Twenty-four million people strong, Australia is in the news frequently due to the unique wildlife and geographic diversity of this gigantic island country. Despite its large size, Australia is one of the least-densely populated places in the world. Part of the United Kingdom, East Australia was forcibly colonized by the British in 1770 to build an open-air prison for European criminals. Before the British invasion, Australia was inhabited as far back as 50,000 years ago by Indigenous Australians. Australia is frequently in the business headlines due to the large amount of minerals, oil, and ore that are part of major international mining operations. Australia is found in international sports headlines for horse racing, rugby, soccer, and sail boating.