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Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands

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The Falkland Islands are an archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about 250 nmi (287.7 mi; 463 km) from the coast of mainland South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. The archipelago consists of East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

, West Falkland
West Falkland
West Falkland is the second largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. It is a hilly island, separated from East Falkland by Falkland Sound. Its area is and its coastline is long. Including the adjacent small islands the land area is .-Population:The island has fewer than 200...

 and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

, is on East Falkland. It is an internally self-governing British Overseas Territory
British overseas territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

, with the United Kingdom responsible for defence and foreign affairs.

Ever since the re-establishment of British rule in 1833, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 has claimed sovereignty. In pursuit of this claim, which is rejected by the islanders, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands
1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands . The invasion involved an initial defence force organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines, the landing of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo...

 in 1982. This precipitated the two-month-long undeclared Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 between Argentina and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and resulted in the defeat and withdrawal of the Argentine forces. It is currently on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

.

Since the war, there has been strong economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 in both fisheries
Fishery
Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery. According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats,...

 and tourism.

Etymology



The Falkland Islands took their English name from "Falkland Sound", the channel between the two main islands, which was in turn named after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland by Captain John Strong
John Strong (mariner)
John Strong was an English mariner.During an expedition from London to South America in 1689–91, commanding the HMS Welfare, he discovered the sound between the two main islands in the Falkland Islands. He named it Falkland Sound for Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland, a part-owner in the Welfare...

, who landed on the islands in 1690. The Spanish name, Islas Malvinas, is derived from the French name, Îles Malouines, named by Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

 in 1764 after the first known settlers, mariners and fishermen from the Breton
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 port of Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

 in France. The ISO
ISO 3166
ISO 3166 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization . It defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, special areas of geographical interest, and their principal subdivisions . The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation...

 designation is Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and its ISO country code is FK.

As a result of the continuing sovereignty dispute
Sovereignty of the Falkland Islands
Sovereignty over the Falkland Islands is disputed between Argentina and the United Kingdom.The British claim to de jure sovereignty dates from 1690, and the United Kingdom has exercised de facto sovereignty over the archipelago almost constantly since 1833...

, the use of many Spanish names is considered offensive in the Falkland Islands, particularly those associated with the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. General Sir Jeremy Moore
Jeremy Moore
Major General Sir John Jeremy Moore KCB, OBE, MC & Bar was the commander of the British land forces during the Falklands War in 1982. Moore received the surrender of the Argentine forces on the islands.-Military career:...

 would not allow the use of Islas Malvinas in the surrender document
Falklands War Argentine surrender
The last stage of the Falklands War was the surrender of the Argentine Governor at Port Stanley.-Background:With the last natural defence line at Mount Tumbledown breached, the Argentine town defences of Port Stanley began to falter. In the morning gloom, one company commander got lost and his...

, dismissing it as a propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 term.

History to 1982


There is controversy as to who was first to discover the Falkland Islands, with competing Portuguese, Spanish and British claims in the 16th century. While it is possible that Patagonian Indians may have visited before this, the islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by Europeans. The first reliable sighting is usually attributed to the Dutch explorer Sebald de Weert
Sebald de Weert
Sebald or Sebalt de Weert was a Dutch captain and vice-admiral of the Dutch East India Company...

 in 1600, who named the archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 the Sebald Islands, a name they bore on Dutch maps into the 19th century.

In 1690, Captain John Strong
John Strong (mariner)
John Strong was an English mariner.During an expedition from London to South America in 1689–91, commanding the HMS Welfare, he discovered the sound between the two main islands in the Falkland Islands. He named it Falkland Sound for Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland, a part-owner in the Welfare...

 of the Welfare en route to Puerto Deseado
Puerto Deseado
Puerto Deseado, originally called Port Desire, is a city of about 15,000 inhabitants and a fishing port in Patagonia in Santa Cruz Province of Argentina, on the estuary of the Deseado River....

 was driven off course and reached the Falkland Islands instead, landing at Bold Cove. Sailing between the two principal islands he called the passage "Falkland Channel" (now Falkland Sound
Falkland Sound
The Falkland Sound is a sea strait in the Falkland Islands. Running south west - north east, it separates West and East Falkland.-Name:The sound was named by John Strong in 1690 for Viscount Falkland, the name only later being applied to the archipelago and its two largest islands...

), after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland, who as Commissioner of the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 had financed the expedition. The island group takes its English name from this body of water.


The French navigator
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and military commander Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

 founded the first settlement on Berkeley Sound, in present-day Port Louis
Port Louis, Falkland Islands
Port Louis is a settlement on northeastern East Falkland. It was established by Louis de Bougainville in 1764 as the first French settlement on the islands, but was then transferred to Spain in 1767 and renamed Puerto Soledad .-History:The settlement has seen several name changes...

, East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

 in 1764. In 1765, the British captain John Byron
John Byron
Vice Admiral The Hon. John Byron, RN was a Royal Navy officer. He was known as Foul-weather Jack because of his frequent bad luck with weather.-Early career:...

 explored and claimed Saunders Island on West Falkland
West Falkland
West Falkland is the second largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. It is a hilly island, separated from East Falkland by Falkland Sound. Its area is and its coastline is long. Including the adjacent small islands the land area is .-Population:The island has fewer than 200...

