Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels.
— Nikos Kazantzakis, 1883 - 1957
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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Background

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

The islands, which have large bird and seal populations, lie approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands and have been under British administration since 1908 - except for a brief period in 1982 when Argentina occupied them. Grytviken, on South Georgia, was a 19th and early 20th century whaling station. Famed explorer Ernest SHACKLETON stopped there in 1914 en route to his ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. He returned some 20 months later with a few companions in a small boat and arranged a successful rescue for the rest of his crew, stranded off the Antarctic Peninsula. He died in 1922 on a subsequent expedition and is buried in Grytviken. Today, the station houses scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. Recognizing the importance of preserving the marine stocks in adjacent waters, the UK, in 1993, extended the exclusive fishing zone from 12 nm to 200 nm around each island.

About

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are two groups of sub-Antarctic islands of the Southern Ocean east of the southern tip of South America, north of Antarctica. The islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom that are administered from the Falkland Islands, but are also claimed by Argentina.

Read more about South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in our South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands travel guide »

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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Capital
Grytviken
Location

Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the tip of South America

Geographic coordinates

54 30 S, 37 00 W

Area comparative

slightly larger than Rhode Island

Coastline

NA

Climate

variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

Terrain

most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Mount Paget (South Georgia) 2,934 m

Natural resources

fish

Population

no indigenous inhabitants

Internet country code

.gs

Ports and terminals

Grytviken

Other countries in the region