Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia’s largest state with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi), and the second-largest country subdivision in the world – however, a significant part of it is sparsely populated. The state has about 2.6 million inhabitants, around 11% of the national total. 92% of the population lives in the south-west corner of the state.
The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616. The first European inhabitants were the crew of the British East Indiaman Tryall, who were wrecked on Tryal Rocks in May 1622. They spent a week camped on the Montebello Islands before sailing on to Batavia. The New South Wales colonial government established a convict-supported military garrison at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, in 1826, which was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colonyin 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831.
Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890, and federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today its economy mainly relies on mining, agriculture and tourism. The state produces 46% of Australia’s exports. Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world.