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How did Australia get its name?

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Australia was first informally called New Holland

Then it was called New South Wales

Finally it was called Australia, which means Great South Land

In the days of exploration, the Dutch and the Spanish (along with the Brits) spoke of a "great south land"

Captain Quiros Edit

Pedro Fernandes de Queirós also known as Pedro Fernández de Quirós, (1563 - 1615) was a Portuguese navigator best known for his involvement with Spanish voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, in particular the 1595-1596 voyage of Alvaro de Mendaña de Neira, and for leading a 1605-1606 expedition which crossed the Pacific in search of Terra Australis.

In 1598 Quirós returned to Spain and petitioned King Philip III to support another voyage into the Pacific. A devout Catholic, Quirós also visited Rome in 1600, where he obtained the support of the Pope, Clement VIII, for further explorations. He greatly impressed the Spanish Ambassador in Rome, the Duke of Sesa, who described him as a “man of good judgement, experienced in his profession, hard working, quiet and disinterested.” [1] While in Rome Quirós also first wrote his Treatise on Navigation as a letter to the king, further reinforcing his reputation as a navigator. In March 1603 Quirós was finally authorized to return to Peru to establish another expedition, with the intention of finding Terra Australis, the mythical "great south land," and claiming it for Spain and the Church.

In May 1606 the expedition reached the islands later called the New Hebrides and now the independent nation of Vanuatu. Quirós landed on a large island which he took to be part of the southern continent, and named it La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo (The Austrian Land of the Holy Spirit), for King Philip III, who was of Austrian descent. The island is still called Espiritu Santo. Here he stated his intention to establish a colony, to be called Nova Jerusalem.

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