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...is the original name for Tasmania, an island off the south coast of Australia. It was discovered in 1642 by Abel Tasman who named it for the then governor of Batavia.

In the 19th century the island was settled by the British and became part of the colony of Australia. The main settlement was Hobart. The island was used as a destination for the transportation of convicts.

The name changed to Tasmania in the 1850s and in 1901, when the Commonwealth of Australia was formed, Tasmania became a separate state.

When I was 10 I won a geography competition because I needed a different country starting with V and Van Diemen's Land was that country! This was a consequence of my secret past as a philatelist :)

Also, the name of a U2 song from the album Rattle and Hum, about the convict experience:

Hold me now, hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's land

It's a bitter pill I swallow here
To be rent from one so dear
We fought for justice not for gain
But the magistrate sent me away

Now kings will rule and the poor will toil
And tear their hands as they tear the soil
But a day will come in the dawning age
When an honest man sees an honest wage

Hold me now, hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's land

Still the gunman rules and the widows pay
A scarlet coat and a black beret
They thought that blood and sacrifice
Could out of death bring forth a life

Hold me now, hold me now
Till this hour has gone around
And I'm gone on the rising tide
For to face Van Diemen's land

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