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Falkland Islands

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.
Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina
Capital: Stanley
Currency: 1 Falkland pound = 100 pence

Geography of Falkland Islands

Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
Geographic coordinates: 51 45 S, 59 00 W
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
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,288 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: cold marine; strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; 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, wildlife
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 99%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 1% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: strong winds persist throughout the year
Geography – note: deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season

People of Falkland Islands

Population: 2,967 (July 2005 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.43% 
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

Falkland Islands Economy

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 United Kingdom and the sale of postage stamps and coins. To encourage tourism, the Falkland Islands Development Corporation has built three lodges for visitors attracted by the abundant wildlife and trout fishing. 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.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $52 million (FY95/96 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 1% (FY95/96 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $19,000 (FY95/96 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.6% (1998)
Labor force: 1,100 (est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)
Unemployment rate: full employment; labor shortage
revenues:  $66.2 million
expenditures:  $67.9 million, including capital expenditures of $23.2 million (FY98/99 est.)
Industries: wool and fish processing; sale of stamps and coins
Electricity – production: 12 million kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
Agriculture – products: fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products
Exports: $7.6 million (1995)
Exports – commodities: wool, hides, meat
Exports – partners: UK, Japan
Imports: $24.7 million (1995)
Imports – commodities: fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
Imports – partners: UK, Japan
Economic aid – recipient: $1.7 million (1995)
Currency: Falkland pound (FKP)

Map of Falkland Islands