Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The island is believed to have been occupied by indigenous peoples for 30,000 years before British colonisation. The island was permanently settled by Europeans in 1803 as a penal settlement of the British Empire to prevent claims to the land by the First French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. The state is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who made the first reported European sighting of the island on 24 November 1642. Tasmania has a relatively cool temperate climate compared to the rest of Australia with four distinct seasons.