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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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

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Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the tip of South America

Geographic coordinates: 54 30 S, 37 00 W

Map references: Antarctic Region

  total: 4,066 sq km
  land: 4,066 sq km
  water: 0 sq km (Note: includes Shag Rocks, Clerke Rocks, Bird Island)

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: NA km

Maritime claims
  exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

Terrain: most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
  highest point: Mount Paget (South Georgia) 2,915 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use
  arable land: 0%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 0%
  forests and woodland: 0%
  other: 100% (largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

Natural hazards: the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism

Environment - current issues: NA

Geography - note: the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage; reindeer, introduced early in this century, live on South Georgia


Population: no indigenous inhabitants (Note: there is a small military garrison on South Georgia, and the British Antarctic Survey has a biological station on Bird Island; the South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited (July 2000 est.))


Country name
  conventional long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  conventional short form: none

Data code: SX

Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina; administered from the Falkland Islands by UK civil commissioner Donald A. LAMONT, representing Queen ELIZABETH II; Grytviken, formerly a whaling station on South Georgia, is the garrison town

Capital: none; Grytviken on South Georgia is the garrison town

National holiday: Liberation Day 14 June (1982)

Constitution: adopted 3 October 1985

Legal system: English Common Law

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: the flag of the UK is used


Economy - overview: Some fishing takes place in adjacent waters. There is a potential source of income from harvesting fin fish and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps produced in the UK.

  revenues: $291,777
  expenditures: $451,000, including capital expenditures of $NA (1988 est.)

Electricity - production: 2 million kWh

Electricity - production by source: NA

Electricity - consumption: NA


Telephone system
  domestic: NA
  international: coastal radiotelephone station at Grytviken

Radio broadcast stations: none

Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997)


Ports and harbors: Grytviken

Airports: none


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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