Home » People & Society » Aboriginal Australians often traveled to Indonesia for trade, and when British explorers first visited inland Australia they met an Aboriginal man who had already learned English from his visit to Singapore.

Aboriginal Australians often traveled to Indonesia for trade, and when British explorers first visited inland Australia they met an Aboriginal man who had already learned English from his visit to Singapore.

Dreamtime voyagers: Aboriginal Australians in early modern Makassar

If there’s one thing that most people think they know about the early history of Australia, it’s that the continent remained suspended, in unchanging isolation, for countless thousands of years before the arrival of the convicts of the First Fleet early in 1788. Cut off from the rest of humanity ever since the end of the last Ice Age, the Aboriginal population lived on for generation after generation in a hazy, mythic stasis: a “Dreamtime” in which the passage of the years, and even the notion of history itself, had practically no meaning. Theirs was a pure, pristine existence; the first Australians were part of the land itself, rather than living off it and exploiting it. And when the British arrived and claimed the continent, they sullied… Continue Reading (29 minute read)

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