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Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

(overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)


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Introduction

Background: Discovered in the 16th century and settled in the mid-18th century, 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

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
  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.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: strong winds persist throughout the year

Environment - current issues: NA

Geography - note: deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season

People

Population: 2,826 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: NA
  15-64 years: NA
  65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 2.44% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: NA years
  male: NA years
  female: NA years

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

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

Country name
  conventional long form: none
  conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Data code: FA

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

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 Donald LAMONT (since NA May 1999); Chief Executive A. M. GURR (since NA); Financial Secretary D. 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 monarch 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)
  elections: last held 9 October 1997 (next to be held NA October 2001)
  election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chief justice is a nonresident

Political parties and leaders: none; all independents

International organization participation: ICFTU

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 in a white disk centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms contains a white ram (sheep raising is 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

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. 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 - $NA

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: NA%
  industry: NA%
  services: NA%

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)

Labor force: 1,100 (est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 95% (mostly sheepherding and fishing)

Unemployment rate: full employment; labor shortage

Budget
  revenues: $66.1 million
  expenditures: $66.8 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY97/98 est.)

Industries: wool and fish processing; sale of stamps and coins

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 12 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 11 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

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

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid - recipient: $1.7 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Falkland pound = 100 pence

Exchange rates: Falkland pound per US$1 - 0.6092 (January 2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6106 (1997), 0.6403 (1996), 0.6335 (1995); note - the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: NA

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
  domestic: government-operated radiotelephone and private VHF/CB radiotelephone networks provide effective service to almost all points on both islands
  international: 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) (1997)

Televisions: 1,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 348 km
  paved: 83 km
  unpaved: 265 km

Ports and harbors: Stanley

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 5 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 2
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  under 914 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 3
  under 914 m: 3 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: British Forces Falkland Islands (includes Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and Royal Marines), Police Force

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: claimed by Argentina

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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated December 20, 2006

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