The British settled NSW in 1788. The main reason for this was jails becoming overcrowded in England and Australia being a place to send criminals. There were also other smaller factors which included using Australia as a naval base. One other benefit was that Australia was a great spot for trading with nearby countries.
The reason why the British had so many convicts was because of the state of London. People were coming from all around the country to look for jobs in London and when they failed to get a job they resorted to theft. The upper class called on the government to put a stop to all the theft because all of the upper class were being stolen from. The government began to crack down hard on these crimes, however this created a problem. Even the smallest crimes resulted in huge jail sentences and all of the jails became very overcrowded.
The government had a short term resolution to the problem, which was to put criminals in old un-seaworthy ships called hulks. But the hulks soon became overcrowded as well and the government had a huge problem on their hands. The government decided they had to send the criminals away to another country as convicts.
North America became independent in 1776 and this meant the British couldn't send convicts there. South America was already completely settled by the Spanish and Portuguese. The British government sent some convicts to parts of Africa and islands in the area but the convicts were killed by natives and in some places the conditions were too arid. Australia was the last hope for the government. It had few things that made it ideal, but no convicts would escape because they would have nowhere to go, reports by Banks from the Endeavour suggested that...