, where he named the harbour Port Egmont
Port Egmont
Port Egmont was the first British settlement in the Falkland Islands, on Saunders Island.-History:Port Egmont was established in on 25 January 1765, by an expedition led by Commodore John Byron consisting of the boats , and...

 and a settlement was constructed in 1766. Unaware of the French presence he claimed the island group for King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

. Spain acquired the French colony and placed the colony under a governor subordinate to the Buenos Aires colonial administration. Spain attacked Port Egmont, expelling the British presence in 1770, this brought the two countries to the brink of war but war was avoided by a peace treaty and the British return to Port Egmont.

In 1774, economic pressures leading up to the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 forced Great Britain to withdraw from many overseas settlements. Upon withdrawal the British left behind a plaque
Commemorative plaque
A commemorative plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing text in memory of an important figure or event...

 asserting her continued claim. Spain maintained its governor until 1806 who, on his departure, left behind a plaque asserting Spanish claims. The remaining settlers were withdrawn by the United Provinces of the River Plate in 1811.

In 1820, storm damage forced the privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 Heroína
Heroina
The Heroína was a privately owned frigate that was operated as a privateer under a license issued by the United Provinces of the River Plate . It was under the command of American-born Colonel David Jewett and has become linked with the Argentine claim to sovereignty of the Falkland Islands...

 to take shelter in the islands. Her captain David Jewett
David Jewett
Colonel David Jewett is a notable figure in the history of the sovereignty dispute between Great Britain and Argentina as he commanded the Frigate Heroína that visited the Falkland Islands in 1820 and raised the first Argentine flag on the islands....

 raised the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate and read a proclamation claiming the islands. This became public knowledge in Buenos Aires nearly a year later following the publication of the proclamation in the Salem Gazette. After several abortive attempts, Luis Vernet
Luis Vernet
Luis Vernet was a merchant from Hamburg of Huguenot descent. Vernet established a settlement on East Falkland in 1828, after first seeking approval from both the British and Argentine authorities. As such, Vernet is a controversial figure in the history of the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute...

 established a settlement in 1828 after seeking authorisation from both British and Argentine authorities.

A dispute over fishing and hunting rights resulted in a raid by the US
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 warship USS Lexington
USS Lexington (1825)
The second USS Lexington was a sloop in the United States Navy built at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, in 1825; and commissioned on 11 June 1826, Master Commandant William B. Shubrick in command....

 in 1831. The log of the Lexington reports only the destruction of arms and a powder store, though in his claim against the US Government for compensation (rejected by the US Government of President Cleveland in 1885) Vernet stated that the settlement was destroyed. The Islands were declared free from all government, the seven senior members of the settlement were arrested for piracy and taken to Montevideo, where they were released without charge on the orders of Commodore Rogers.

In November 1832, Argentina sent Commander Mestivier as an interim commander to found a penal settlement, but he was killed in a mutiny after 4 days. The following January, British forces returned and requested the Argentine garrison leave. Don Pinedo, captain of the ARA Sarandi and senior officer present, protested but ultimately complied. Vernet's settlement continued, with the Irishman
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 William Dickson
William Dickson (Falklands)
William Dickson, born Dublin, Ireland was an Irish-born settler in Port Louis in the Falkland Islands during a pivotal time in its history, following the removal of the Argentine military presence and leading up to the Port Louis Murders, also known as the Gaucho Murders, during which he was...

 tasked with raising the British flag for passing ships. Vernet's deputy, Matthew Brisbane, returned and was encouraged by the British to continue with the enterprise. The settlement continued until August 1833, when the leaders were killed in the so-called Gaucho murders. Subsequently, from 1834 the islands were governed as a naval station until 1840 when the British Government decided to establish a permanent colony.


A new harbour was built in Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

, and the islands became a strategic point for navigation around Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

. A World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 naval battle, the Battle of the Falkland Islands
Battle of the Falkland Islands
The Battle of the Falkland Islands was a British naval victory over the Imperial German Navy on 8 December 1914 during the First World War in the South Atlantic...

, took place in December 1914, with a British victory over the smaller Imperial German Asiatic Fleet. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Stanley served as a Royal Navy station and serviced ships which took part in the 1939 Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

.

Sovereignty over the islands became an issue in the second half of the 20th century, when Argentina saw the creation of the UN as an opportunity to pursue its claim. 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 inhabitants preferred that the islands remain British territory.

A result of these talks, was the establishment of the islands' first air link. In 1971, the Argentine state airline LADE
Lade
Lade may refer to:People* Brendon Lade , Australian rules footballer* Sir John Lade , baronet and Regency horse-breeder* Heinrich Eduard von Lade , German banker and amateur astronomer...

, began a service between Comodoro Rivadavia
Comodoro Rivadavia
Comodoro Rivadavia is a city in the Patagonian province of Chubut in southern Argentina, located on the San Jorge Gulf, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Chenque Hill. Comodoro Rivadavia is the most important city of the San Jorge Basin....

 and Stanley. A temporary strip was followed by the construction of a permanent airfield and flights between Stanley and Comodoro Rivadavia continued until 1982. Further agreements gave YPF
Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales
Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales is an Argentine oil company.Founded in 1922 under President Hipólito Yrigoyen's administration, it was privatized in 1993 by Carlos Menem, and bought by the Spanish firm Repsol; the resulting merger in 1999 produced Repsol YPF...

, the Argentine national oil and gas company, a monopoly over the supply of the islands' energy needs.

Falklands War and its aftermath




On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands
1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands . The invasion involved an initial defence force organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines, the landing of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo...

 and other British territories
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

 in the South Atlantic. The military junta
National Reorganization Process
The National Reorganization Process was the name used by its leaders for the military government that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as la última junta militar or la última dictadura , because several of them existed throughout its history.The Argentine...

