Queensland (locally KWEENZ-land) is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the second-largest and third-most populous of the Australian states. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, southwest and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean; to its north is the Torres Strait, separating the Australian mainland from Papua New Guinea. With an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi), Queensland is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity; it is larger than all but 15 countries. Due to its size, Queensland's geographical features and climates are diverse, including tropical rainforests, rivers, coral reefs, mountain ranges and sandy beaches in its tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions, as well as deserts and savanna in the semi-arid and desert climatic regions of its interior.
Queensland has a population of over 5.3 million, concentrated along the coast and particularly in South East Queensland. The capital and largest city in the state is Brisbane, Australia's third-largest city. Ten of Australia's thirty largest cities are located in Queensland, with the largest outside Brisbane being the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Ipswich, and Toowoomba. The state's population is multicultural, with 28.9% of inhabitants being immigrants.Queensland was first inhabited by Aboriginal Australians, with the Torres Strait Islands inhabited by Torres Strait Islanders. Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, the first European to land in Australia, explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula in 1606. In 1770, James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1788, Arthur Phillip founded the colony of New South Wales, which included all of what is now Queensland. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades, and the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement was established at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley.
Much of the economy of colonial Queensland was powered by blackbirded South Sea Islander slaves at the same time that tens of thousands of Aboriginal people were being killed in the frontier wars of colonial expansion.
On 6 June 1859 (now commemorate as Queensland Day), Queen Victoria signed the letters patent to establish the colony of Queensland, separating it from New South Wales and thereby establishing Queensland as a self-governing Crown colony with responsible government. Queensland was among the six colonies which became the founding states of Australia with Federation on 1 January 1901. Since the Bjelke-Petersen era of the late 20th century, Queensland has received a high level of internal migration from the other states and territories of Australia and remains a popular destination for interstate migration.
Queensland has the third-largest economy among Australian states, with strengths in mining, agriculture, transportation, international education, insurance, and banking. Nicknamed the Sunshine State for its tropical and sub-tropical climates, Great Barrier Reef, and numerous beaches, tourism is also important to the state's economy.