Sunday, June 5, 2016

Down Under is big!

Australia outline superimposed on Europe

Yeah, I was surprised when I looked at this map overlay. Australia is way bigger than England or France or Germany, bigger than Europe.

In fact, Australia—2.97 million square miles—is just about exactly the same size as the continental United States. Who knew?

Mollweide projection with true proportional land areas

By the way, “down under” is a colloquial nickname for Australia and New Zealand because those countries are below the equator, and thus cartographically “under” the western European countries, like Great Britain that colonized both Australia and New Zealand in the 1770s.

Notice that I didn’t say “discovered” Australia and New Zealand….the Maori peoples settled in New Zealand more than 1,000 years before the British arrived, and the Australian Aborigines have the oldest continuous human culture in the world.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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