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Falkland Islands[Country flag of Falkland Islands]
[Country map of Falkland Islands]

Introduction Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Background:
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 Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982.
Geography Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Location:
Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
Geographic coordinates:
51 45 S, 59 00 W
Map references:
South America
Area:
total: 12,173 sq km
land: 12,173 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 small islands
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
1,288 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
cold marine; strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; average annual rainfall is 24 inches in Stanley; occasional snow all year, except in January and February, but does not accumulate
Terrain:
rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m
Natural resources:
fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2001)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
strong winds persist throughout the year
Environment - current issues:
overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the Chornobyl disaster
Geography - note:
deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
People Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Population:
2,967 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.44% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
NA births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
NA deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
NA children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island
Ethnic groups:
British
Religions:
primarily Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, Evangelist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist
Languages:
English
Government Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina
Government type:
NA
Capital:
Stanley
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
Independence:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
National holiday:
Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
Constitution:
3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998
Legal system:
English common law
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor Howard PEARCE (since 3 December 2002); Chief Executive Chris SIMPKINS (since NA March 2003); Financial Secretary Derek F. HOWATT (since NA)
cabinet: Executive Council; three members elected by the Legislative Council, two ex officio members (chief executive and the financial secretary), and the governor
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats - 2 ex officio, 8 elected by popular vote, members serve four-year terms); presided over by the governor
elections: last held 22 November 2001 (next to be held November 2005)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 8; note - 71% voter turnout
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident); Magistrates Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Political parties and leaders:
none; all independents
Political pressure groups and leaders:
none
International organization participation:
ICFTU, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
Flag description:
blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Falkland Island coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms contains a white ram (sheep raising was once the major economic activity) above the sailing ship Desire (whose crew discovered the islands) with a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto DESIRE THE RIGHT
Economy Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Economy - overview:
The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing contributes the bulk of economic activity. In 1987 the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falklands exclusive fishing zone. These license fees total more than $40 million per year, which goes to support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squid accounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Exports feature shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentina and the UK in 1995 seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$75 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
NA%
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $25,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force:
1,100 (est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
Unemployment rate:
full employment; labor shortage (2001)
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (1998)
Budget:
revenues: $66.2 million
expenditures: $67.9 million, including capital expenditures of $23.2 million (FY98/99 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products
Industries:
fish and wool processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Electricity - production:
19.06 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
17.72 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Exports:
$82 million (2002)
Exports - commodities:
wool, hides, meat
Exports - partners:
Spain 77.4%, UK 9.4%, US 4.9% (2004)
Imports:
$53 million (2002)
Imports - commodities:
fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
Imports - partners:
UK 63.2%, Spain 30.3%, France 3.6% (2004)
Debt - external:
$NA
Economic aid - recipient:
$0 (1997 est.)
Currency (code):
Falkland pound (FKP)
Currency code:
FKP
Exchange rates:
Falkland pounds per US dollar - 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001), 0.6609 (2000)
note: the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Telephones - main lines in use:
2,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: government-operated radiotelephone and private VHF/CB radiotelephone networks provide effective service to almost all points on both islands
international: country code - 500; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) with links through London to other countries
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 7, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
1,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (operated by the British Forces Broadcasting Service)
note: cable television is available in Stanley (2002)
Televisions:
1,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.fk
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
NA; however one-half of all households are reported to have internet access (2002)
Transportation Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Highways:
total: 440 km
paved: 50 km
unpaved: 390 km (2002)
Ports and harbors:
Stanley
Merchant marine:
none
Airports:
5 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Military Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Military branches:
no regular military forces
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Disputes - international:
Argentina, which claims the islands in its constitution and briefly occupied the islands by force in 1982, agreed in 1995 to no longer seek settlement by force; UK continues to reject Argentine requests for sovereignty talks

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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