On 6 March, the people of Norfolk Island celebrate Foundation Day. Foundation Day looks back to the time in 1788 when the island’s first European settlers arrived. Caption James Cook had discovered the island 14 years earlier in 1774 and had named the island after the Duchess of Norfolk.
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The island was at first colonised from New South Wales, then a separate British colony but today a state of Australia. Its original settlement had twice as many convicts as freemen, and it was a penal colony for a long time.
After the penal colony status was abolished in 1855, new settlers came from the Pitcairn Islands. By 1901, the island was officially joined to Australia. In 1979, however, it became a self-governing dependency of Australia.
There are actually no descendants of the original settlers in Norfolk Island today, but the date 6 March is still celebrated by the people as Foundation Day.
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