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Falkland Islands
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Desire the right"
Anthem"God Save the Queen"
Capital
(and largest city)
Stanley
51°42′S 57°51′W / 51.7°S 57.85°W / -51.7; -57.85
Official language(s) English
Ethnic groups  61.3% Falkland Islander
29.0% British
2.6% Spaniard
0.6% Japanese
6.5% Chilean & Other[1]
Demonym Falkland Islander
Government British Overseas Territory
 -  Head of state Queen Elizabeth II
 -  Governor Alan Huckle
 -  Chief Executive Tim Thorogood[2]
British overseas territory
 -  Liberation Day 14 June 1982 
Area
 -  Total 12,173 km2 (162nd)
4,700 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0
Population
 -  July 2008 estimate 3,140[3] (217th)
 -  Density 0.26/km2 (240th)
0.65/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
 -  Total $75 million (223rd)
 -  Per capita $25,000 (2002 estimate) (not ranked)
HDI (n/a) n/a (n/a) (n/a)
Currency Falkland Islands pound1 (FKP)
Time zone (UTC-4)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC-3)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .fk
Calling code 500
1 Fixed to the Pound sterling (GBP).

The Falkland Islands (pronounced /ˈfɔːlklənd/; Spanish: Islas Malvinas)[4] are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about 300 miles (260 nmi; 480 km) from the coast of mainland South America, 700 miles (610 nmi; 1,100 km)[5] from mainland Antarctica, and 3,800 miles (3,300 nmi; 6,100 km)[6] from Africa. The two main islands are East Falkland and West Falkland, and there are 776 smaller islands.[7] The islands are a self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. Stanley, on East Falkland, is the capital.

Ever since the re-establishment of British rule in 1833 Argentina has claimed sovereignty.[8] In pursuit of this claim, which is rejected by the islanders,[9] Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982. This precipitated the two-month-long undeclared Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom and resulted in the defeat and withdrawal of the Argentine forces.

Since the war, there has been strong economic growth in both fisheries and tourism, as well as increased speculation on the amount of oil in the area.[10]

Contents

Name

The Falkland Islands took their English name from "Falkland Sound", the channel between the two main islands. This name was chosen by the English mariner John Strong in 1690 in tribute to his patron, Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland but was later extended to the island group.[11] The Spanish name, Islas Malvinas, is derived from the French name,[12] Îles Malouines, named by Louis Antoine de Bougainville in 1764 after the first known settlers, mariners and fishermen from the Breton port of Saint-Malo in France.[12] The ISO designation is Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and its ISO country code is fk.[13]

As a result of the continuing sovereignty dispute, the use of many Spanish names is considered offensive in the Falkland Islands, particularly those associated with the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands.[14] General Sir Jeremy Moore would not allow the use of Islas Malvinas in the surrender document, dismissing it as a propaganda term.[15]

History

The islands were uninhabited when they were first discovered by European explorers, but there is evidence that Patagonian Indians may have reached the Falklands in canoes.[16] Artifacts including arrowheads and the remains of a canoe have been found on the islands.[17] There is also the presence of the Falkland Island fox, or Warrah (now extinct), but these may have reached the islands via a land bridge when the sea level was much lower during the last ice age. A group of islands in Falkland Island region appeared on maps from the early 16th century, suggesting either Ferdinand Magellan or another expedition of the 1500s may have sighted them. Amerigo Vespucci may have sighted the islands in 1502, but he did not name them. In 1519 or 1520, Esteban Gómez, a captain in Magellan’s expedition, encountered several islands. Members of his crew called them "Islas de Sansón y de los Patos" ("Islands of Samson and the Ducks"). These islands were probably the Jason Islands, northwest of West Falkland, but the names "Islas de Sansón" (or "San Antón," "San Son," and "Ascensión") were used for the Falklands on Spanish maps during this period. Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral of the time who drew remarkably accurate maps, also showed islands that may well have been the Falkland Islands.[16]

The extinct warrah was the only native mammal found on the islands upon discovery by Europeans

There is some dispute as to the first European explorer to sight the islands. The islands appear on numerous Spanish and other maps beginning in the 1520s.[17] The English explorer John Davis, commander of the Desire, one of the ships belonging to Thomas Cavendish's second expedition to the New World, is recorded as having visited the islands in 1592.[18] He was separated from Cavendish off the coast of what is now southern Argentina by a severe storm and discovered the islands. For a time the islands were known as "Davis Land".[16] In 1594, the English commander Richard Hawkins visited the islands. Combining his own name with that of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen", he gave them the name of "Hawkins' Maidenland." Many give the credit to Sebald de Weert, a Dutchman, who discovered the islands in 1600.[17]

In January 1690, English John Strong, captain of the Welfare, was heading for Puerto Deseado (now in Argentina). Driven off course by contrary winds, he reached the Sebald Islands instead and landed at Bold Cove. He sailed between the two principal islands and called the passage "Falkland Channel" (now Falkland Sound), after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland, who as Commissioner of the Admiralty had financed the expedition (Cary later became First Lord of the Admiralty). The island group later took its English name from this body of water.

The first settlement on the Falkland Islands was in 1764. It was named Port St. Louis and was founded by the French navigator and military commander Louis Antoine de Bougainville on Berkeley Sound, in present-day Port Louis, East Falkland.

In January 1765, the British captain John Byron, unaware of the French presence, explored and claimed Saunders Island, at the western end of the group, where he named the harbour of Port Egmont. He sailed near other islands, which he also claimed for King George III. A British settlement was built at Port Egmont in 1766. Also in 1766, Spain acquired the French colony, and after assuming effective control in 1767, placed the islands under a governor subordinate to the Buenos Aires colonial administration. Spain attacked Port Egmont, ending the British presence there in 1770. The expulsion of the British settlement brought the two countries to the brink of war, but a peace treaty allowed the British to return to Port Egmont in 1771 with neither side relinquishing sovereignty.[19]

As a result of economic pressures resulting from the forthcoming American Revolutionary War, the United Kingdom decided to withdraw unilaterally from many of her overseas settlements, including Port Egmont, in 1774.[20][21] Upon her withdrawal in 1776 the UK left behind a plaque asserting her claims. From 1776 until 1811 Spain maintained a settlement administered from Buenos Aires as part of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. On leaving in 1811, Spain also left behind a plaque asserting her claims.

On 6 November 1820, Colonel David Jewett raised the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate (Argentina) at Port Louis. Jewett was an American sailor and privateer in the employment of Buenos Aires businessman Patrick Lynch to captain his ship, the frigate Heroína (Lynch had obtained a corsair licence from the Buenos Aires Supreme Director José Rondeau). Jewett had put into the islands the previous month, following a disastrous eight month voyage with most of his crew disabled by scurvy and disease. After resting in the islands and repairing his ship he returned to Buenos Aires.

In 1828 the Argentines founded a settlement and a penal colony. United States warships destroyed this settlement in 1831 after the Argentine governor of the islands Luis Vernet seized US seal hunting ships during a dispute over fishing rights. Escaped prisoners and pirates were left behind. In November 1832, Argentina sent another governor who was killed in a mutiny.

