Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
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Location of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
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Map of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
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Photos of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
 
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OF FALKLAND ISLANDS (ISLAS MALVINAS)
 

Introduction

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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.
 
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Geography

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Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
 
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51 45 S, 59 00 W
 
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total: 12,173 sq km
country comparison to the world: 165
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
 
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slightly smaller than Connecticut
 
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0 km
 
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1,288 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
 
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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
 
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rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m
 
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fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
 
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arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)
 
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NA
 
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strong winds persist throughout the year
 
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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
 
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deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
 
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People and Society

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noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island
 
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British
 
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English
 
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Christian 67.2%, none 31.5%, other 1.3% (2006 census)
 
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3,140 (July 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 231
 
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0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
 
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0.011% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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urban population: 74% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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STANLEY (capital) 2,000 (2009)
 
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total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
 
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overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
 
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NA
 
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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; note - DST will be observed throughout 2011 on a trial basis
 
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none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
 
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none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
 
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Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
 
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1 January 2009
 
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English common law and local statutes
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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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
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; chief executive appointed by the governor
 
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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
 
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Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident); Magistrates Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction
 
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none; all independents
 
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Falkland Islands Association (supports freedom of the people from external causes)
 
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UPU
 
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none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
 
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none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
 
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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
 
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ram
 
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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)
 
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Economy

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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.
 
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$105.1 million (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
 
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$105.1 million (2002 est.)
 
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$35,400 (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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agriculture: 95%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (1996)
 
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1,724 (1996)
country comparison to the world: 225
 
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agriculture: 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
industry and services: 5% (1996)
 
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NA%
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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revenues: $66.2 million
expenditures: $67.9 million (FY98/99)
 
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63% of GDP (FY98/99)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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-1.6% of GDP (FY98/99)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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3.6% (1998)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products; fish, squid
 
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fish and wool processing; tourism
 
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NA%
 
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17 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
 
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15.81 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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300 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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313 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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$125 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
 
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wool, hides, meat, fish, squid
 
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$90 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
 
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fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
 
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$NA
 
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Falkland pounds (FKP) per US dollar -
0.6388 (2010)
0.6175 (2009)
0.5418 (2006)
0.5493 (2005)
0.5462 (2004)
 
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Communications

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2,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 224
 
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3,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 217
 
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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
 
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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)
 
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.fk
 
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91 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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2,900 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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Transportation

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7 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 5
under 914 m: 5 (2010)
 
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total: 440 km
country comparison to the world: 198
paved: 50 km
unpaved: 390 km (2008)
 
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Stanley
 
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Military

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no regular military forces
 
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NA
 
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defense is the responsibility of the UK
 
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Transnational Issues

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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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