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  Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)   
  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

Map references:
South America

Geographic coordinates:
51 45 S, 59 00 W

Natural resources:
fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m

rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains

Geography - note:
deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season

total: 12,173 sq km
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

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

1,288 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut

Irrigated land:

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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
strong winds persist throughout the year

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
NA (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)


Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:

3,140 (July 2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.011% (2008 est.)


Death rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Birth rate:
NA (2008 est.)

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

noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)

National holiday:
Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Falkland Islands Association (supports freedom of the people from external causes)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)

Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
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

Legal system:
English common law

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

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

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Political parties and leaders:
none; all independents

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

3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998

Executive branch:
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

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Electricity - consumption:
14.88 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:

Unemployment rate:
full employment; labor shortage (2001)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$35,400 (2002 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$105.1 million (2002 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$105.1 million (2002 est.)

Exchange rates:
Falkland pounds (FKP) per US dollar - 0.4993 (2007), 0.5434 (2006), 0.5504 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
note: the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound

GDP - real growth rate:

Labor force:
1,724 (est.) (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (1998)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 95%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Oil - imports:
248.9 bbl/day (2005)

$125 million (2004 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Falkland pound (FKP)

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. 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing

fish and wool processing; tourism

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Electricity - production:
16 million kWh (2006 est.)

$90 million (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
industry and services: 5% (1996)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
252.3 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
wool, hides, meat, fish, squid

Economic aid - recipient:
$0 (1997 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $66.2 million
expenditures: $67.9 million (FY98/99 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1,900 (2002)

Telephones - main lines in use:
2,400 (2002)

1,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 7, shortwave 0 (British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides Radio 1 and Radio 2 service) (2006)

1,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:
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)

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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
91 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

total: 440 km
paved: 50 km
unpaved: 390 km (2008)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2007)

6 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK

Military branches:
no regular military forces

Military expenditures:

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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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