In January 1833, British forces returned and informed the Argentine commander that they intended to reassert British sovereignty. The existing settlers were allowed to remain, with an Irish member of Vernet's settlement, William Dickson, appointed as the Islands' governor. Vernet's deputy, Matthew Brisbane, returned later that year and was informed that the British had no objections to the continuation of Vernet's business ventures provided there was no interference with British control.[22][23][24][25]

Road sign to the capital.

The Royal Navy built a base at Stanley, and the islands became a strategic point for navigation around Cape Horn. A World War I naval battle, the Battle of Falkland Islands, took place in December 1914, with a British victory over the smaller Imperial German Asiatic Fleet. During World War II, Stanley served as a Royal Navy station and serviced ships which took part in the 1939 Battle of the River Plate.

Sovereignty over the islands again became an issue in the latter half of the 20th century. Argentina, in the pursuit of its claim to the islands, saw the creation of the United Nations as an opportunity to present its case before the rest of the world. In 1945, upon signing the UN Charter, Argentina stated that it reserved its right to sovereignty of the islands, as well as its right to recover them. The United Kingdom responded in turn by stating that, as an essential precondition for the fulfilment of UN Resolution 1514 (XV) regarding the de-colonisation of all territories still under foreign occupation, the Falklanders first had to vote for the British withdrawal at a referendum to be held on the issue.

Talks between British and Argentine foreign missions took place in the 1960s, but failed to come to any meaningful conclusion. A major sticking point in all the negotiations was that the two thousand inhabitants of mainly British descent preferred that the islands remain British territory.

There were no air links to the islands until 1971, when the Argentine Air Force (FAA), which operates the state airline LADE, began amphibious flights between Comodoro Rivadavia and Stanley using Grumman HU-16 Albatross aircraft.[26] Following a FAA request, the UK and Argentina reached an agreement for the FAA to construct the first runway on the islands and flights began using Fokker F27 and continued with Fokker F28 aircraft twice a week until 1982. YPF, the Argentine national oil and gas company, now part of Repsol YPF, supplied the islands' energy needs.

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Falklands War

British paratroopers guard Argentine prisoners of war

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and other British territories in the South Atlantic (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). The military junta which had ruled Argentina since 1976 sought to maintain power by diverting public attention from the nation's poor economic performance and exploiting the long-standing feelings of the Argentines towards the islands.[27] Several British writers hold that the United Kingdom's reduction in military capacity in the South Atlantic also encouraged the invasion.[28][29][30]

The United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 502, calling on Argentina to withdraw forces from the Islands and for both parties to seek a diplomatic solution.[31] International reaction ranged from support for Argentina in Latin American countries (except Chile and Colombia), to opposition in the Commonwealth and Europe (apart from Spain), and eventually the United States.

The British sent an expeditionary force to retake the islands, leading to the Falklands War. After short but fierce naval and air battles, the British landed at San Carlos Water on 21 May, and a land campaign followed until the Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982.

The War led to the deaths of 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen.

After the war, the British increased their military presence on the islands, constructing RAF Mount Pleasant and increasing the military garrison. Although the United Kingdom and Argentina resumed diplomatic relations in 1992, no further negotiations on sovereignty have taken place.

Politics

A Falkland stamp commemorating the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom and his consort Queen Elizabeth.

Executive authority is vested in the Queen and is exercised by the Governor on her behalf. The Governor is also responsible for the administration of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, as these islands have no native inhabitants. Defence and Foreign Affairs are the responsibility of the United Kingdom. The current Governor is Alan Huckle, appointed July 2006.

Under the constitution, which came into force on 1 January 2009[32] (which replaced the 1985 constitution), there is an Executive Council and a Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands. The Executive Council, which advises the Governor, is also chaired by the Governor. It consists of the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and three Legislative Councillors, who are elected by the other Legislative Councillors.

The Legislative Council consists of the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and the eight Legislative Councillors, of whom five are elected from Stanley and three from Camp, for four-year terms. It is presided over by the Speaker, currently Keith Biles.

The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes Falkland Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Relations with Argentina

The dispute over control of the islands has continued since the war. Diplomatic relations between Argentina and the UK were resumed in 1992, and embassies were reopened in London and Buenos Aires. In 1994, Argentina added its claim to the islands to the Argentine constitution, stating that this claim must be pursued in a manner "respectful of the way of life of their inhabitants and according to the principles of international law"[33] (see: 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution).

Falkland Islanders were granted full British citizenship from 1 January 1983 under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983. As Argentina considers the Falklands to be Argentine territory, they also consider the Falkland Islanders to be Argentine citizens through the system of jus soli operated under Argentine nationality law,[34] though this is rejected by the islanders themselves.[35][36][37]

In 1998, in retaliation for the arrest in London of the former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean government banned flights between Punta Arenas and Port Stanley, thus isolating the islands from the rest of the world. Uruguay and Brazil refused to authorise direct flights between their territories and Port Stanley. This forced the Islands' government to enter negotiations with the Argentine government and led to Argentina authorising direct flights between its territory and Stanley, on condition that Argentine citizens be allowed on the islands.[38] One flight a month, operated by LAN Airlines, travels between RAF Mount Pleasant on East Falkland and Río Gallegos in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.

Since the war, successive Argentine governments have stated their intention to pursue their claim to the islands by peaceful means. On the 22nd anniversary of the war, Argentina's President Néstor Kirchner gave a speech insisting that the islands would become part of Argentina. Kirchner, campaigning for president in 2003, regarded the islands as a top priority. In June 2003 the issue was brought before a United Nations committee, and attempts have been made to open talks with the United Kingdom to resolve the issue of the islands.

In 2007 (exactly 25 years after the Argentine invasion), Argentina renewed its claim over the Falkland Islands, asking for the UK to resume talks on sovereignty.[39] In March 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated in a meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernández that there would be no talks over the future sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.[40] As far as the governments of the UK and of the Falkland Islands are concerned, there is no issue to resolve. The Falkland Islanders themselves are almost entirely British and maintain their allegiance to the United Kingdom.[41][42]

On 22 September 2007, The Guardian reported the UK government was preparing to stake new claims on the sea floor around the Falklands and other UK remote island possessions, in order to exploit natural resources that may be present.[43] In October 2007, a British spokeswoman confirmed that Britain intended to submit a claim[44] to the UN to extend seabed territory around the Falklands and South Georgia, in advance of the expiry of the deadline[45] for territorial claims following Britain's ratification of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.[46] If the claim is disputed, the UN will suspend the claim until the dispute is settled.[44] The claim is largely theoretical and does not affect the Antarctic Treaty or confer new rights upon Britain. Neither does it permit the exploitation of oil or gas reserves, since these are banned by a protocol to the treaty. It would enable Britain to police fishing within the zone to prevent over-exploitation of natural resources by commercial fishing in line with Britain's obligations under the treaty.[47] Professor Klaus Dodds of the University of London, commenting in The Guardian, has suggested that the move goes against the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty.[45] Argentina has indicated it will challenge any British claim to Antarctic territory and the area around the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.[48] Argentina made a similar claim in 2009,[49] and the United Kingdom quickly protested against these claims.[50]