 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. Several British writers hold that the United Kingdom's reduction in military capacity in the South Atlantic also encouraged the invasion.

The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 issued Resolution 502
United Nations Security Council Resolution 502
United Nations Security Council Resolution 502 was a resolution adopted on 3 April 1982. After expressing its concern at the invasion of the Falkland Islands by the armed forces of Argentina, the Council demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities between Argentina and the United Kingdom and a...

, calling on Argentina to withdraw forces from the Islands and for both parties to seek a diplomatic solution. International reaction ranged from support for Argentina in Latin American countries (except Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

), to opposition in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 and Europe (apart from Spain), and the United States.

The British sent an expeditionary force
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

 to retake the islands, leading to the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. After short but fierce naval and air battles, the British landed at San Carlos Water
San Carlos Water
Not to be confused with the San Carlos River.San Carlos Water is a bay/fjord on the west coast of East Falkland, facing onto the Falkland Sound.-Name:...

 on 21 May, and a land campaign followed leading the British taking the high ground surrounding Stanley on 11 June. The Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982. The war resulted in the deaths of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen, as well as 3 civilian Falklanders.

After the war, the British increased their military presence on the islands, constructing RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 and increasing the military garrison. Although the United Kingdom and Argentina resumed diplomatic relations in 1990, no further negotiations on sovereignty have taken place. Between 18,000 and 25,000 land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

s remain from the 1982 war dispersed in a number of minefields around Port Stanley, Port Howard, Fox Bay and Goose Green. Information is available from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operation Centre in Stanley. In 2009 mine clearance began at Surf Bay, and further clearances took place at Sapper Hill, Goose Green and Fox Bay. Further clearance work is due to begin in 2011.

Sovereignty dispute



Although the United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes the Falkland Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

, it has been asserted that the Falkland Islands is one of 16 territories which have too small a population, "to survive as viable, fully independent state." Both the United Kingdom and the Argentine governments claim responsibility for the islands. United Kingdom bases its claim on continuous administration of the islands since 1833 (apart from the Argentine military occupation in 1982) and the Islanders’ "right to self determination, including their right to remain British if that is their wish". Argentina claims that it acquired the islands from Spain when Argentina became independent in 1811 and that the United Kingdom exceeded their authority by expelling the Argentine settlers in 1833. The islanders reject the Argentine sovereignty claim.

Before the Falklands War


Shortly after the formation of the United Nations in 1945, Argentina asserted its right to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. In 1947, the United Kingdom offered to submit the case to the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 at The Hague, but Argentina refused the offer. A unilateral application by the United Kingdom in 1955 to the Court in respect of Argentine encroachment ended in deadlock when Argentina announced that it would not respect the decision of the court.

In the late 1960s, as part of the United Kingdom's decolonisation policy, secret discussions were held by the British and Argentine governments to identify a means by which the United Kingdom could cede the islands to Argentina while protecting the rights and way of life of the Islanders. Details of the talks were leaked and the islanders protested against the talks having taken place. Subsequently however, economic and transport links between Argentina and the Islands were established, but the political situation remained unchanged. In April 1982, four months after Leopoldo Galtieri
Leopoldo Galtieri
Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli was an Argentine general and President of Argentina from December 22, 1981 to June 18, 1982, during the last military dictatorship . The death squad Intelligence Battalion 601 directly reported to him...

 became President of Argentina
President of Argentina
The President of the Argentine Nation , usually known as the President of Argentina, is the head of state of Argentina. Under the national Constitution, the President is also the chief executive of the federal government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.Through Argentine history, the...

, Argentine military forces invaded the islands leading to the Falklands War.

After the Falklands War


The dispute over control of the islands has continued since the Falklands War, although diplomatic relations between Argentina and the UK were resumed in 1990. In 1994, Argentina added its claim
1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution
The 1994 amendment to the Constitution of Argentina was approved on 22 August by a Constitutional Assembly that met in the twin cities of Santa Fe and Paraná...

 to the islands to the Argentine constitution
Constitution of Argentina
The constitution of Argentina is one of the primary sources of existing law in Argentina. Its first version was written in 1853 by a Constitutional Assembly gathered in Santa Fe, and the doctrinal basis was taken in part from the United States 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". Since the war, successive Argentine governments have stated their intention to pursue their claim to the islands by peaceful means. Kirchner, campaigning for president
Argentine general election, 2003
Argentina held presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, April 27, 2003. Turnout was 78.2% and the results were as follows:-Argentine Congress:-Background:...

 in 2003, regarded the islands as a top priority, taking actions such as banning flights to the Falklands from Argentine airspace. 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 1998, in retaliation for the arrest in London of the former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

, the Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an government banned flights between Punta Arenas and Port Stanley, thus isolating the islands from the rest of the world. Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 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.


In 2007, 25 years after the war, Argentina reasserted its claim over the Falkland Islands, asking for the UK to resume talks on sovereignty. In March 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 stated in a meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernández that there would be no talks over the future sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. 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.

In October 2007 a British spokeswoman confirmed that Britain intended to submit a claim to the UN to extend seabed territory around the Falklands and South Georgia, in advance of the expiry of the deadline for territorial claims following Britain's ratification of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea , which took place from 1973 through 1982...

. This claim would enable Britain to control activities such as fishing within the zone, in areas not conflicting with the Antarctic Treaty. Argentina has indicated it will challenge any British claim to Antarctic territory and the area around the Falkland Islands and South Georgia
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

. Argentina made a similar claim in 2009, and the United Kingdom quickly protested against these claims.

