The first inhabitants of the Torres Strait are believed to have migrated from the Indonesian archipelago 70,000 years ago at a time when New Guinea was still attached to the Australian continent. They were followed by new waves of migration.
The original inhabitants lived in small communities relying on fishing, hunting and the growing of crops for their subsistence. Trade in artifacts made of pearl shell, turtle shell, feathers, canoes and tools was very important in the life of Torres Strait Islanders.
The Torres Strait Islands are part of the Australian state of Queensland. Situated between mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands are the only part of Australia sharing a border with another country.
The Torres Strait itself was formerly a land bridge which connected the present-day Australian continent with New Guinea (in a single landmass called Sahul or Australia-New Guinea). This land bridge was most recently submerged by rising sea levels at the termination of the last ice age glaciation (approximately 12,000 years ago), forming the Strait which now connects the Arafura and Coral seas
Number of Islands: more than 100
Main Island: Thursday Island
Population: 6,700 (15,000 Islanders live in Queensland)
Languages: Mabuiag, Meriam, English, Torres Kreole