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Australia was portrayed as a remote and unattractive land for European settlement. However, it had some social and strategic value for a nation with rising crime rates and commercial interests in the Pacific and East Asia. Britain moved quickly after the American Revolution ended in 1783 to establish its first settlement in Australia, since it could no longer ship British convicts to America. Food shortages, harsh penal laws, and the general displacement of people during the early stages in the Industrial Revolution in Britain added to its criminal population. Leading social reformers of the day assumed that the best way to eliminate crime was to remove these criminals from society. In 1786 the British government announced its intention to establish a penal settlement at Botany Bay in Australia.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|