In 2009, when delegates from the Falkland Islands were invited to the World Summit on Fishing Sustainability, the Argentine delegation protested and walked out of the conference. 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.

Politics and government



The islands are a British Overseas Territory which, under the 2009 Constitution, enjoys a large degree of internal self government with the United Kingdom guaranteeing good government and taking responsibility for defence and foreign affairs.

Arms of Government


Executive authority
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 is vested in the Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 and is exercised by the Governor
Governor of the Falkland Islands
The Governor of the Falkland Islands is the representative of the British Crown in the Falkland Islands, acting "in Her Majesty's name and on Her Majesty's behalf" as the islands' de facto head of state in the absence of the British monarch...

 on her behalf. The Governor is also responsible for the administration of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

, as these islands have no native inhabitants. The governor acts on the advice of the Executive Council
Executive Council of the Falkland Islands
The Executive Council of the Falkland Islands is the policy making body of the Government of the Falkland Islands, exercising executive power by advising the Governor...

, composed of himself as chairman, the Chief Executive
Chief Executive of the Falkland Islands
The Chief Executive of the Falklands Islands is the head of government of the Falkland Islands, as well as head of the public service responsible for the efficient and effective management of the Falkland Islands Government...

, Financial Secretary and three elected Legislative Assembly Members. The current Governor Nigel Haywood
Nigel Haywood
Nigel Robert Haywood CVO is a British diplomat, the former British ambassador to Estonia and the current Governor of the Falkland Islands....

 took office in October 2010.

The Legislative Assembly consists of the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and the eight members elected for four-year terms by universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

, of whom five are from Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 and three from Camp
Camp (Falkland Islands)
The camp is the term used in the Falkland Islands to refer to any part of the islands outside of the islands' only significant town, Stanley, and often the large RAF base at Mount Pleasant...

. It is presided over by the Speaker, currently Keith Biles.

Justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 is administered by a resident senior magistrate and a non-resident Chief Justice of the Islands who visits the islands at least once a year. The senior magistrate handles petty criminal cases, civil, commercial, admiralty and family cases and is also the island's coroner. The chief justice handles serious criminal cases and hears appeals. The constitution binds the judiciary to comply with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 when hearing cases related to human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

.

Military




Although a British military garrison is stationed on the Falkland Islands, the islands have a company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

-sized light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 unit
Falkland Islands Defence Force
The Falkland Islands Defence Force is the locally maintained volunteer defence unit in the Falkland Islands. The FIDF works alongside the military units supplied by the United Kingdom to ensure the security of the islands.-History:...

 (FIDF) that is completely funded by the Falklands government
Politics of the Falkland Islands
The politics of the Falkland Islands takes place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary representative democratic dependency as set out by the constitution, whereby the Governor exercises the duties of head of state in the absence of the monarch and the Chief Executive acts...

 (£400,000 in 2009). The unit is trained under a secondment arrangement with the MOD
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 – as of 2010 the FIDF employed a Royal Marine WO2
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

 as a permanent staff instructor and a major as commanding officer; the rest of the force are part-timers. It is equipped with quad bike
Quad bike
A Quad bike is recognised by UK law as a vehicle with four wheels and a mass of less than 550 kg.To drive a quad bike on a public road, in the UK, requires a B1 licence as well as tax, insurance and registration.-19th century:...

s, inflatable boat
Inflatable boat
An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurised gas. For smaller boats, the floor and hull beneath it is often flexible. On boats longer than , the floor often consists of three to five rigid plywood or aluminium sheets fixed...

s and Land Rover
Land Rover
Land Rover is a British car manufacturer with its headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom which specialises in four-wheel-drive vehicles. It is owned by the Indian company Tata Motors, forming part of their Jaguar Land Rover group...

s and is armed with heavy machineguns, grenade launchers and sniper rifles. In addition to defence duties, force provides a mountain rescue service and has been trained by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in mounting armed deterrence against illegal fishing activity.

Education



There are approximately 380 children between the ages of 5 and 16 on the islands (excluding families of military personnel). Their education, which follows the English system, is free and compulsory. Primary education is available at Stanley where there are boarding facilities, at RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 for children of service personnel and at a number of rural settlements where remote learning is supported by the Stanley based Camp Education Unit. The Islands' only secondary school is in Stanley and offers boarding facilities and 12 subjects to GCSE level. After 16, suitably qualified students may study at two colleges in England for their A-levels or for vocational qualifications. The government pays for older students to attend higher education, usually in the UK.

Medical care


The Falkland Islands Government Health and Social Services Department provides medical and dental care for the islands. The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH), completed in 1987, is Stanley's only hospital. It is run jointly by the Falkland Islands Government and the UK Ministry of Defence. Specialist medical care is provided by visiting ophthalmologists, gynaecologists, ENT surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, oral surgeons and psychiatrists from the United Kingdom. Patients needing emergency treatment are air-lifted to the United Kingdom or to Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 (Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

).

Geography and ecology



The Falkland Islands are located in the South Atlantic Ocean on a projection of the Patagonian continental shelf about 250 nmi (288 mi; 463 km) from the Patagonia coastline and slightly to the north of the southerly tip of Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

 and of its undersea extension, the Scotia Arc
Scotia Arc
Scotia Arc is the island arc system forming the north, east and south border of Scotia Sea. The arc comprises submarine ridges and the island groups of South Orkneys, South Sandwich Islands, Clerke Rocks, South Georgia, Shag Rocks, Isla de los Estados, and Burwood Bank linking the mountains of...

