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South America :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
(overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
Page last updated on June 23, 2015
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Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

  • 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 With hostilities ended and Argentine forces withdrawn, UK administration resumed.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.

  • Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km east of southern Argentina
    51 45 S, 59 00 W
    South America
    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
    slightly smaller than Connecticut
    0 km
    1,288 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    cold marine; strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; average annual rainfall is 24 inches in Stanley; occasional snow all year, except in January and February, but typically does not accumulate
    rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m
    fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
    agricultural land: 92.4%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 92.4%
    forest: 0%
    other: 7.6% (2011 est.)
    strong winds persist throughout the year
    overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chornobyl disaster
    deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season

  • noun: Falkland Islander(s)
    adjective: Falkland Island
    Falkland Islander 57%, British 24.6%, St. Helenian 9.8%, Chilean 5.3%, other 3.4% (2012 est.)
    English 89%, Spanish 7.7%, other 3.3% (2006 est.)
    Christian 66%, none 32%, other 2% (2012 est.)
    3,361 (July 2014 est.)
    0.011% (2014 est.)
    urban population: 75.8% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 0.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    STANLEY (capital) 2,000 (2014)
    total population: 1.11 male(s)/female
    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 1.01 (2012 est.)
    total: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
    total population: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
    overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
    name: Stanley
    geographic coordinates: 51 42 S, 57 51 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: none scheduled for 2014
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
    previous 1985; latest entered into force 1 January 2009 (2011)
    English common law and local statutes
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
    head of government: Governor Nigel HAYWOOD (since 16 October 2010) is the Queen's representative; Chief Executive Keith PADGETT (since 1 February 2012)
    cabinet: Executive Council; three members elected by the Legislative Council, two ex officio members (chief executive and the financial secretary), and the governor; the governor must obey the rulings of the Executive Council on domestic affairs
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; chief executive appointed by the governor
    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 7 November 2013 (next to be held in November 2017)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 8
    highest resident court(s): 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
    none; all independents
    Falkland Islands Association (supports freedom of the people from external causes)
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
    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
    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)

  • 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 fish 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. In 2001, the government purchased 100 reindeer with the intent to increase the number to 10,000 over the following 20 years so that venison could be exported to Scandinavia and Chile. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 69,000 visitors in 2009. 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 September 2011, a British exploration firm announced that it plans to commence oil production in 2016.
    $164.5 million (2007 est.)
    $105.1 million (2002 est.)
    $164.5 million (2007 est.)
    $55,400 (2002 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    agriculture: 95%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA% (1996)
    fodder and vegetable crops; venison, sheep, dairy products; fish, squid
    fish and wool processing; tourism
    1,944 (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
    industry and services: 5% (1996)
    4.1% (2010)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $67.1 million
    expenditures: $75.3 million (FY09/10)
    40.8% of GDP (FY09/10)
    -5% of GDP (FY09/10)
    1 April - 31 March
    1.2% (2003)
    $125 million (2004 est.)
    wool, hides, meat, venison, fish, squid
    $90 million (2004 est.)
    fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
    Falkland pounds (FKP) per US dollar -
    0.6 (2014)
    0.64 (2013)
    0.62 (2011)
    0.65 (2010)

  • 12 million kWh (2011 est.)
    11.16 million kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    10,000 kW (2011 est.)
    90% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    10% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    320 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    312.5 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    45,570 Mt (2012 est.)

  • 1,980 (2012)
    3,450 (2012)
    domestic: government-operated radiotelephone and private VHF/CB radiotelephone networks provide effective service to almost all points on both islands
    international: country code - 500; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) with links through London to other countries (2011)
    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)
    AM 1, FM 7, shortwave 0 (British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides Radio 1 and Radio 2 service) (2006)
    2 (British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides multi-channel satellite service to members of UK Forces as well as islanders); cable television is available in Stanley (2006)
    110 (2012)
    2,900 (2009)

  • 7 (2013)
    total: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 5
    under 914 m:
    5 (2013)
    total: 440 km
    paved: 50 km
    unpaved: 390 km (2008)
    major seaport(s): Stanley

  • no regular military forces
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: FALKLAND ISLANDS (ISLAS MALVINAS)

  • 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 force; UK continues to reject Argentine requests for sovereignty talks