In February 2010, the Argentine government announced that ships traversing Argentine territorial waters en route to the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands would require a permit, as part of a dispute over British oil exploration near the Falklands. The British and Falkland governments stated that Falklands-controlled waters were unaffected.[51] During the reunion of the Rio Group, Latin American and Caribbean leaders have backed Argentina's claim.[52]

Geography and ecology

Map of the Falkland Islands
The position of the Falklands relative to Argentine and Chilean Patagonia
San Carlos Water, one of many inlets on East Falkland. The islands are heavily indented by sounds and fjords

The Falkland Islands comprise two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland (in Spanish Isla Gran Malvina and Isla Soledad respectively), and about 776 small islands.[7] The islands are located 212 miles (184 nmi; 341 km)[53] from the Isla de los Estados in Argentina (and 287 miles (249 nmi; 462 km)[54] from the Argentine mainland); 304 miles (264 nmi; 489 km)[55] from Chile; 669 miles (581 nmi; 1,077 km)[56] west of the Shag Rocks (South Georgia) and 576 miles (501 nmi; 927 km)[57] north of the British Antarctic Territory (which overlaps with the Argentine and Chilean claims to Antarctica in that region).

The total land area is 4,700 square miles (12,173 km2), slightly smaller than Connecticut or Northern Ireland, with a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1288 km).[58]

The two main islands on either side of Falkland Sound make up most of the land. These are East Falkland, which contains the capital, Stanley, and most of the population; and West Falkland. Both islands have mountain ranges, the highest point being Mount Usborne, 2312 feet (705 m)[58] on East Falkland. There are also some boggy plains, most notably in Lafonia, on the southern half of East Falkland. Virtually the entire area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep.

Smaller islands surround the main two. They include Barren Island, Beaver Island, Bleaker Island, Carcass Island, George Island, Keppel Island, Lively Island, New Island, Pebble Island, Saunders Island, Sealion Island, Speedwell Island, Staats Island, Weddell Island, and West Point Island. The Jason Islands lie to the north west of the main archipelago, and Beauchene Island some distance to its south. Speedwell Island and George Island are split from East Falkland by Eagle Passage.

Numerous flora and fauna are found on the Falkland Islands. Notable fauna include colonies of the Magellanic Penguin.[59]

The islands claim a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) and an exclusive fishing zone of 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi), which has been a source of disagreement with Argentina.

Biogeographically, the Falkland Islands are classified as part of the Neotropical realm, together with South America. It is also classified as part of the Antarctic Floristic Kingdom.

Climate

Surrounded by cool South Atlantic waters, the Falkland Islands have a Maritime Subarctic climate (Koppen Cfc) which is very much influenced by the ocean by having a narrow annual temperature range. January average maximum temperature is about 55°F (13°C), while July maximum average temperature is about 39°F (4°C). The average annual rainfall is 22.58 in (573.6mm) but East Falkland is generally wetter than West Falkland.[60] Humidity and winds, however, are constantly high. Snow is rare, but can occur at almost any time of year. Gales are very frequent, particularly in winter.[61] The climate is similar to the Shetland islands in the United Kingdom, but with less rainfall and longer and slightly more severe winters.[61]

Climate data for Stanley, Falkland Islands
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Record high °F (°C) 75
(24)
73
(23)
70
(21)
63
(17)
57
(14)
52
(11)
50
(10)
52
(11)
59
(15)
64
(18)
72
(22)
72
(22)
Average high °F (°C) 55
(13)
55
(13)
54
(12)
48
(9)
45
(7)
41
(5)
39
(4)
41
(5)
45
(7)
48
(9)
52
(11)
54
(12)
Average low °F (°C) 43
(6)
41
(5)
39
(4)
37
(3)
34
(1)
30
(-1)
30
(-1)
30
(-1)
34
(1)
36
(2)
37
(3)
39
(4)
Record low °F (°C) 30
(-1)
30
(-1)
27
(-3)
21
(-6)
19
(-7)
12
(-11)
16
(-9)
12
(-11)
12
(-11)
21
(-6)
27
(-3)
28
(-2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.8
(71)
2.28
(58)
2.52
(64)
2.6
(66)
2.6
(66)
2.09
(53)
2.01
(51)
2.01
(51)
1.5
(38)
1.61
(41)
2.01
(51)
2.8
(71)
% Humidity 78 79 82 86 88 89 89 87 84 80 75 77
Source: BBC Weather[62]

Economy

Sheep farming was formerly the main source of income for the islands and still plays an important part with high quality wool exports going to the UK: according to the Falklands Islands Meat Company there are more than 500,000 sheep on the islands.[63] Since 1984, efforts to diversify the economy have made fishing the largest part of the economy and brought increasing income from tourism.[64]

The government sale of fishing licences to foreign countries has brought in more than £40 million a year in revenues, and local fishing boats are also in operation. More than 75% of the catch is squid, and most exports are to Spain. Tourism has grown rapidly, with more than 36,000 visitors in 2004.[65] The islands have become a regular port of call for the growing market of cruise ships. Attractions include the scenery and wildlife conservation with penguins, seabirds, seals and sealions, as well as visits to battlefields, golf, fishing and wreck diving.

An agreement with Argentina had set the terms for exploitation of offshore resources including large oil reserves; however, in 2007 Argentina unilaterally withdrew from the agreement.[66] In response, Falklands Oil and Gas Limited has signed an agreement with BHP Billiton to investigate the potential exploitation of oil reserves.[67] Climatic conditions of the southern seas mean that exploitation will be a difficult task, though economically viable, and the continuing sovereignty dispute with Argentina is hampering progress.[68]

The UK provides defence and British military expenditures make a significant contribution to the economy. Except for defence, the islands are self sufficient; exports account for more than $125 million a year.[69]

The largest company in the islands used to be the Falkland Islands Company (FIC), a publicly quoted company on the London Stock Exchange. The company was responsible for the majority of the economic activity on the islands, though its farms were sold in 1991 to the Falkland Islands Government. The company now operates several retail outlets in Stanley and is involved in port services and shipping operations.

The local currency is the Falkland Islands pound, which is in parity with the pound sterling. Sterling notes and coins circulate interchangeably with the local currency. The Falkland Islands also mint their own coins, and issue stamps, which are a source of revenue from overseas collectors.

In 2010, exploratory drilling for oil was begun by Desire Petroleum.[70] It is thought that there may be up to 60,000,000 barrels (9,500,000 m3) of oil under the sea bed surrounding the islands.[71]

Demographics

Christ Church Cathedral with whale bone arch, Stanley

The population is 3,140 (July 2008 est.), about 70 per cent of whom are of British descent, primarily as a result of Scottish and Welsh immigration to the islands.[72] The native-born inhabitants call themselves "Islanders"; the term "Kelpers", from the kelp which grows profusely around the islands, is no longer used in the Islands. People from the United Kingdom who have obtained Falkland Island status are known locally as 'belongers'.