. In ancient geological time this shelf was part of Gondwana
Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

, which around 400 million years ago broke from what is now Africa and drifted westwards relative to Africa.

Landform description


The Falklands, which has a total land area is 4,700 square miles (12,173 km2) and a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1288 km), comprise two main islands, West Falkland
West Falkland
West Falkland is the second largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. It is a hilly island, separated from East Falkland by Falkland Sound. Its area is and its coastline is long. Including the adjacent small islands the land area is .-Population:The island has fewer than 200...

 and East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

 and about 776 small islands. The islands are heavily indented by sounds and fjords and have many natural harbours. The two main islands are separated by the Falkland Sound
Falkland Sound
The Falkland Sound is a sea strait in the Falkland Islands. Running south west - north east, it separates West and East Falkland.-Name:The sound was named by John Strong in 1690 for Viscount Falkland, the name only later being applied to the archipelago and its two largest islands...

 which averages 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) in width. Much of the northern part of the sound which is clear water approaches 40 metres (21.9 fathom) in depth, but the southern part, which has many flat islands and some shoals, has a number of channels that are much deeper.

East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

, which contains the capital Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 and the British military base at Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

, is the more populous of the two main islands.

Both West Falkland and the northern part of East Falkland have mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s that are underlaid with Palaeozoic rock, which, as a result of secondary forces associated with continental drift
Continental drift
Continental drift is the movement of the Earth's continents relative to each other. The hypothesis that continents 'drift' was first put forward by Abraham Ortelius in 1596 and was fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912...

 are at 120° to each other. The highest point of the islands is Mount Usborne
Mount Usborne
Mount Usborne is a mountain on East Falkland. At above sea level, it is the highest point in the Falkland Islands.The mountain is referenced by Charles Darwin in Chapter 9 of the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle and is named after , Master's Assistant on HMS Beagle, the ship that took Darwin...

, 705 metres (2,313 ft) on East Falkland, while Mount Adam
Mount Adam, Falkland Islands
Mount Adam is a mountain on West Falkland, part of the Hill Cove Mountains range. It is the highest mountain on West Falkland and is one of the highest in the islands. It has the remains of glacial cirques on it, and is of similar height to Mount Usborne on East Falkland...

 on West Falkland is only 5 metres (16.4 ft) lower.
The southern part of East Falkland, the Lafonia Peninsula, which is connected to the rest of the island by a 4 km narrow isthmus, is dissimilar to the rest of the island. Most of Lafonia is a flat plain underlain by younger Mesozoic
Mesozoic
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the age of reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time...

 rock, but in the north west is Permian
Permian
The PermianThe term "Permian" was introduced into geology in 1841 by Sir Sir R. I. Murchison, president of the Geological Society of London, who identified typical strata in extensive Russian explorations undertaken with Edouard de Verneuil; Murchison asserted in 1841 that he named his "Permian...

 rock which similar to that of parts of Ecca Pass in South Africa.

The islands claim a territorial sea of 12 nmi (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) and an Exclusive Economic Zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

 of 200 nmi (230.2 mi; 370.4 km), which has been a source of disagreement with Argentina.

Flora and fauna



Biogeographically
Biogeography
Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species , organisms, and ecosystems in space and through geological time. Organisms and biological communities vary in a highly regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude, elevation, isolation and habitat area...

, the Falkland Islands are classified as part of the Antarctic ecozone and Antarctic Floristic Kingdom
Antarctic Floristic Kingdom
The Antarctic Floristic Kingdom is a floristic region first identified by botanist Ronald Good , which includes most areas of the world south of 40°S latitude...

. Strong connections exist with the flora and fauna of Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia is a region located in Argentina and Chile, integrating the southernmost section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean...

 in South America. The only terrestrial mammal upon the arrival of Europeans was the warrah, a kind of fox found on both major islands. It became extinct in the mid 19th century. 14 species of marine mammal
Marine mammal
Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of...

s frequent the surrounding waters. The elephant seal, the fur seal, and the sea lions all breed on the islands, and the largest elephant seal breeding site has over 500 animals in it. 227 bird species have been seen on the islands, over 60 of which are known to breed on the islands. There are two endemic species of bird, and 14 endemic subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

. There are five penguin species breeding on the islands, and over 60% of the global black-browed albatross
Black-browed Albatross
The Black-browed Albatross or Black-browed Mollymawk, Thalassarche melanophrys, is a large seabird of the albatross family Diomedeidae, and it is the most widespread and common albatross.-Taxonomy:...

 population also breed in the area.


There are no native reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s or amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s on the islands. Over 200 species of insects have been recorded, along with 43 spider
Spider
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms...

 species and 12 worm
Worm
The term worm refers to an obsolete taxon used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Currently it is used to describe many different distantly-related animals that typically have a long cylindrical...

 species. Only 13 terrestrial invertebrates are recognised as endemic, although information on many species in lacking and it is suspected up to two thirds of species found are actually endemic. Due to the island environment, many insect species have developed reduced or absent wings. There are around 129 freshwater invertebrates, the majority being rotifer
Rotifer
The rotifers make up a phylum of microscopic and near-microscopic pseudocoelomate animals. They were first described by Rev. John Harris in 1696, and other forms were described by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1703...

