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Falkland Islands

Background

Falkland Islands

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.

About

The Falkland Islands consist of two main islands and several hundred smaller islands in the south Atlantic Ocean, off the east coast of southern South America. They are a United Kingdom Overseas Territory, but nearby Argentina claims jurisdiction under the name Islas Malvinas. Most visitors to the islands come between October and March to enjoy the spectacular wildlife and quaint rural lifestyle.

Read more about Falkland Islands in our Falkland Islands travel guide »

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Falkland Islands

Full name
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Capital
Stanley
Location

Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina

Geographic coordinates

51 45 S, 59 00 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Connecticut

Coastline

1,288 km

Climate

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

Terrain

rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Mount Usborne 705 m

Natural resources

fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss

Population

3,140 (July 2008 est.)

Ethnic groups

British

Religions

Christian 67.2%, none 31.5%, other 1.3% (2006 census)

Languages

English

Government type

NA

Independence

none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)

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 Dr. Tim THOROGOOD (since 3 January 2008)

Internet country code

.fk

Internet users

2,900 (2009)

Airports

7 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Stanley

Other countries in the region