A few Islanders are of French, Gibraltarian (such as the Pitaluga family), Portuguese and Scandinavian descent. Some are the descendants of whalers who reached the Islands during the last two centuries. There is also a small minority of South Americans, mainly Chilean origin, and in more recent times many people from Saint Helena have also come to work and live in the Islands.[73]

The main religion is Christianity. The main denominations are Church of England, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, and Lutheran. Smaller numbers are Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists and Greek Orthodox; with the latter being due to Greek fishermen passing through. There is also a Bahá'í congregation.[74] The Islands are the home of the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falkland Islands.

Since the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983 the islanders have been full British citizens. Under Argentine Law they are eligible for Argentine citizenship,[75] but due to the Falkland Islands' rejection of the Argentine claim to sovereignty this is dismissed by most Islanders.

Penguins at Gypsy Cove

Medical care

The Falkland Islands Government Health and Social Services Department provides medical care for the islands. The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) is Stanley's only hospital. It was partially military operated in the past but is now under complete civilian control.[76] There are no ophthalmologists or opticians on the islands, an optician from the United Kingdom visits about every six months and an ophthalmologist comes to do cataract surgery and eye examinations at irregular intervals - once every few years.[citation needed] There are two dentists on the islands.[citation needed]

Broadcasting and telecommunications

Broadcasting

Radio services are operated by the Falkland Islands Radio Service, formerly the Falkland Islands Broadcasting Service, and the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS). FM stereo broadcasting using the UK allocation is standard. Medium Wave broadcasting using 10 kHz steps (standard in ITU Region II).

The only terrestrial channel available is BFBS1. PAL television, using the UK UHF allocation is standard. In addition, there is a cable television service in Stanley operated by KTV Ltd.

Telephone

The Falkland Islands has a modern telecommunications network providing fixed line telephone, ADSL and dial-up internet services in Stanley. Telephone service is provided to outlying settlements using microwave radio. A GSM 900[77] mobile network was installed in 2005[78] which provided coverage of Stanley, Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas. It is operated under the Touch Mobile brand.

Cable and Wireless is the sole telecommunications provider in the Falkland Islands.[79]

Currency

One-pound coin of the Falkland Islands pound

A local currency, the Falkland pound, circulates on the islands. This comprises coins in the likeness of the United Kingdom sterling coinage but with local designs on the reverse. Paper money is issued by the Falkland Islands government. The local Falkland Pound unit is at a fixed one-to-one parity with the pound sterling. For more information about currency in the region see The Sterling Currency in the South Atlantic and the Antarctic.

Sport

There are more than 30 different sports clubs on the Falklands, including badminton, clay-pigeon shooting, cricket, football, golf, hockey, netball, rugby union, sailing, swimming, table tennis and volleyball.[80] The Falklands compete in the biennial Island Games.[81]

Transport

The Falkland Islands have two airports with paved runways. The main international airport is RAF Mount Pleasant, 26.89 miles (43.28 km) west of Stanley.[82] Weekly flights are available to and from Santiago, Chile, via Punta Arenas, operated by LAN Airlines. Once a month, this flight also stops in Río Gallegos, Argentina.[83]

The Royal Air Force operates flights from RAF Mount Pleasant to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England with a refuelling stop at RAF Ascension Island. RAF flights are on TriStars although charter aircraft are often used if the TriStars are required for operational flights. At present Omni Air International operates the RAF air link, using DC-10s. British International (BRINTEL) also operate two Sikorsky S61N helicopters, based at RAF Mount Pleasant, under contract to the United Kingdom Ministry Of Defence, primarily for moving military personnel, equipment and supplies around the islands.

The British Antarctic Survey operates a transcontinental air link between the Falkland Islands and the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and servicing also other British bases in the British Antarctic Territory using a de Havilland Canada Dash 7.

The smaller Port Stanley Airport, outside the city, is used for internal flights. The Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) operates Islander aircraft that can use the grass airstrips that most settlements have. Flight schedules are decided a day in advance according to passenger needs. The night before, the arrival and departure times are announced on the radio.

The road network has been improved in recent years. However, not many paved roads exist outside Stanley and RAF Mount Pleasant.

Landmines and ordnance

Depending on the source, between 18,000 and 25,000 land mines remain from the 1982 war. One source says that Argentina placed 18,000 landmines.[84] The British Government stated that all but one of their anti-personnel mine were accounted for.[85] The land mines are located in either 101 or 117 mine fields, that are dispersed over an area of 8 sq mi (20 km2) in the areas of Port Stanley, Port Howard, Fox Bay and Goose Green (these areas are now well marked).[86] Information is available from the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Operation Centre in Stanley.[86]

Care should still be taken as some beaches were mined, and there have been concerns the tides could have moved some mines. The same applies where mine fields are close to rivers. Care should be taken in case mines have been washed out of the marked area by flooding. There is also ordnance left over from the war. Between 1997 and 2002, 248 antipersonnel mines were destroyed in the Falklands, 16 were destroyed in 2003, one in 2005 and six antipersonnel mines were destroyed in 2006.[87]

In February 2005, the charity Landmine Action proposed a Kyoto-style credit scheme, which would see a commitment by the British government to clear an equivalent area of mined land to that currently existing in the Falklands in more seriously mine-affected countries by March 2009. This proposal was supported by Falkland Islanders, for whom landmines do not pose a serious threat in everyday life.[88] The British government has yet to declare its support or opposition to the idea.

In November 2008, Landmine Action opposed Britain's request for a ten year extension on the deadline for clearing the landmines. It accused the British Government of not demonstrating "any evidence of serious plans to complete, or even begin, this work" and stated "Allowing a well-resourced, technically capable State such as the United Kingdom to effectively ignore its responsibilities would set a dangerous and ethically unacceptable precedent." [89][90] However, in 2008, the UK Government argued that in stark contrast to minefields elsewhere, "There have never been any civilian injuries in almost 26 years" in the Falklands.[91]

On 30 November 2009 the Falkland Islands Government announced that mine clearance was due to begin at Surf Bay on 2 December 2009, and further clearances were to take place at Sapper Hill, Goose Green and Fox Bay. The British company BATEC International was chosen to carry out the project, [92] "The work began on 4 December 2009 and is expected to be completed in the middle of 2010." (Hansard 5 January 2010).[93]

Military

There is a British military garrison stationed on the Falkland Islands, but the islands also have their own Falkland Islands Defence Force. This company sized force is completely funded by the Falklands government. It uses vehicles such as: quad bikes, inflatable boats and Land Rovers to traverse the islands terrain. The Falkland Islands Defence Force uses the Steyr AUG as its main assault rifle.

