Van Diemen's Land

Van Diemen's Land was the original name of the island of Tasmania during the European exploration of Australia in the 19th century. A British settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land in 1803 before it became a separate colony in 1825. Its penal colonies became notorious destinations for the transportation of convicts due to the harsh environment, isolation and reputation for being inescapable. Macquarie Harbour and Port Arthur are among the most well-known penal settlements on the island.

Van Diemen's Land
British Crown Colony
1825–1856

1828 map
CapitalHobart
DemonymVan Diemonian usually spelt Vandemonian
Government
  TypeSelf-governing colony
Monarch 
 1825–1830
George IV
 1830–1837
William IV
 1837–1856
Victoria
Lieutenant-Governor 
 1825–1836
Sir George Arthur first
 1855–1856
Sir Henry Young last
History 
 independence from the Colony of New South Wales
3 December 1825
 Name changed to Tasmania and self-rule
1856
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Colony of New South Wales
Colony of Tasmania
Today part ofAustralia
Van Diemen's Land
1852 map of Van Diemen's Land
Geography
LocationSouthern Ocean
Coordinates42°00′S 147°00′E
Area68,401 km2 (26,410 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,614 m (5295 ft)
Highest pointMount Ossa
Administration
Australia
Largest settlementHobart Town
Demographics
Population40,000 (1855)
Pop. density0.59/km2 (1.53/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsEuropean Australians, Aboriginal Tasmanians

With the passing of the Australian Constitutions Act 1850, Van Diemen's Land (along with New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia) was granted responsible self-government with its own elected representative and parliament. On 1 January 1856 the colony of Van Diemen's Land was officially changed to Tasmania. The last penal settlement was closed in Tasmania in 1877.