, however the identification of some species remains in dispute. Six species of fish are found in freshwater areas, including zebra trout and falklands minnows. Different species of krill
Krill
Krill is the common name given to the order Euphausiacea of shrimp-like marine crustaceans. Also known as euphausiids, these small invertebrates are found in all oceans of the world...

 are found in Falkland waters, with Lobster Krill inhabiting the warmer waters in the north.

There are no native tree species on the archipelago, although two species of bushes, fachine and native box
Hebe elliptica
Hebe elliptica is a plant of the family Plantaginaceae, which is endemic to New Zealand, Aisen and Magallanes in Chile, Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands. It is an evergreen, bushy shrub of 1 m or more in height, with green, oval leaves, 2–4 cm long. Flowers are white to pale...

 are found. Other vegetation consists of grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

es and fern
Fern
A fern is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem . They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants...

s. Around 363 species of vascular plant
Vascular plant
Vascular plants are those plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant. Vascular plants include the clubmosses, Equisetum, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms...

s, 21 species of fern
Fern
A fern is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem . They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants...

s and clubmosses and 278 species of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s have been recorded on the islands. Of the vascular plants, 171 are believed to be native and 13 to be endemic. Some bog
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s and fen
Fen
A fen is a type of wetland fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater. Fens are characterised by their water chemistry, which is neutral or alkaline, with relatively high dissolved mineral levels but few other plant nutrients...

s exist and support some freshwater plant species, but these are not common on the islands. Tussac grass, which averages 2 m (6.6 ft) in height but can reach up to 4 m (13 ft), is found within 300 m (1,000 ft) of the coast where it forms bands around larger islands. The dense canopies formed create an insulated micro-climate suitable for many birds and invertebrates. The Pale Maiden (Sisyrinchium jubatum) is the Islands' national flower.

There is little long-term data on habitat changes, so the extent of human impact is unclear. Vegetation such as tussac grass, fachine, and native box have been heavily impacted by introduced grazing animals. Many breeding birds similarly only live on offshore islands, where introduced animals such as cats and rats are not found. Virtually the entire area of the islands is used as pasture
Pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

 for sheep
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

. There is also an introduced reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 population, which was brought to the islands in 2001 for commercial purposes. Rats and Grey foxes have been introduced and are having a detrimental impact on birds that nest on the shores, as are feral cat
Feral cat
A feral cat is a descendant of a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild; the offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.In many parts of...

s. 22 introduced plant species are thought to provide a significant threat to local flora.

Climate



The Falkland Islands have a Maritime Subarctic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 (Koppen Cfc) that is very much influenced by the cool South Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 ocean and its northerly Patagonian current giving it a narrow annual temperature range. The January average maximum temperature is about 13°C (55°F), and the July maximum average temperature is about 4°C (39°F). The average annual rainfall is 573.6 millimetres (22.58 inches) with East Falkland being generally wetter than West Falkland. Humidity
Humidity
Humidity is a term for the amount of water vapor in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. Formally, humid air is not "moist air" but a mixture of water vapor and other constituents of air, and humidity is defined in terms of the water content of this mixture,...

 and winds are however constantly high. Snow and sleet are frequent in winter, although snowfall is rarely deep. Gales are very frequent, particularly in winter. The climate is similar to that of the Shetland islands
Shetland Islands
Shetland is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies north and east of mainland Great Britain. The islands lie some to the northeast of Orkney and southeast of the Faroe Islands and form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total...

 in the United Kingdom, but with less rainfall and longer and slightly more severe winters.

Economy




Except for defence, the islands are self sufficient with annual exports of $125 million and imports of $90 million (2004 estimate).

The Falkland Islands use the Falkland pound, which circulates interchangeably with the pound sterling
Sterling
Sterling may refer to:* Sterling silver, a grade of silver* Pound sterling, the currency of the United Kingdom- Businesses :* Hotel Sterling, a former hotel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States* Sterling Airlines...

 and which is backed by the pound sterling on a one-for-one basis. Falkland coins are produced in the United Kingdom; coins are identical in size to the United Kingdom currency but with local designs on the reverse. The Falkland Islands also issue their own stamps
Postage stamps and postal history of the Falkland Islands
This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Falkland Islands.-Early mails:Early mail service depended on occasional calls by ships connecting to the Brazil packet via Montevideo; the earliest recorded letter dates from 28 January 1827...

. Both the coins and stamps are a source of revenue from overseas collectors.

Farmland accounts for 1123985 ha (4,339.7 sq mi), more than 90% of the Falklands land area. Since 1984, efforts to diversify the economy have made fishing the largest part of the economy and brought increasing income from tourism. Sheep
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 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 Government Statistics there are over 500,000 sheep on the islands with roughly 60% on East Falkland and 40% on West Falkland.

The government has operated a fishing zone policy since 1986 with the sale of fishing licences to foreign countries. These licences have recently raised only £
Falkland Islands pound
The pound is the currency of the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. The symbol is the pound sign, £, or alternatively FK£, to distinguish it from other pound-denominated currencies...

12 to 15 million a year in revenue, as opposed to £20m to £25m annually during the 1990s. Locally registered fishing boats are also in operation. More than 75% of the annual catch of 200,000 tonnes (220,000 short tons) is squid
Squid (food)
Squid is a popular food in many parts of the world.In many of the languages around the Mediterranean sea, squid are referred to by a term related to the Italian "calamari" , which in English has become a culinary name for Mediterranean dishes involving squid, especially fried squid...

