An island south of australia and the smallest state of the Commonwealth. Its capital is Hobart. It was discovered and named Van Diemen's Island in 1642 by Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator, in honor of the Dutch governor-general of the Dutch East Indian colonies. It was renamed for the discoverer in 1853. In 1803 it was taken over by great britain and was used as a penal colony. It was granted government in 1856 and federated as a state in 1901. (From Webster's New Geographical dictionary, 1988, p1190 & Room, Brewer's dictionary of names, p535)


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