South America :: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
(overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Location of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
 
Map of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Introduction ::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.
Geography ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
51 45 S, 59 00 W
total: 12,173 sq km
country comparison to the world: 164
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 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
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)
NA
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
People ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
3,140 (July 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 229
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
0.011% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
NA
NA
NA
urban population: 92% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island
British
Christian 67.2%, none 31.5%, other 1.3% (2006 census)
English
NA
Government ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
NA
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: +1hr, begins first Sunday in September; ends third Sunday in April
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)
3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998
English common law
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor Alan HUCKLE (since 25 August 2006); Chief Executive Dr. Tim THOROGOOD (since 3 January 2008)
cabinet: Executive Council; three members elected by the Legislative Council, two ex officio members (chief executive and the financial secretary), and the governor
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch
unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats; 2 members are ex officio and 8 are elected by popular vote; to serve four-year terms); presided over by the governor
elections: last held 17 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 8
Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident); Magistrates 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)
UPU
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
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
Economy ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing contributes 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 total more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squid accounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Exports feature shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date, no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentina and the UK in 1995 seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.
$105.1 million (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
$105.1 million (2002 est.)
NA%
$35,400 (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
agriculture: 95%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (1996)
1,724 (est.) (1996)
country comparison to the world: 219
agriculture: 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
industry and services: 5% (1996)
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $66.2 million
expenditures: $67.9 million (FY98/99 est.)
3.6% (1998)
country comparison to the world: 51
fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products; fish, squid
fish and wool processing; tourism
NA%
16 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
14.88 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
270.9 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 57
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$125 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
wool, hides, meat, fish, squid
$90 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
$NA
Falkland pounds (FKP) per US dollar - 0.5302 (2008), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004)
note: the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound
Communications ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
2,300 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 222
3,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 213
general assessment: NA
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
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)
.fk
90 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 200
2,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 207
Transportation ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
6 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 169
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2009)
total: 440 km
country comparison to the world: 195
paved: 50 km
unpaved: 390 km (2008)
Stanley
Military ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
no regular military forces
NA
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