A front page report in RAF News [94] that Prince William of Wales would serve a 3-month tour of duty in the Falkland Islands, following completion of his 18-month training with the RAF Search and Rescue Force drew a critical response from the Argentine government in January 2009.[95] However, the Ministry of Defence denied that any decision on the Prince's deployment had been raised.[96]

See also

References

  1. ^ Joshua Project. "Ethnic People Groups of Falkland Islands". Joshua Project. http://www.joshuaproject.net/countries.php?rog3=FK. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  2. ^ Falkland Islands Government (2007-08-30). "Falkland Islands Government appoints new Chief Executive". Press release. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/news-2007.php. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  3. ^ "Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fk.html. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  4. ^ "WordReference, English-Spanish Dictionary. ''Falklands: the Falklands, las (islas) Malvinas''". Wordreference.com. http://www.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp?tranword=Falklands&B10=Buscar&dict=enes. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  5. ^ Distance between Beauchêne Island 52°54′50″S 59°11′30″W / 52.91389°S 59.19167°W / -52.91389; -59.19167 and Prime Head 63°12′48″S 57°18′8″W / 63.21333°S 57.30222°W / -63.21333; -57.30222 is 715 miles (621 nmi; 1,151 km), measured using Google Earth
  6. ^ Distance between a rock off Cape Pembroke 51°40′33″S 57°41′17″W / 51.67583°S 57.68806°W / -51.67583; -57.68806 and the Cape of Good Hope 34°18′31″S 15°24′6″E / 34.30861°S 15.40167°E / -34.30861; 15.40167 is 3,844 mi (6,186 km), measured using Google Earth
  7. ^ a b "The Islands: Location". Falkland Islands Government web site. 2007. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/location.php. Retrieved 2007-04-08. 
  8. ^ "Islas Malvinas, Georgias del Sur y Sandwich del Sur". Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores [Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. http://www.cancilleria.gov.ar/portal/seree/malvinas/home.html. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  9. ^ "Country Profile: Falkland Islands, Sovereignty of the Islands". Countries & Regions. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 2007-07-27. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/country-profiles/south-america/falkland-islands?profile=history&pg=3. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  10. ^ "Q&A: The Falklands oil row". BBC News. Wednesday, 17 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8520038.stm. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Peter J. Pepper. "Port Desire and the Discovery of the Falklands". http://www.falklands.info/history/histarticle19.html. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  12. ^ a b "Falkland Islands Guide". Blog at Worldpress.com. http://falklandislandsguide.wordpress.com/. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  13. ^ "English country names and code elements". International Organization for Standardization. http://www.iso.org/iso/english_country_names_and_code_elements#f.. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  14. ^ "AGREEMENT OF 14th JULY 1999". Falklands.info. http://www.falklands.info/background/99agree.html. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  15. ^ "PSYOP of the Falkland Islands War". psywar.org. http://www.psywar.org/falklands.php. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  16. ^ a b c "History : Falkland Islands : Locations : Welcome to the Learning Zone : Visit & Learn". Royalnavy.mod.uk. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/visitandlearn/learning-zone/locations/falkland-islands/history/. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  17. ^ a b c "Falkland Islands". Britishislesgenweb.org. 2009-01-20. http://www.britishislesgenweb.org/index.php/falkland-islands. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  18. ^ Molle, Kris (2008-10-07). "John Davis — Polar Conservation Organisation". Polarconservation.org. http://www.polarconservation.org/education/explorers/john-davis. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  19. ^ A brief history of the Falkland Islands Part 2 - Fort St. Louis and Port Egmont.. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  20. ^ [1] A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS: Part 2 - Fort St. Louis and Port Egmont
  21. ^ [2] FALKLAND ISLANDS TIMELINE: A chronology of events in the history of the Falkland Islands
  22. ^ Destéfani, Laurio H. (1982). The Malvinas, the South Georgias and the South Sandwich Islands, the conflict with Britain. Buenos Aires. 
  23. ^ Extracts from the Diary of Charles Darwin
  24. ^ "Darwin's Beagle Diary (1831–1836)". The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online. p. 304. http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=EHBeagleDiary&viewtype=text&pageseq=304&keywords=falklands. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  25. ^ "Ocupación británica: Port Stanley (Puerto Argentino)" (in Spanish). http://www.cpel.uba.ar/filargenta/correo/malv0020.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  26. ^ Commemorative Stamps of first flights
  27. ^ Argentine GovernmentPDF (185 KB)
  28. ^ "Guide to the conflict". Fight for the Falklands — 20 years on (BBC News). http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2002/falklands/guide2.stm. Retrieved 2007-03-18. "The Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, and two junior ministers had resigned by the end of the week [following the Argentine invasion]. They took the blame for Britain's poor preparations and plans to decommission HMS Endurance, the Navy's only Antarctic patrol vessel. It was a move which may have lead the Junta to believe the UK had little interest in keeping the Falklands." 
  29. ^ "Secret Falklands fleet revealed". BBC News (bbc.co.uk). 2005-06-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4597581.stm. Retrieved 2007-03-18. "Lord Owen, who was foreign secretary in 1977, said that if Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government had taken similar action to that of five years earlier, the war would not have happened." 
  30. ^ Casciani, Dominic (2006-12-29). "1976 Falklands invasion warning". BBC News (bbc.co.uk). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6213121.stm. "The Franks Report into the eventual war noted that as tension mounted during 1977, the government covertly sent a small naval force to the islands — but did not repeat the move when relations worsened again in 1981–2. This has led some critics to blame prime minister Margaret Thatcher for the war, saying the decision to plan the withdrawal of the only naval vessel in the area sent the wrong signal to the military junta in Buenos Aires." 
  31. ^ "HistoryCentral. United Nations Resolution 502, ''Adopted by the Security Council at its 2350th meeting held on 3 April 1982.''". Historycentral.com. http://www.historycentral.com/HistoricalDocuments/UNReso502.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  32. ^ New Falklands constitution agreed, BBC News, 6 November 2008
  33. ^ ""Argentina Constitution, Georgetown University"". Pdba.georgetown.edu. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Argentina/argen94_e.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  34. ^ El derecho de autodeterminación de los Kelpers y el derecho territorial argentino en Malvinas, Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Nordeste
  35. ^ Falklands welcomes relations with Argentina, provided sovereignty is not in question
  36. ^ [3] Falkland Islanders unequivocally with to remain British
  37. ^ Towards rapprochement? Anglo-Argentine relations and the Falkands/Malvinas in the late 1990s - Klaus Dodds, International Affairs, Vol 74, No. 3, pp. 617–630, July 1998
  38. ^ [4] AGREEMENT OF 14th JULY 1999
  39. ^ "Argentina Reasserts Claim to Falkland Islands". VOA News (Voice of America). 3 January 2007. http://voanews.com/english/archive/2007-01/2007-01-03-voa29.cfm. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  40. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7969463.stm BBC News