.
Tourism has grown rapidly. The islands have become a regular port of call for the growing market of cruise ships with more than 36,000 visitors in 2004. Attractions include the scenery and wildlife conservation with penguins, seabirds, seals
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

 and sealions, as well as visits to battlefields, golf, fishing and wreck diving
Wreck diving
Wreck diving is a type of recreational diving where shipwrecks are explored. Although most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks, there is an increasing trend to scuttle retired ships to create artificial reef sites...

. British military expenditures add to the islands' "tourism" income.

A 1995 agreement between the UK and Argentina had set the terms for exploitation of offshore resources including oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

 as geological surveys had shown there might be up to 60 billion barrels (9.5 billion cubic metres) of oil under the sea bed surrounding the islands. However, in 2007 Argentina unilaterally withdrew from the agreement. In response, Falklands Oil and Gas Limited has signed an agreement with BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton is a global mining, oil and gas company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and with a major management office in London, United Kingdom...

 to investigate the potential exploitation of oil reserves. 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.

In February 2010, exploratory drilling for oil was begun by Desire Petroleum
Desire Petroleum
Desire Petroleum plc is an oil and gas exploration company headquartered in Malvern, United Kingdom. It owns offshore exploration and production licences in the North Falkland Basin in the waters north of the Falkland Islands...

, but the results from the first test well were disappointing. Two months later, on 6 May 2010, Rockhopper Exploration
Rockhopper Exploration
Rockhopper Exploration PLC is an oil and gas exploration company headquartered in Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. It owns offshore exploration and production licences in the North Falkland Basin in the waters north of the Falkland Islands....

 announced that "it may have struck oil". Subsequent tests showed it to be a commercially viable find, an appraisal project was launched and on 14th September 2011 Rockhopper Exploration announced plans are under way for oil production to commence in 2016, through the use of Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO)
Floating Production Storage and Offloading
A floating production, storage and offloading unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore industry for the processing of hydrocarbons and for storage of oil. A FPSO vessel is designed to receive hydrocarbons produced from nearby platforms or subsea template, process them, and store oil until it...

 technology.

Demographics




Census figures show that the population rose from an estimate of 287 in 1851 to 2272 in 1911. It was 2094 in 1921 and 2392 in 1931 but then it declined and in 1980 the population was 1813. The population then rose and was 2955 in 2006. The 2006 census recorded 2115 people in Stanley and 477 in Mount Pleasant, 194 in the rest of East Falkland, 127 in West Falkland and 42 people in all the other islands. These figures exclude all military personnel and their families, but includes 477 people who were present in the Falkland Islands in connection with the military garrison. The CIA stated that in July 2008, the population was estimated to be 3,140.

The age distribution of the islands residents is skewed towards people of working age – 65% as opposed to 21% aged below 20 and 14% aged above 60. Males outnumber females by 53% to 47% with the deviation being most prominent in the age group . About 70 per cent are of British descent, primarily as a result of Scottish and Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

 immigration to the islands. The most predominant religion is Christianity, of which the primary denominations are Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, and Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

. The native-born inhabitants call themselves "Islanders"; the term "Kelpers
Kelpers
Kelpers is a nickname given to Falkland Islanders because the islands are surrounded by large seaweeds called kelp.This term is no longer used as commonly as it once was . Instead most prefer "Falkland Islanders" or even "Bennies".The term is used to describe the population in Argentine research...

", from the kelp
Kelp
Kelps are large seaweeds belonging to the brown algae in the order Laminariales. There are about 30 different genera....

 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'. With retrospective effect from 1 January 1983, as provided in the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983
British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983
The British Nationality Act 1983 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 28 March 1983...

, the islanders have been full British citizens
British nationality law
British nationality law is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship and other categories of British nationality. The law is complex because of the United Kingdom's former status as an imperial power.-History:...

. For the Argentine position on Falklanders’ citizenship, see Current claims.

Media


Freedom of expression in the Falkland Islands is guaranteed by the constitution, with the United Kingdom's superior courts explicitly empowered to hear appeals. Freedom of the press is comparable to that of the United Kingdom; which, in turn, in the view of many commentators
Press Freedom Index
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of their press freedom records. Small countries, such as Andorra, are excluded from this report...

, is significantly better than that of any other South American country. The islands have two weekly newspapers – The Penguin News, published by Mercopress and the Teaberry Express published by Falkland Islands News Network.

Falkland Islands technical standards for radio and television are identical to those in the United Kingdom or, in the case of Medium Wave broadcasts, the Americas. There are approximately 1000 television sets and 1000 radio receivers on the islands. Two terrestrial television channels are broadcast by the BFBS1 broadcasts while KTV Ltd.
KTV Ltd.
KTV Ltd. is a digital TV and radio service operating in the Falkland Islands. The cost is from £32.00 for satellite service. There is also an encrypted wireless digital cable service available in Stanley and part of the camp, which costs £30 for 24 channels. Founded in 1980 by Mario Zuvic, KTV Ltd...

 relay a number of satellite services such as BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 via cable
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 to subscribers in Stanley. Radio broadcasting is supported by seven FM radio stations and one AM radio station. The first broadcasting service, the Falkland Islands Broadcasting Service, established in 1929 used landlines connected to a speaker in people's homes. This was upgraded to wireless in 1942 and a 5 kW medium wave transmitter installed in 1954. VHF was introduced in 1999. In 2005 the service was privatised and renamed Falkland Islands Radio Service
Falkland Islands Radio Service
Falkland Islands Radio Service is an independent radio broadcaster in the Falkland Islands. The station broadcasts for 76 hours each week and provides a wide range of programming including all music genres, local news and phone-in shows. The station has five fulltime staff members and...

