Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The word aborigine means “from the beginning.” In Australia, this word began to be used to refer specifically to the continent's nearly one million indigenous inhabitants at the time of the British invasion in 1788. Many cultures have been lost since then, due to violent conflict between Aborigines and successive waves of new settlers. Some cultures have survived and renewed their focus on kin networks, close religious and legal relationships to the land, and revitalization of their culture and language. Of 250 languages, 20 remain. Experts believe ancestral Aborigines arrived approximately 46,000 years ago, possibly when sea levels were low during the Ice Age. Archaeological sites near Melbourne and Perth are dated to 40,000 years ago, shell middens to 30,000 years ago. Indigenous peoples of Australia and New Guinea, closely related, probably share a common origin in Indonesia. Aboriginal language diversified into a large number of families with no clear ...