Five copper coins thought to have originated in the East African Kilwa Sultanate (modern Tanzania), which date back to the early 900s, were discovered on the Wessel Islands off the north coast of Australia in 1944.
The coins are causing excitement among historians because they suggest that other seafaring peoples had discovered Australia 600 years before Captain James Cook. Although aboriginal Australians are thought to have arrived in Australia by boat from the Malay Archipelago between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago, the mainstream text of history claims that the Dutch navigators and later the English sailor Captain Cook “discovered” Australia. The first European
landing on Australia is credited to Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606 and landed on 26 February at the Pennefather River near Weipa on Cape York. A few years later, another Dutch navigator Dirk Hartog, reached the Island. William Dampier was the first English navigator to arrive in Australia, He landed on the north-west coast in 1688 and again in 1699. In 1770, James Cook explored the east coast which he named South Wales and claimed it for the English crown. Spaniard adventurer Luiz Vaez de Torres, discovered the strait between Papua New Guinea and Australia which was named Torres Strait in his honor. The British Government sent a fleet of ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay in January 1788.