 (FIRS).

Telephone


The Falkland Islands has a modern telecommunications network providing fixed line telephone, ADSL and dial-up
Dial-up access
Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access that uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network to establish a dialled connection to an Internet service provider via telephone lines...

 internet services. Telephones to outlying settlements use microwave radio. The first telephones in the Falklands were installed in 1881 by the Falkland Island Company with lines to all settlements in Camp being installed by 1907. In 1911, Marconi built a telegraph office that permitted telegrams to be sent to Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

. In 1950 the fixed line telephone service to Camp was replaced by a radio service; the 2006 census showed that of the 307 2-metre radio receivers in the islands, 129 were located in Camp. In 1989, Cable and Wireless won the contract to provide the Island's national and international telephone services. In 2005, a GSM 900 mobile network was installed providing coverage to Stanley, Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas operating under the Touch Mobile brand.

In 2006, Broadband was successfully implemented in Stanley and Mount Pleasant Complex, and was rolled out across the islands in 2008/09. The International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

 figures for 2010 identified the Falkland Islands as having the highest proportion of internet users in the world - 95.84% as against 95.0% in Iceland (2nd), 85.0% in the United Kingdom, 79.0% in the United States and 36% in Argentina.

Transport


The Falkland Islands have 67 motor vehicles per 100 people with 4x4 vehicles accounting for 66% of the total. In 1982, the Falkland Islands had no roads outside Stanley, only tracks. By 2007, the Falkland Islands had a road network of 786 kilometres (488.4 mi) miles (786 km), with a further 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) miles (50 km) planned for construction by the end of 2013. This will complete the links to all occupied mainland settlements. Speed limits are 25 mph (40 km/h) in built-up areas and 40 mph (64 km/h) elsewhere.

The Falkland Islands have two airports with paved runways – the main international airport RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

, 27 miles (43.5 km) west of Stanley. opened in 1986 and the smaller Port Stanley Airport
Port Stanley Airport
Port Stanley Airport is a STOLport in the Falkland Islands, two miles outside the capital, Stanley. The airport is the only civilian airport in the islands with a paved runway...

 on the outskirts of Stanley, opened in 1979 following the 1971 Anglo-Argentine agreement regarding an air link between the countries. Mount Pleasant is used for military purposes and for heavy aircraft that require long runways, whereas Stanley is used for internal flights and smaller aircraft.

The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 operates flights from RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 to RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, about west north-west of London, is the largest station of the Royal Air Force. It is close to the settlements of Brize Norton, Carterton and Witney....

 in Oxfordshire, England, with a refuelling stop at RAF Ascension Island. RAF flights are on TriStars
Lockheed TriStar (RAF)
|-See also:-References:* Prothero, R.M. "Tristar:The answer to an operational requirement". Air International, March 1991, Vol 40 No. 3. pp. 128–134....

 although charter aircraft are often used if the TriStars are required for operational flights. Local military air support – moving of personnel, equipment and supplies around the islands is carried out under contract by British International (BRINTEL)
British International Helicopters
British International Helicopter Services Limited is an airline based at Penzance heliport, in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, with headquarters located at Sherborne, Dorset. It operates seasonal and year round domestic scheduled services to the Isles of Scilly. Its main base is Penzance...

 who operate two Sikorsky S61N
H-3 Sea King
The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King is a twin-engined anti-submarine warfare helicopter. It served with the United States Navy and other forces, and continues to serve in many countries around the world. The Sea King has been built under license in Italy and Japan, and in the United Kingdom as the...

 helicopters. The principal civilian air operator at Mount Pleasant is LAN Airlines who operate weekly flights to Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 via Punta Arenas with an additional stop once a month at Río Gallegos, Argentina.


The main operator at Port Stanley Airport is the Falkland Islands Government Air Service
Falkland Islands Government Air Service
Falkland Islands Government Air Service is an airline based in Stanley, Falkland Islands. It operates non-scheduled passenger services throughout the Falkland Islands. It also undertakes aerial surveillance of the exclusive economic zone surrounding the islands...

 (FIGAS) that operates Islander
Britten-Norman Islander
The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a 1960s British light utility aircraft, regional airliner and cargo aircraft designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. The Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in...

 aircraft which can use the grass airstrips at most settlements. Flight schedules, which are broadcast on the radio every evening, are planned on a daily basis according to passenger needs.
Private operators from Stanley include the British Antarctic Survey
British Antarctic Survey
The British Antarctic Survey is the United Kingdom's national Antarctic operation and has an active role in Antarctic affairs. BAS is part of the Natural Environment Research Council and has over 400 staff. It operates five research stations, two ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica....

 who operate an air link to the Rothera Research Station
Rothera Research Station
Rothera research station is a British Antarctic Survey base on the Antarctic Peninsula, located at Rothera Point, Adelaide Island. Rothera also serves as the capital of the British Overseas Territory, the British Antarctic Territory....

 on the Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica. It extends from a line between Cape Adams and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands....

 and also serve other British bases in the British Antarctic Territory
British Antarctic Territory
The British Antarctic Territory is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes and , forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole...

 using a de Havilland Canada Dash 7
De Havilland Canada Dash 7
The de Havilland Canada DHC-7, popularly known as the Dash 7, is a turboprop-powered regional airliner with STOL capabilities. It first flew in 1975 and remained in production until 1988 when the parent company, de Havilland Canada, was purchased by Boeing and was later sold to Bombardier...



See also



Further reading


External links