  41. ^ Falkland Islands sovereignty talks out of the question, says Gordon Brown - The Guardian, 28 March 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  42. ^ "Falkland Islands Government Overview". Falklands.gov.fk. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/overview.php. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  43. ^ Bowcott, Owen (2007-09-22). "The new British empire? UK plans to annex south Atlantic". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/argentina/story/0,,2174616,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  44. ^ a b Kelland, Kate (2007-10-18). "Britain to claim a million square km of Antarctica". Reuters. http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKL1721422020071017. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  45. ^ a b Dodds, Prof Klaus (2007-10-19). "Icy imperialism or reinforcement of the Antarctic treaty?". The Guardian. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,,2194803,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  46. ^ "Table of Contents to the UN Law of the Sea Convention". Globelaw.com. 1982-12-10. http://www.globelaw.com/LawSea/lsconts.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  47. ^ Boyle, Prof Alan (2007-10-19). "Icy imperialism or reinforcement of the Antarctic treaty?". The Guardian. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,,2194803,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  48. ^ Boycott, Owen (2007-10-19). "Argentina ready to challenge Britain's Antarctic claims". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/19/climatechange.fossilfuels. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  49. ^ Piette, Candace (2009-04-22). "Americas | Argentina claims vast ocean area". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8011539.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  50. ^ 'Not so fast,' says Britain as Argentina makes fresh appeal to UN over Falkland Islands - Mail on Sunday, 23 April 2009
  51. ^ Argentina in Falkland sailing permit move - BBC, 16 February 2010
  52. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/23/argentina-uk-falkland-row-oil
  53. ^ Distance between Bird Island 51°10′11″S 60°56′22″W / 51.16972°S 60.93944°W / -51.16972; -60.93944 and Isla de los Estados 54°43′10″S 63°48′31″W / 54.71944°S 63.80861°W / -54.71944; -63.80861 measured using Google Earth
  54. ^ Distance between Jason Island 51°00′03″S 61°18′45″W / 51.00083°S 61.3125°W / -51.00083; -61.3125 and Punta Buque 48°06′35″S 65°54′51″W / 48.10972°S 65.91417°W / -48.10972; -65.91417 measured using Google Earth
  55. ^ Distance between Beaver Island 51°50′07″S 61°20′52″W / 51.83528°S 61.34778°W / -51.83528; -61.34778 and Punta Dungeness 52°23′51″S 68°26′02″W / 52.3975°S 68.43389°W / -52.3975; -68.43389 measured using Google Earth
  56. ^ Distance between a rock off Cape Pembroke 51°40′33″S 57°41′17″W / 51.67583°S 57.68806°W / -51.67583; -57.68806 and Shag Rocks 53°33′00″S 42°02′00″W / 53.55°S 42.0333333°W / -53.55; -42.0333333 measured using Google Earth
  57. ^ Distance between Beauchêne Island 52°54′50″S 59°11′30″W / 52.91389°S 59.19167°W / -52.91389; -59.19167 and Seal Island 60°59′10.5″S 55°23′00.7″W / 60.98625°S 55.383528°W / -60.98625; -55.383528 measured using Google Earth
  58. ^ a b CIA - The World Factbook - Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
  59. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Magellanic Penguin, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
  60. ^ http://www.visitorfalklands.com/assets/documents/falklands-factsheet.pdf
  61. ^ a b "Weather Centre - World Weather - Country Guides - Falkland Islands". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/country_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT004760. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  62. ^ "BBC Weather: Stanley, Falkland Islands". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT004760. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  63. ^ "Falkland Islands Meat Company". Falklands-meat.com. http://www.falklands-meat.com/. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  64. ^ LA, Paris, Port Stanley?, Frank Kane, The Observer, 4 April 2004
  65. ^ Four Seasons and more than 3,000 Tourists in One Day, Sharon Jaffray, Penguin News, 22 April 2005
  66. ^ Arie, Sophie (2007-04-03). "Argentina snubs UK over oil deal as anniversary nears". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/29/warg29.xml. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  67. ^ Mortished, Carl (2007-10-03). "BHP Billiton strikes $100m Falklands drilling deal". London: The Times. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article2577806.ece. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  68. ^ Webber, Jude (2007-10-03). "Argentina protests at Falklands oil stake". The Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/aa2294fe-71d7-11dc-8960-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  69. ^ "Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)". CIA World Factbook. 19 March 2009. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fk.html. Retrieved 1-2-09. 
  70. ^ "Drilling for oil begins off the Falkland Islands". BBC News. 2010-02-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8527307.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  71. ^ Falklands oil prospects stir Anglo-Argentinian tensions, The Guardian, 7 Feb 2010
  72. ^ Vincent, Patrick (March 1983). The Geographical Journal, Vol. 149, No. 1, pp 16–17. 
  73. ^ "UK | Falklands questions answered". BBC News. 2007-06-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6683677.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  74. ^ "Falkland Islands Bahá'í Community Newsletter". Horizon.co.fk. http://www.horizon.co.fk/bahai_falklands/. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  75. ^ "''de acuerdo al Derecho Positivo de la Argentina son Ciudadanos de la Nación Argentina por el solo hecho de nacer en su territorio, siguiendo el principio de Ius soli''". Hum.unne.edu.ar. http://hum.unne.edu.ar/publicaciones/maes_desarrollo/Kelpers.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  76. ^ Falkland Islands Government
  77. ^ "GSM coverage in the Falkland Islands". Gsmworld.com. http://www.gsmworld.com/ROAMING/GSMINFO/net_fkcw.shtml. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  78. ^ "Cable and Wireless Falkland Islands". Cwfi.co.fk. http://www.cwfi.co.fk/. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  79. ^ "Telecommunications". falklands.info. http://www.falklands.info/factfile/comms.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  80. ^ Falklands Information website clubs page. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  81. ^ Island Games website membership page. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  82. ^ "43.28 km in Map Crow Travel Distance Calculator". Mapcrow.info. 2007-10-23. http://www.mapcrow.info/Distance_between_London_UK_and_Port_Stanley_FK.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  83. ^ Official Tourism Website of the Falkland Islands
  84. ^ "Landmines in the Sand: The Falkland Islands, by Juan Carlos Ruan and Jill E. Macheme (5.2)". maic.jmu.edu. http://maic.jmu.edu/JOURNAL/5.2/focus/falklands.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  85. ^ "Landmines (Falkland Islands) (Hansard, 28 April 1998)". hansard.millbanksystems.com. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1998/apr/28/landmines-falkland-islands. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  86. ^ a b "Landmine Monitor (LM): Landmine Monitor". lm.icbl.org. http://lm.icbl.org/index.php/publications/display?url=lm/2002/falk_malv.html. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  87. ^ "Landmine Monitor (LM): Landmine Monitor". Lm.icbl.org. http://lm.icbl.org/index.php/publications/display?url=lm/2007/falk_malv.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  88. ^ http://www.theworkcontinues.org/page.asp?id=127
  89. ^ http://www.landmineaction.org/resources/uk_and_the_falkland_islands__art_5.pdf
  90. ^ Crawford, Angus (2008-11-24). "UK | UK Politics | UK misses Falklands mine deadline". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7742661.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  91. ^ http://www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/pdf/mbc/IWP/SC_june08/Speeches-MC/SCMC-StocktakingArt5-4June08-UnitedKingdom-en.pdf
  92. ^ "Mine Clearance Begins at Surf Bay « Falkland Islands Government News". Falklands.gov.fk. 2009-11-30. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/news/2009/11/mine-clearance-begins-at-surf-bay/. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  93. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "Hansard". Parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm100105/text/100105w0049.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  94. ^ "Prince William as SAR pilot could spend time in Falklands — MercoPress". En.mercopress.com. 2009-02-02. http://en.mercopress.com/2009/02/02/prince-william-as-sar-pilot-could-spend-time-in-falklands. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  95. ^ Published: 11:54PM GMT 02 Feb 2009 (2009-02-02). "Prince William's deployment to Falkland Islands upsets Argentina". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/theroyalfamily/4440789/Prince-Williams-deployment-to-Falkland-Islands-upsets-Argentina.html. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  96. ^ "AFP: No decision taken on Prince William's Falklands mission". Google.com. 2009-02-02. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g3Ql194Jgzr2W8mZMHX338cnshqQ. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 

