), Russia (32 golds, 89 total medals) and the United States (37 golds, 93 total medals).

The Sydney Olympic Stadium (now known as the ANZ stadium) was the centrepiece venue for the Sydney Games, packing in a record 114,714 spectators for the closing ceremony – the highest attendance ever recorded for a modern Olympic event. Today the stadium is in regular use as a venue for concerts, rugby (union and league), soccer, australian rules, speedway, and even international cricket.

2002 – The Bali bombings kill 88 Australians

On 12 October 2002, suicide bombers exploded two bombs at Paddy’s Pub in Bali, Indonesia. One bomber detonated a device in his backpack, inside the pub. Then, seconds later, a second bomber detonated a car bomb just outside the pub.

Together, the bombs killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and 27 British. A further 209 people were injured in the blasts.

For some, the Bali bombings marked Australia’s loss of innocence; a day when the horrors of the world came to Australia’s backyard.

Australia’s response has, for the most part, been a nuanced one. Although it has significantly beefed up its anti-terrorism operations and been prepared to take a muscular approach to foreign policy, it has balanced this with a recognition that Australia cannot be secure without good relations with its neighbours.

To that end, Australian foreign policy has emphasised building bilateral and multilateral relationships with other countries in South East Asia and working with others to make South East Asia and Oceania as stable as possible.

Australian Flag

The Australian flag was introduced in 1901 and has been the national flag of Australia ever since. It represents Australia’s British heritage and its position in the Southern hemisphere.

Although there are some within Australia lobbying for the introduction of a new Australian state flag to better represent its current, multicultural identity, demand for a change does not seem strong.

This article contains Australian flag facts and information, as well as links to download your own copies of the flag of Australia. It also contains information about the Aboriginal flag and about the flags of each of Australia’s states.

What does the Australian flag look like?

The Australian flag has a blue background, a union jack in the upper left quarter, the Commonwealth star in the lower left, and five white stars on the right which represent the Southern Cross constellation.

Australian Flag

The exact construction of the Australian flag is set out in Schedule 1 of the Flags Act of 1953. Under the act:

  • the Union Jack must occupy the upper quarter next the staff
  • a large white star (the Commonwealth Star) must be placed in the centre of the lower quarter next the staff. The star must point directly at the centre of St George’s Cross in the Union Jack and must contain seven points
  • 5 white stars (the Southern Cross) must be placed in the half of the flag further from the staff, as follows:
    • Alpha Crucis – On middle line, one-sixth from bottom edge
    • Beta Crucis – One-quarter from middle line, at right angles on left to a point on middle line one-sixteenth above centre of fly
    • Gamma Crucis – On middle line one-sixth from top edge
    • Delta Crucis – Two-ninths from middle line at right angles on right to a point one-fifteenth above a point on middle line one-sixteenth above centre of fly
    • Epsilon Crucis – One-tenth from middle line at right angles on right to a point on middle line one twenty-fourth below centre of fly

All of the Australian flag stars should have seven points, with the exception of the star representing Epsilon Crucis, which should have only five points.

Here is a template which explains how to position each of the elements on the Australian flag.


Australian flag colors

The background of the Australian flag is blue, the Union jack is blue, red and white, and the stars are all white. Here is a table which provides details of the colours that should be used in Pantone, RGB (red, green, blue) and Hex (hexadecimal) format.

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What does the Australian flag mean?

The flag of Australia was introduced in 1901 to mark its transition into the Commonwealth of Australia. So, what do each of the symbols on the Aussie flag mean?

Union Jack

The Union Jack in the upper left quadrant symbolised Australia’s close relationship with the United Kingdom. When the flag was introduced, the Commonwealth of Australia was an integral, but autonomous, part of the British Empire – because of this, it seemed natural to include the union jack prominantly on the national flag.

Although Australia today is a fully independent country – and has been since 1931 – it remains a member of the British Commonwealth, and the Queen is its head of state. The union jack today represents Australia’s heritage as a former colony and its close links with the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Star / Federation Star

The Commonwealth Star, in the lower left quadrant, represents the different colonies that joined together to create the Commonwealth of Australia. When the flag was first introduced, it had six points to represent the six different colonies. Because the six colonies were joining together to form a federation, the Commonwealth Star is sometimes referred to as the Federation Star.

A seventh point was added to the Commonwealth Star in 1908 to represent Australia’s territories.

Southern Cross

The five stars in the lower right quadrant represent the Southern Cross. This is a bright constellation that can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere and, importantly, could not be seen in the United Kingdom. This provided Australian with a graphical representation of its difference from its colonial homeland.

The five stars of the Southern Cross are, from highest on the flag to lowest:

  • Gamma Crucis
  • Delta Crucis
  • Beta Crucis
  • Epsilon Crucis
  • Alpha Crucis

When was the Australian flag introduced?

Australian flag competitionThe flag was first introduced and flown in 1901. To celebrate it’s federation, the Australian Commonwealth government held a competition to choose the national flag.

