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Here's Proof Australia Was Definitely Not Empty When Europeans Arrived

January 26 marks the day Indigenous Australia changed forever.

Today is Australia Day, a celebration for many Aussies, but a day of mourning known as Invasion Day or Survival Day by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

In 1770, Captain James Cook had surveyed the entire eastern coastline of Australia and claimed it for England under the doctrine terra nullius, a Latin phrase meaning "nobody's land".

So here's an important reminder that far from being the "nobody's land" described by Captain Cook, Australia was an incredibly rich, diverse rainbow society of many nations when the Union Jack was first raised 228 years ago today.

David R Horton / Aboriginal Studies Press / AIATSIS / Via

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, estimates of the population before European settlement range from 315,000 to more than 1 million people.

There were between 350 and 750 distinct Aboriginal languages at the time of first European contact. Only about 70 survive.

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