How has the myth of tera nullius shaped Australian history and national identity

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Today, there aren’t any Aboriginals left in the world but Australia is one of those countries that still have a few percent of Indigenous living in the country. The Aboriginals are still a marginalized community in the country and aren’t given the appropriate rights. They are discriminated at every step of the way and aren’t considered a part of the Australian community. However, they are the true residents of the country. Before colonization the country didn’t have large population but Australia involved few locals that didn’t have any connection with other countries. The country only included three hundred thousand Aboriginals that were scattered over the whole continent. On each land few groups of Indigenous individuals lived in the country, each group consisted of three to four individuals. It is considered that the term terra nullius has shaped the national identity of Australia, terra nullius is a concept used for a land that didn’t belong to any one. The Aboriginals living in Australia have been given attention for a few years now and before that they weren’t given their equal rights. Many policies have been introduced to help the Indigenous of the country to be out of poverty and get the basic necessities that an individual needs to survive. The essay will discuss with the help of the literature that how did the term shaped the national identity of the Australians or not. It will argue that if the term is a myth or not with the help of academic evidence. 

The true meaning of Tera Nullius means “a land belonging to no one” , Australia was the only country that was named ‘terra nullius’ after the colonization by the British empire from 1788 to 1992. The country is best defined as terra nullius before and after British colonization and the term is still used for a few areas of Australia that are purely unoccupied. Australia was truly terra nullius, after the expedition of James Cook who set out to find any land that exists in the South. He came across Australia that was sparsely populated which means people used to live in groups along the coast line. The Aboriginals weren’t good in trading, farming and cultivation, this country was appropriate for a colony. However, Cook was ordered not to conquer the land without the consent of the Aboriginal living over there. The British government was all set to send Arthur Phillip to New South Wales in 1780 to take over the land but Cook stated that they didn’t need to take over the land by force. The reason was that the Aboriginals were the most senseless and stupid among all the Aboriginals around the world. The Britishers perceived them as the ugliest of all and compared them to a monkey. The true meaning of the term terra nullius applied to Australia as the population was very low and the people had no autonomy over the continent. The term terra nullius is not a myth but it was made a part of the internal law by Camille Piccioni at the end of the 18th century. In other words, terra nullius was used for an “absence of no property” along with autonomy as it is self explanatory that a land with no property has been exploited enough to create autonomy.

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