Tasmania was inhabited by an indigenous population, the Tasmanian Aborigines, and evidence indicates their presence in the territory, later to become an island, at least 35,000 years ago. At the time of the British occupation and colonisation in 1803 the indigenous population was estimated at between 3000 and 10,000. Historian Lyndall Ryan's analysis of population studies led her to conclude that there were about 7000 spread throughout the island's nine nations; Nicholas Clements, citing research by N.J.B. Plomley and Rhys Jones, settled on a figure of 3000 to 4000.The combination of the so-called Black War, internecine conflict and, from the late 1820s, the spread of infectious diseases to which they had no immunity,[3] reduced the population to about 300 by 1833. Almost all of the indigenous population was relocated to Flinders Island by George Augustus Robinson. Until the 1970s, most people thought that the last surviving Tasmanian Aborigine was Truganini, who died in 1876. However this "extinction" was a myth, as documented by Lyndall Ryan in 1991.

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