Record ID: 72

Site Name

Falkland Islands

Type

Islands

Description

Falkland Islands, Span. Islas Malvinas, (4,618 sq mi/11,961 sq km; 1991 pop. 2,121), S Atlantic, c.300 mi/483 km E of the Strait of Magellan. The isls. are administered as a Br. crown colony with the capital at Stanley. There are 2 large isls. (East Falkland and West Falkland) and some 200 small ones. Dependencies of the colony, scattered down into Antarctica, include South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Falklands proper are rather bleak, rocky moorlands, swept by wind and drenched by chill rain. Their economy used to be based on sheep raising and farming, but now fishing is becoming the major source of income for the isls. Whales and seals abound in the littoral waters, but the hunting of them has decreased in recent years. The govt. began selling fishing licenses to foreign commercial fishing operations in 1987. The Br. claim is based on probable discovery by the navigator John Davis in 1592, but the isls. were claimed and occupied at various times by England, Spain, France, and Argentina. When the seizure of an Amer. sealing vessel in 1832 led to a U.S. punitive expedition, the British, claiming sovereignty, occupied the isls. However, Argentina and Chile still claim them. Near the Falklands, in one of the most stirring naval engagements of World War I, the British under Sir Frederick Sturdee destroyed (Dec. 8, 1914) a German squadron under Graf von Spee. Argentina invaded the isls. in 1982 over a sovereignty dispute with Great Britain, but Br. forces responded quickly, forcing a surrender by the Argentines within 6 weeks. In 1989 Falkland Islanders reaffirmed their connection to Great Britain by rejecting a pro-Argentina political party. In 1995, Britain and Argentina made an agreement whereby gas and oil earnings from the offshore waters would be divided bet. the 2 countries; in waters E of the isls., Britain would get 66% and Argentina the rest, and in waters W of the isls., Britain and Argentina would split the earnings 50-50. Licenses would be granted by Britain for the E waters and by a joint commission for the W waters. CITATION "Falkland Islands." The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. http://www.columbiagazetteer.org/ . Accessed: May 3, 2006.
Location of Falkland Islands in South Atlantic Ocean (Image Id: 1478)
Location of Falkland Islands in South Atlantic Ocean (Image Id: 1478)