Did You Know?
Australia was originally called New Holland
The name New Holland was first applied to western and north coast of Australia in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman, best known for his discovery of Tasmania (called by him Van Diemen's Land). The English Captain William Dampier used the name in his account of his two voyages there: the first arriving on 5 January 1688 and staying until March 12; his second voyage of exploration to the region was made in 1699. Except for giving its name to the land, neither the Netherlands nor the Dutch East India Company claimed any territory in Australia as its own. Although many Dutch expeditions visited the coast during the 200 years after the first Dutch visit in 1606, there was no lasting attempt at establishment of a permanent settlement. Most of the explorers of this period concluded that the apparent lack of water and fertile soil made the region unsuitable for colonisation.
After British colonisation, the name New Holland was retained for several decades and the south polar continent continued to be called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to Australia. However, in the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities gradually removed the Dutch name from the island continent and, instead of inventing a new name, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving a lacuna in continental nomenclature for eighty years. Even so, the name New Holland survived for many decades, used in atlases, literature and in common parlance.