Tasmania is an island state 240 km. to the south of the mainland separated by Bass Strait. The state is named after the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who made the first European sighting in 1642. Early settlers were mostly convicts and their military guards. Several convict settlements were made including the harsh penal colonies at Port Arthur in the south-east and Macquarie Harbour on the west coast. Aboriginal resistance caused troops to be deployed to drive them onto nearby islands.