7 junio, 2024

Australian theory: what it is, fundamentals, routes and proofs

What is the Australian theory?

The australian theory It was the name given to the theory of the settlement of the American continent supported by the Portuguese anthropologist António Méndes Correia (1888-1961). According to what he exposed, America was populated by a migratory current from Australia, which entered the continent through its southernmost part (Tierra del Fuego).

However, the Australian theory was not supported by findings of archaeological remains. However, it presented a possible settlement route. The outline of this route was based on physical similarities and linguistic and cultural similarities found between American and Australian settlers.

On the other hand, the researcher proposed that this migratory current could have materialized taking advantage of favorable climatic conditions, known as optimus climaticum (optimum climate).

Indeed, in the historical climatological records these conditions are observed during the period from 700 BC to 1200 BC.

António Mendes Correa argued that the route followed by the indigenous migrants could have skirted the Antarctic continent. To specify the route, they would have crossed the Drake Passage (separation point between South America and the Antarctic block) on small rafts.

According to the Australian theory, some islands located in the Drake Passage could have been used as temporary stopovers and transit bridges. Once settled in South American lands, they would have created, among others, the ethnic groups of Onas, Alacalufes and Tehuelches in Patagonia.

Foundations of Australian theory


Antonio Méndes raised in his migratory theory that the group of islands located to the south of Australia were used as a natural bridge to complete the first phase of the trip, in which the Australian aborigines would have covered the distance between Australia and Antarctica.

Later, after having arrived at the Antarctic block, the group entered the southern part of the American continent through Cape Horn. Finally, in the last part of their journey, they moved towards Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.


Another of the supporting grounds used by Mendes to develop his Australian theory were the racial similarities between the Australoids and the South American aborigines. The Lusitanian anthropologist located these similarities between the American tribes of Fuegians, Patagonians, Tehuelches and Alacalufes, among others.

Among these similarities, the blood groups, the dolichocephalic (elongated) cranial shape and the abundant body and facial hair stood out. Matches were also found in curly or wavy black hair and its resistance to cold (adaptability to extreme climates).


In the course of his research associated with the development of his theory, Méndes Correia found groups of similar words to denote the same objects.

Specifically, it found more than 93 similar words between Australian dialects and the Aboriginal languages ​​of South America.


This foundation emerges from the discovery of common objects between the ethnic groups of Australia and America. The use of boomerangs and stone axes as offensive weapons was another of the usual features used to justify the theory.

Likewise, there were overlapping religious rites and common musical instruments that were used for the same purpose.

Route, according to the Australian theory

In the course of the investigations that led to his theory, Mendes discovered that the Australian migration could not have been done directly.

The geographical positions of Australia and Patagonia precluded this possibility. As he deepened his inquiries, he realized that the route used must necessarily be south.

Specifically, they had to follow the path across a bridge formed by the islands of Tasmania, Auckland, and Campbell.

In this way they would circumvent the distance between Australia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Subsequently, they would cross the sea of ​​Hoces in the Drake passage to reach Tierra del Fuego (Chilean southwest) and Patagonia (Argentine southeast).


As mentioned above, there were no archaeological finds to support the Australian theory. All the investigations carried out by Méndes were based on similarities that he observed between indigenous South Americans and indigenous Australians.

From that point on, he set about searching for the most feasible route the Australians could have used.

Having found that route, he claimed that the origin of the American aborigine was in one place: Australia. However, subsequent anthropological studies determined that there were other American groups to the north of America with characteristics different from both South Americans and Australians.

From that moment on, the researchers handled the hypothesis of multiethnicity in the origin of the American human. According to this, the migrations that populated America could have occurred from Australia, but also from Polynesia and Siberia.

This served to explain the different archaeological novelties that were found later. It was also the basis of the migration or alloctonist theory. The latter is one of the two most accepted theories to explain the origin of the American human.

new findings

Over the past decade, all sorts of unexpected archaeological discoveries have been made. These have led many experts to question much of what was assumed to be fact.

In this sense, hundreds of skeletal remains have recently been found on the American continent that appear to be Australian aborigines. These are indicative that the earliest immigration most likely occurred from Australia.

In 2011, Jacqui Hayes made a compelling morphological case supporting an original Australian presence in America. According to Hayes, the original settlement of the Americas began at an indeterminate time before the second migration of people who had distinctive Mongoloid features.

In addition, Hayes says that surprising new findings suggest that the first people from Australia arrived in South America more than 11,000 years ago. This somehow confirms the Australian theory of António Méndes.


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Rodríguez Nigro, JC (s/f). The first settlers of America. Taken from smu.org.uy.
Pedagogical Folder. (s/f). Australian theory (Mendes Correa). Taken from historiadelperu.carpetapedagogica.com.
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Strong, S. & Strong, E. (2017). Out of Australia: Aboriginals, the Dreamtime, and the Dawn of the Human Race. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads Publishing.

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