Further reading

  • Simpson, Tim. Cooking the Falkland Island Way, Peregrine Publishing, 1994, 123 pp. Some domestic history notes, many recipes, and over 40 photos from the 19th century onward.

ISBN 1-873406-02-9

  • Strange, Hanna. 2010. Argentina says it will stop "illegal" drilling by British rig off Falklands. The Times. February 18, 2010

External links



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Falkland Islands article)

From Wikitravel

South America : Falkland Islands
noframe
Flag
Image:fk-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Stanley
Government UK Overseas Territory
Currency Falkland pound (FKP)
Area 12,173 km2
Population 3,105 (July 2007 est.)
Language English
Religion Anglican (primary), Roman Catholic, United Free Church, Evangelist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist
Electricity 240/50Hz (UK plug)
Calling Code 500
Internet TLD .fk
Time Zone GMT - 4

The Falkland Islands [1] 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.

Map of Falkland Islands
Map of Falkland Islands

Life in the Falklands can be divided between living in Stanley or living in camp. The two main islands of the territory are East Falkland and West Falkland, with numerous smaller islands providing additional destinations.

Towns

"Town" is a relative term in the Falklands. While the population of Stanley hovers near two thousand, the populations of other settlements usually range from the single digits to perhaps twenty people, with a noticeable increase during the busy sheep shearing times. Bear in mind that the average medium sized village located in the United Kingdom has a population of only around 3,000, and this is nearly the total population of the entire Falkland Islands.

  • Stanley - capital and port
  • Goose Green - small settlement with numerous remnants of the 1982 war on East Falkland
  • Port Howard - 200,000 acre sheep farm on West Falkland

Understand

The Falklands are a UK Overseas Territory and are an associated territory of the European Union. The Falklands are also claimed by Argentina as the Islas Malvinas and were the site of a major conflict between the two countries in 1982.

History

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. After fierce fighting in what is often known as the Falklands War, the Argentine occupation force was overrun and forced to surrender on 14 June 1982. Nonetheless, today Buenos Aires still refuses to give up Argentina's claim to the territory.

Economy

The economy of the Falklands was formerly based on agriculture (mainly sheep farming), but today fishing contributes the bulk of economic activity. Income from licensing foreign trawlers totals more than $40 million per year, with squid accounting for 75% of the fish taken. Agricultural activities mainly support domestic consumption, with the exception of high grade wool which is exported. Surveys have revealed oil deposits within a 200 mile oil exploration zone around the islands, but thus far this resource has not been exploited. The British military presence provides a sizeable economic boost.

Tourism is being actively encouraged and increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001; a significant part of the increase is from visiting cruise liners. The majority of visitors are from the UK but efforts are being made to encourage wildlife and adventure tourism. The main season is November to March but angling for sea trout is most favourable outside of this period.

Flora and fauna

The most popular reason to visit is for the scenic beauty, flora and fauna, and conservation is high on the Islands' agenda. Bird and marine species are the most prevalent fauna and include five species of penguin, four species of seal, albatross, petrels, the Falkland Flightless Steamer duck (Logger Duck), other duck species, geese, hawks, falcons; the Striated Caracara (Johnny Rook) is a rare bird of prey found only on the Falkland Islands and some islands off Cape Horn. Porpoises and dolphins are often sighted with the occasional sighting of whales.

"The Neck" on Saunders Island
"The Neck" on Saunders Island

The terrain is rocky and hilly, with some boggy terrain. Peat is found throughout the islands, leading to potentially dangerous fire conditions; once ignited, a peat fire can burn for months. The deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors. The highest point in the islands is the 705 meter Mount Usbourne.

Climate

Strong westerly winds are a constant in many parts of the islands. It is more likely to rain in the southeastern part of the islands, with the far western islands getting very little yearly precipitation. Temperatures are cool, and snow may occur at any time except for January and February, although accumulation is rare. Most visitors come to the islands between November and March.

The Falklands is a victim of the Antarctic ozone hole, so it is important to wear sunscreen on sunny days during the early summer.

  • HM the Queen's Birthday, 21 April
  • Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
  • Battle Day, 8 December

Get in

All visitors to the Falklands must show that they have a return ticket, accommodation, and sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the islands. A major credit card will be accepted as proof of funds. Visas are not required from citizens of Britain, North America, Mercosur, Chile, and most Commonwealth countries and the European Community; all others should check their particular situation. A departure tax of £20 is charged when leaving the territory from Mount Pleasant airport.

By plane

Most international flights arrive at the Mount Pleasant (MPN) airport, which is also a military base. The only international carriers to use this airport are LanChile on a weekly flight from Santiago de Chile via Punta Arenas (CL) and Rio Gallegos (AR) and the UK Royal Air Force who carry commercial passengers direct from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. Flights from the UK last eighteen hours including a stop on Ascension Island enroute. The RAF operates six Tristar flights every four week period which are subject to military priorities. There is also an airport in Stanley (PSY), but it has a smaller runway and is used primarily for flights within the Falklands.

The Mount Pleasant airport is 56km (35 miles) from Stanley. Falkland Island Tours & Travel (Tel: 21775, fitt@horizon.co.fk) operates a shuttle bus that meets all flights and can take visitors to and from the capital for £13.00 per person (one-way). Taxis will also take passengers to the airport and may be available for travel from Mount Pleasant to Stanley.

By boat

Large cruise ships stop at Stanley's port throughout the summer. These boats may also stop at some of the outlying islands. While cruise ships can dock at Stanley, be prepared to come ashore on a zodiac when landing on most other islands. It is also typical for expedition ships in route to Antarctica, to include a stop at the Falkland Islands in their itinerary.

FIGAS plane on the airstrip at Sea Lion Island
FIGAS plane on the airstrip at Sea Lion Island

Traveling between islands in the Falklands is generally done using the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS). The planes are Britten Norman Islander aircraft, capable of carrying eight passengers plus pilot. Be aware, however, that passenger load may be reduced depending on the condition of the airstrips being visited; with the exception of Stanley and Mount Pleasant, all airstrips in the Falklands are either dirt strips or grassy fields. Be prepared for slight delays while livestock is cleared from airstrips prior to takeoff/landing!

FIGAS flights leave twice daily from the airstrip just outside of Stanley and travel to a variety of locations throughout the islands. There is a baggage limit of 14 kg per person which is strictly enforced - you and your baggage will be weighed prior to boarding in Stanley. For those with more than 14 kg of baggage there is an additional charge of £0.60 per kilogram, space permitting. Note that unless the plane is flying to an island with a very poor landing strip there are almost never weight constraints that would prevent traveling with a few extra kilos of baggage.

Reservations are required for travel and should be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Booking reservations can be done either by calling the airport (Tel: 27219), emailing fwallace@figas.gov.fk, or visiting the airport in person when it is open (hours vary depending on flight schedules, but mid-morning is usually a good time). Flight schedules are announced the night before departure and are also available via a fax service; most lodges will post the schedule as soon as it is announced.