With a prize of £200, worth more than £20,000 today ($38,000 AUS, $28,000 US) the competition attracted a stunning 32,823 designs.

According to wikipedia, the designs were judged on seven criteria: “loyalty to the Empire, Federation, history, heraldry, distinctiveness, utility and cost of manufacture.”

Five winners, who had submitted very similar designs shared the prize money, and the new design was unveiled and first flown on 3 September 1901 outside the Royal Exhibition building in Melbourne.

Since 1996, this date has been celebrated as Australia’s national flag day (although this is not a public holiday).

A New Australian Flag?

Australia has intermittently debated whether to change its flag to something that better represents its independence from the United Kingdom and its modern, multicultural identity. This debate has gained some additional impetus in recent years as Australia’s neighbour, New Zealand, debates adopting a new flag.

Australian flag debate

There are two main organisations promoting the development of a new flag – the Australian National Flag Association ( Ausflag ( Their main arguments for dropping the current flag in favour of a new one seem to be primarily about the inclusion of the Union Jack. There are very few complaints about the stars on the Australian flag. The key arguments used are that the Union Jack:

  • makes the Australian flag too similar to the flags of other British colonies and existing British territories;
  • implies that Australia is not fully independent from the UK;
  • doesn’t reflect Australia’s moden, multicultural society;
  • doesn’t reflect Australia’s aboriginal peoples.

The main argument for maintaining the current flag seems to be that, despite it’s similarity to other flags, it has established itself as a broadly popular symbol of Australia, and that no widely supported alternative has been identified or designed.

Overall, there is not strong demand in Australia for a change, so the current flag seems secure – for the time being at least.

Australian Red Ensign

In its design, the Red Ensign is almost exactly the same as the Australian national flag. It contains the Union Jack in its upper left corner, the Confederation Star, and the six stars of the Southern Cross. The only difference is that the background of the red ensign is red, instead of blue.

Australian Red Ensign Flag

Historically, the blue Australian flag (the blue ensign) was reserved for official state and government usage, and the red ensign was reserved for the use of private citizens.

The 1953 Flags Act clarified that the blue ensign was the official national Australian flag, and the red ensign would become the official flag of the Australian merchant navy.

Australia flag map

Here is a picture of an Australian flag map. It contains a copy of the Austlalian flag on a map of Australia. To download the map, click on the picture – you will be taken to a separate page where you can then save the image.

Please note that not all of the stars of the Southern Cross are visible on this map because of the shape of the Australian continent!

Australia Flag Map

Alternatively, if you’d prefer, here is an upside-down flag map of Australia!

Upside-down Australia flag map

Australian state flags

Each Australian state has its own flag. In common with the national flag, each state flag is a blue ensign (that is to say, it has a blue background) and contains a union jack in the upper left quadrant. On the right hand side of each state’s flag there is an emblem to represent the individual state.

Some Australian state flags were adopted before Australia’s national flag.

New South Wales

Adopted 18 February 1876.

Australia New South Wales flag 1024

The New South Wales state flag contains a badge with the red cross of St George on a white background. A golden lion is positioned in the centre, surrounded by four eight pointed golden stars on each arm of the cross.

The NSW state badge was designed by James Burnett and Captain Francis Hixson.


First adopted 29 November 1876, current version adopted 1953.

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The Queensland state flag contians a badge with a light blue Maltese Cross on a white disc. A St Edwards crown is positioned at the centre of the cross. The design of the crown changes to reflect the crown chosen by the reigning monarch.

The Queensland state badge was designed by William Hemmant.

South Australia

Adopted 1904.

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The South Australian state flag contains a piping shrike (a bird similar to a magpie) on a yellow disc. The piping shrike is the state bird of Southern Australia.

The South Australian state badge was designed by Robert Craig.


Adopted 29 November 1875.

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The Tasmanian state flag contains a red lion on a white disc. The lion is thought to symbolise the colony’s ties with Britain.


First adopted 30 November 1877, current version adopted in 1953.

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The Victoria state flag contains a St Edwards Crown atop a constellation of the five white stars of the Southern Cross. Unlike the Australian flag, the number of points on each of the stars varies – from five points to eight.

The design of the crown on the Victoria flag changes to reflect the crown chosen by the reigning monarch.

Australian Aboriginal flag

The Australian Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas in 1971 and is widely regarded as a symbol of Australia’s aboriginals.

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The flag is divided into two horizontal bars, or black and red, with a yellow disc in the centre. According to Thomas, the different elements of his flag represent:

  • Black – represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
  • Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector
  • Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land

The aboriginal flag was first used on 12 July 1971, at an event in Adelaide to represent National Aborigines Day. Cathy Freeman carried the Aboriginal and Australian flags together at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 to celebrate her victory lap after winning both the 200 and 400 metre sprint events.

It was given official status in 1995, and then again in 2008, as “the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and a flag of significance to the Australian nation generally.”

Harold Thomas continues to work as an artist. You can see and buy his work here: