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South America :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Print
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FALKLAND ISLANDS (ISLAS MALVINAS)
  • Introduction :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Background field listing
    Although first sighted by an English navigator in 1592, the first landing (English) did not occur until almost a century later in 1690, and the first settlement (French) was not established until 1764. The colony was turned over to Spain two years later and the islands have since been the subject of a territorial dispute, first between Britain and Spain, then between Britain and Argentina. The UK asserted its claim to the islands by establishing a naval garrison there in 1833. Argentina invaded the islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded with an expeditionary force that landed seven weeks later and after fierce fighting forced an Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982. With hostilities ended and Argentine forces withdrawn, UK administration resumed. In response to renewed calls from Argentina for Britain to relinquish control of the islands, a referendum was held in March 2013, which resulted in 99.8% of the population voting to remain a part of the UK.
  • Geography :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Location field listing
    Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km east of southern Argentina
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    51 45 S, 59 00 W
    Map references field listing
    South America
    Area field listing
    total: 12,173 sq km
    land: 12,173 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    note: includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 small islands

    country comparison to the world: 164
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than Connecticut
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    1,288 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    cold marine; strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; average annual rainfall is 60 cm in Stanley; occasional snow all year, except in January and February, but typically does not accumulate
    Terrain field listing
    rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
    Elevation field listing
    0 m lowest point: Atlantic Ocean
    705 highest point: Mount Usborne
    Natural resources field listing
    fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 92.4% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 92.4% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 7.6% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    NA
    Population distribution field listing
    a very small population, with most residents living in and around Stanley
    Natural hazards field listing
    strong winds persist throughout the year
    Environment - current issues field listing
    overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer - introduced to the islands in 2001 from South Georgia - are part of a farming effort to produce specialty meat and diversify the islands' economy; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chornobyl disaster; grazing threatens important habitats including tussac grass and its ecosystem with penguins and sea lions; soil erosion from fires
    Geography - note field listing
    deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
  • People and Society :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Population field listing
    3,198 (2016 est.)

    note: data include all persons usually resident in the islands at the time of the 2016 census

    country comparison to the world: 229
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Falkland Islander(s)
    adjective: Falkland Island
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Falkland Islander 48.3%, British 23.1%, St. Helenian 7.5%, Chilean 4.6%, mixed 6%, other 8.5%, unspecified 2% (2016 est.)
    Languages field listing
    English 89%, Spanish 7.7%, other 3.3% (2006 est.)
    Religions field listing
    Christian 57.1%, other 1.6%, none 35.4%, unspecified 6% (2016 est.)
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.01% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    Birth rate field listing
    10.9 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Death rate field listing
    4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    Net migration rate field listing
    NA
    Population distribution field listing
    a very small population, with most residents living in and around Stanley
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 77.7% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.76% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    2,000 STANLEY (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    1.12 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

    note: sex ratio is somewhat skewed by the high proportion of males at the Royal Air Force station, Mount Pleasant Airport (MPA); excluding MPA, the sex ratio of the total population would be 1.04

    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 77.9 (2017 est.)
    male: 75.6 (2017 est.)
    female: 79.6 (2017 est.)
    Total fertility rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
  • Government :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
    etymology: the archipelago takes its name from the Falkland Sound, the strait separating the two main islands; the channel itself was named after the Viscount of Falkland who sponsored an expedition to the islands in 1690; the Spanish name for the archipelago derives from the French "Iles Malouines," the name applied to the islands by French explorer Louis-Antoine de BOUGAINVILLE in 1764
    Dependency status field listing
    overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary democracy (Legislative Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
    Capital field listing
    name: Stanley
    geographic coordinates: 51 42 S, 57 51 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    Independence field listing
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    National holiday field listing
    Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
    Constitution field listing
    previous 1985; latest entered into force 1 January 2009 (The Falkland Islands Constitution Order 2008) (2018)
    Citizenship field listing
    see United Kingdom
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Nigel PHILLIPS (since 12 September 2017)
    head of government: Chief Executive Barry ROWLAND (since 3 October 2016)
    cabinet: Executive Council elected by the Legislative Council
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; chief executive appointed by the governor
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral Legislative Assembly, formerly the Legislative Council (10 seats; 8 members directly elected by majority vote and 2 appointed ex-officio members - the chief executive, appointed by the governor, and the financial secretary; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 9 November 2017 (next to be held in November 2021)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 8
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, the chief justice as an ex officio, non-resident member, and 2 justices of appeal); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: all justices appointed by the governor; tenure specified in each justice's instrument of appointment
    subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    none; all independents
    International organization participation field listing
    UPU
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    Flag description field listing
    blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Falkland Island coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms contains a white ram (sheep raising was once the major economic activity) above the sailing ship Desire (whose crew discovered the islands) with a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto DESIRE THE RIGHT
    National symbol(s) field listing
    ram
    National anthem field listing
    name: Song of the Falklands"
    lyrics/music: Christopher LANHAM

    note: adopted 1930s; the song is the local unofficial anthem; as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

  • Economy :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Economy - overview field listing

    The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but fishing and tourism currently comprise the bulk of economic activity. In 1987, the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falkland Islands' exclusive fishing zone. These license fees net more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. The waters around the Falkland Islands are known for their squid, which account for around 75% of the annual 200,000-ton catch.

    Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Foreign exchange earnings come from shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and from the sale of postage stamps and coins.

    Tourism, especially ecotourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 69,000 visitors in 2009 and adds approximately $5.5 million to the Falkland’s annual GDP. The British military presence also provides a sizable economic boost. The islands are now self-financing except for defense.

    In 1993, the British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day. Political tensions between the UK and Argentina remain high following the start of oil drilling activities in the waters. In May 2010 the first commercial oil discovery was made, signaling the potential for the development of a long term hydrocarbon industry in the Falkland Islands.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $206.4 million (2015 est.)
    $164.5 million (2014 est.)
    $167.5 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $206.4 million (2015 est.) (2015 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    25.5% (2015 est.)
    -1.8% (2014 est.)
    -20.4% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $70,800 (2015 est.)
    $63,000 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 41% (2015 est.)
    industry: 20.6% NA (2015 est.)
    services: 38.4% NA (2015 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    fodder and vegetable crops; venison, sheep, dairy products; fish, squid
    Industries field listing
    fish and wool processing; tourism
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    NA
    Labor force field listing
    1,850 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 227
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 41%
    industry: 24.5%
    services: 34.5% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Population below poverty line field listing
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Distribution of family income - Gini index field listing
    36 (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 67.1 million (FY09/10)
    expenditures: 75.3 million (FY09/10)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    32.5% (of GDP) (FY09/10)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -4% (of GDP) (FY09/10)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Public debt field listing
    0% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Fiscal year field listing
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    1.4% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Exports field listing
    $257.3 million (2015 est.)
    $125 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Exports - partners field listing
    Spain 74.4%, Namibia 10.4%, US 5% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    wool, hides, meat, venison, fish, squid
    Imports field listing
    $90 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    Imports - commodities field listing
    fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
    Imports - partners field listing
    UK 47.8%, Spain 28.4%, Greece 10.2%, Netherlands 5.7%, Cote dIvoire 4.3% (2017)
    Debt - external field listing
    $0 (2017 est.)
    $0 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing
    (31 December 2009 est.)
    Exchange rates field listing
    Falkland pounds (FKP) per US dollar -
    0.7836 (2017 est.)
    0.6542 (2016 est.)
    0.6542 (2015)
    0.6542 (2014 est.)
    0.6391 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Electricity - production field listing
    19 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    17.67 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    12,100 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    74% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    26% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    290 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    286 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    44,070 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
  • Communications :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 2,255 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 77 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 4,674 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 146 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: government-operated radiotelephone and private VHF/CB radiotelephone networks provide effective service to almost all points on both islands
    domestic: fixed-line subscriptions 77 per 100, 146 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2015)
    international: country code - 500; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) with links through London to other countries (2015)
    Broadcast media field listing
    TV service provided by a multi-channel service provider; radio services provided by the public broadcaster, Falkland Islands Radio Service, broadcasting on both AM and FM frequencies, and by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) (2007)
    Internet country code field listing
    .fk
    Internet users field listing
    total: 3,000 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 98.3% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 1,610 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
  • Transportation :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    VP-F (2016)
    Airports field listing
    7 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 2 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 440 km (2008)
    paved: 50 km (2008)
    unpaved: 390 km (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 3 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 1, other 2 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Stanley
  • Military and Security :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces
    Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  • Disputes - international field listing
    Argentina, which claims the islands in its constitution and briefly occupied them by force in 1982, agreed in 1995 to no longer seek settlement by forceUK continues to reject Argentine requests for sovereignty talks