Flights can be paid for in cash or with credit card. Fares vary by destination, but sample fares (one-way) from November 2004 were:

  • Stanley to Sea Lion Island: £47.67
  • Sea Lion Island to Saunders Island: £54.16
  • Saunders Island to Pebble Island: £21.12
  • Pebble Island to Stanley: £53.57

By boat

While it is theoretically possible to get around the Falklands by boat, as of October 2004 there was no regular service available to tourists traveling in small groups to the outer islands (contrary to reports in guide books, the Golden Fleece does not taxi passengers around the islands). For large groups it may be possible to charter a boat in advance, thus providing a great way to visit some of the less-traveled islands. Be aware that per-passenger landing fees are charged on many of the islands; contact the island's owner before visiting.

However there is a regular passenger ferry between New Haven, 2 hours car journey from Stanley to Port Howard. Ferry tickets must be booked in advance from Workboat Services on 22300. As of December 2008 example prices were: Foot Passage single £10 Car Passage single £25

Large cruise ships are the most common means for people to visit the Falklands, and most will make several landings at various islands. Note that aside from Stanley all landings from cruise ships are done using zodiacs (small inflatable boats), and in many cases the lack of docking areas will require a quick wade from the zodiac onto shore.

By taxi

Within Stanley there are two taxi services that can be hired for travel throughout the town and surrounding areas, including the Mount Pleasant airport.

By Land Rover

Land Rover rental may be possible from Stanley. Contact either the Falkland Islands Company or Stanley Services (info@falklandislandsholidays.com) for information. Roads in Stanley are paved, but elsewhere road conditions range from well-maintained dirt roads to boggy mud streams. Unless your travels specifically require having your own vehicle, renting a Land Rover is neither necessary nor a particularly good idea.

Talk

As the Falklands are a British dependency, English is the official language. People who aren't Falkland Islanders speak of the islands having Spanish as an unofficial language, this is untrue.

Buy

The official Falklands currency is the Falkland Pound (FKP), whose value is set equivalent to that of one British pound (GBP). Money can be exchanged at the only bank in the islands, which is located in Stanley across from the FIC West store. British pounds will generally be accepted anywhere in the islands, and within Stanley credit cards and American currency are also often accepted. On the outlying islands credit cards will probably not be accepted, although British and American currency may be taken; check with the owners in advance to determine what is an acceptable payment method.

It is nearly impossible to exchange Falklands currency outside of the islands, so be sure to exchange all money prior to leaving the islands.

Eat

Meals in the Falklands are primarily traditional British food. Fish and chips, roast beef, mutton, and copious amounts of tea are standard fare. There are some Spanish influences, such as Milinasa and Casuala. While in camp many of the lodges provide home-cooked meals in very generous portions, and the food is generally much better than what is found in Stanley's pubs and eateries. However, to be completely fair Stanley does have a few good restaurants.

Drink

While most items in the Falklands are expensive due to the cost of importing, there are no taxes on alcohol, thus making beer prices fairly reasonable. Pubs and lodges offer a wide selection, although most drinks will usually come from a can or bottle, rather than a tap.

Sleep

Accommodation in Stanley includes numerous bed and breakfasts as well as a handful of hotels. Buildings are generally older, and the warm hospitality also seems to come from a bygone age. While in camp, lodging includes everything from old farmhouses to lodges built specifically for tourism. Camping may be permitted with permission of the landowner. Many places are self-catering, meaning supplies will need to be purchased in either Stanley or from a local source, if one is available. When in camp it is essential that lodging be reserved in advance; in Stanley it is generally possible to find lodging without a reservation, but it is still recommended that reservations be made.

Work

A work permit is required of any foreign national, including UK citizens, working in the Falklands. Work permits should generally be applied for prior to coming to the islands and will require an employer's sponsorship. Additional information can be found at the Falkland Islands Government site.

Stay safe

Crime is relatively unknown in the Falklands, although one should still take the normal precautions of not leaving items unattended or traveling alone late at night. If problems are encountered the police force should be helpful.

Unexploded ordnance from the 1982 conflict, including land mines, are still found in the islands. While it is highly unlikely that a visitor will encounter one, if found it should (obviously) not be touched and the proper authorities should be notified. It is worth noting that no civilians have been harmed by landmines since the conflict ended.

Many animals in the islands can be dangerous when cornered or with young. Elephant seals, sea lions and fur seals are probably the most dangerous; keep a safe distance when viewing these animals. A general rule is that if the animal seems to notice your presence, you are too close.

The Falklands, being located at a far southern latitude, may be affected by the Antarctic ozone hole from August until December. During this time be sure to wear sunscreen on sunny days, as the risk of sunburn is increased significantly. During other months of the year the ozone hole shrinks and the danger from the sun is not significantly greater than anywhere else on the planet.

Stay healthy

There are no special medical requirements for visiting the Falklands. There is a large hospital in Stanley, but outside of the capital there are no medical facilities. For serious injuries the costs of being airlifted out of the islands are quite high, and the government may therefore require that you have travel insurance sufficient to cover the costs of a medical evacuation.

Respect

Since the population has British roots, customs tend to follow those of the United Kingdom, although in many ways the islanders are more conservative than Britain. Drugs are not tolerated, and travelers should be aware that among some residents there is still a mistrust of Argentines stemming from the 1982 conflict.

In addition to the above concerns, there exists a Country Code that should be followed by visitors to the islands:

  • Always ask permission before entering private land.
  • Keep to paths wherever possible. Leave gates open or shut as you found them.
  • Be aware of the high fire risk throughout the Islands. Be extremely careful when smoking not to start fires. Take cigarette butts away with you.
  • Do not litter; take your trash home with you.
  • Do not disfigure rocks or buildings.
  • Do not touch, handle, injure or kill any wild bird or other wild animal.
  • Never feed any wild animals.
  • Always give animals the right of way. Remember not to block the routes of seabirds and seals coming ashore to their colonies.
  • Try to prevent any undue disturbance to wild animals. Stay on the outside of bird and seal colonies. Remain at least six meters (twenty feet) away. When taking photographs or filming stay low to the ground. Move slowly and quietly. Do not startle or chase wildlife from resting or breeding areas.
  • Some plants are protected and should not be picked.
  • Whalebones, skulls, eggs or other such items may not be exported from the Falklands.

Contact

The international calling code for the Falklands is +500. The local phone company, Cable & Wireless, sells phone cards which can be used throughout the territory, but international calls cost £0.90 per minute. Internet access is still primitive, but it can be found. Several hotels, as well as the visitor center, offer computers that accept Cable & Wireless internet cards; expect download speeds of 56 Kbps or less. Both phone and internet cards can be purchased from the Cable & Wireless office in Stanley (located on the hill past the War Memorial), as well as in some of the stores downtown. The larger lodges will also sell phone cards and may have internet cards. More recently, ADSL Broadband internet has been made available in Stanley, along with a GSM cell phone network.

The postal service in the Falklands is quite reliable and letters can be easily mailed from Stanley and most settlements. The main post office is located in downtown Stanley across from the FIC West store.

This is a guide article. It has well developed information throughout the entire article, and throughout all of the articles on destinations within the region. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Falklands

  1. The Falkland Islands

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