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Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) (South America)

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

Geographic coordinates:
51 45 S, 59 00 W

Map references:

South America


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

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:

0 km


1,288 km

Maritime claims:

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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m

Natural resources:

fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss

Land use:

arable land: 0%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

strong winds persist throughout the year

Environment - current issues:

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

Geography - note:

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: 230

Age structure:

0-14 years: NA

15-64 years: NA

65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate:

0.011% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 193

Birth rate:

Death rate:

Net migration rate:


urban population: 92% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Total fertility rate:

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Falkland Islander(s)

adjective: Falkland Island

Ethnic groups:



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




Government ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Dependency status:

overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina

Government type:


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

Administrative divisions:

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


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

National holiday:

Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)


1 January 2009

Legal system:

English common law


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

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)

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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch:

unicameral Legislative Assembly (10 seats; 2 members are ex officio and 8 are elected by popular vote; members to serve four-year terms); presided over by the governor

elections: last held on 5 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 8

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident); Magistrates Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Political parties and leaders:

none; all independents

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Falkland Islands Association (supports freedom of the people from external causes)

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:

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

Flag description:

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

National anthem:

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)

Economy ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Economy - overview:

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. Foreign exchange earnings come from 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. Political tensions between the UK and Argentina rose in early 2010 after a UK company began oil drilling activities in the waters around the Falkland Islands but abated somewhat when the drilling operation failed to discover commercially exploitable 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$105.1 million (2002 est.) country comparison to the world: 220

GDP (official exchange rate):

$105.1 million (2002 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$35,400 (2002 est.) country comparison to the world: 33

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 95%

industry: NA%

services: NA% (1996)

Labor force:

1,724 (1996) (1996) country comparison to the world: 224

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)

industry and services: 5% (1996)

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.6% (1998) country comparison to the world: 105

Agriculture - products:

fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products; fish, squid


fish and wool processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

16 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 207

Electricity - consumption:

14.88 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 208

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 176

Oil - consumption:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 205

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 196

Oil - imports:

271 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 197

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 186

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 181

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 181


$125 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 187

Exports - commodities:

wool, hides, meat, fish, squid


$90 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 210

Imports - commodities:

fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing

Debt - external:

Exchange rates:

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)

Telephones - main lines in use:

2,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 223

Telephones - mobile cellular:

3,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 212

Telephone system:

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

Broadcast media:

television service provided by a multi-channel service provider; radio services provided by the public broadcaster Falkland Islands Radio Service (FIRS), broadcasting on both AM and FM frequencies, and by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

91 (2010) country comparison to the world: 203

Internet users:

2,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 208

Transportation ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)


7 (2010) country comparison to the world: 167

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 5

under 914 m: 5 (2010)


total: 440 km country comparison to the world: 197 paved: 50 km

unpaved: 390 km (2008)

Ports and terminals:


Military ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Military branches:

no regular military forces

Military expenditures:

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues ::Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Disputes - international:

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


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