New Zealand is known to the Maoris as Aotearoa. Dutch and English navigators charted these islands, and by the 19th century, traders and whaling crews were landing there. The islands came under British rule in 1840.


Britain granted the colonists self-rule in 1852. The country prospered from sheep farming and from the discovery of gold in 1862. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to give women the vote. In 1907, it became a Dominion, a fully independent nation within the British Empire.


The Maoris had possessed firearms since the arrival of the first foreigners. After 1840, the settlers seized more and more land, so between 1845 and 1847, the Maoris rose up in revolt. A second war took place from 1860 to 1872. This won the Maoris representation in the New Zealand Parliament.


In 1840, the British signed a treaty with a gathering of Maori chiefs on North Island. It guaranteed Maori rights to the land, but these were ignored by the settlers.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley


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