Topic: Australia/History of exploration

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🔗 Theory of the Portuguese discovery of Australia

🔗 Australia 🔗 Portugal 🔗 Australia/Australian maritime history 🔗 Australia/History of exploration

The theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia claims that early Portuguese navigators were the first Europeans to sight Australia between 1521 and 1524, well before the arrival of Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606 on board the Duyfken who is generally considered to be the first European discoverer. This is based on the following elements:

  • The Dieppe maps, a group of 16th-century French world maps, which depict a large landmass between Indonesia and Antarctica. Labelled as Java la Grande, this land mass carries French, Portuguese, and Gallicized Portuguese placenames, and has been interpreted by some as corresponding to Australia's northwestern and eastern coasts.
  • The presence of Portuguese colonies in Southeast Asia from the early 16th century, particularly Portuguese Timor – approximately 650 kilometres from the Australian coast – c. 1513–1516.
  • Various antiquities found on Australian coastlines, claimed to be relics of early Portuguese voyages to Australia, which are more commonly regarded as evidence of Makassan visit of Northern Australia.

Precedence of Australia's discovery has also been claimed for China (Admiral Zheng), France, Spain, and even Phoenicia.

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