The Falkland Islands, also known as the Malvinas Islands, are home to many birdlife and sheep farms. It comprises 740 islands, mainly divided into East and West Falkland.
Stanley is known as the capital city of Falkland and is located in the east region. The region’s government is the self-rule governing British overseas territory.
It is at a distance of 8000 miles ( almost 13000 Km) from the United Kingdom. The entire Falkland island size is 12173 square kilometres.
Facts About the Falkland Islands
In this article, we will discover some significant facts about this place.
Falkland Islands’ main human history goes back 200 years.
In 1765, the British were first to settle on the West Islands, but they were driven off shortly by the Spanish in 1770. The Spanish bought out the French settlement in 1767.
After that, Spain controlled East Falkland (called Sole Dad Island) until 1811. Stanley was founded in 1845, and it remained the island’s capital.
Later, in 1885, some 1,800 people of Britain settled on these Islands, and from 1885 onwards, they were under the British.
Argentina never accepted it and fought the war with British forces in 1982.
2. Government and Community
The population of these Islands is around 3700 and mainly consists of Falkland islanders and British descent.
Nearly the total population is of British descent & 10 percent of the population is Spanish. The people are equivalent to the average medium-sized village in Britain.
As these are British overseas territories, the King or Queen of Britain is the officious head of the state. A governor-appointed United Kingdom government heads the islands’ government.
The Legislative Assembly consists of 10 members, eight of whom are elected for a four-year term, while the remaining two are The Chief executive and the director of finance. The governor appoints both, and they have no voting rights.
3. The Economy
Standard Chartered Bank is the only working bank in the country. It, therefore, becomes challenging to exchange Falkland’s currency outside.
The entire area of the two main islands ( East Falkland & West Falkland), outside of the capital city, Stanley, is the Hub of mainly sheep farming, the island’s main economic activity.
The sheep ranching business in an organized way started here in 1852 with the starting of The Falkland Islands Company (Charter by Royal Charter in 1851). The sheep farms vary in size and keep several thousand sheep in one farm.
Several hundred thousand tons of sheep wool & meat are annually sold in the United Kingdom and Britain. Sheep farming is the leading economic activity of this Island.
The government made policies to promote small & locally owned sheep farmhouses in the late 20th century to increase the participation of the local population.
To diversify the Islands’ economy, in 1987, the government began to permit fishing licenses to foreigners.
This move paid a rich dividend, and the revenue generated from fishing became one of the significant revenue generators for the economy. As per the study, the Falkland government is trying to explore oil extraction & exploration.
Stanley is the main city & harbour port. It is well connected by road and has a commercial harbour, harbouring commercial cruise ships here.
Falkland’s international airport is located at Mount Pleasant Airport. Apart from that, tourism is another economic activity developing rapidly here.
The unemployment ratio is almost zero here. The islands are economically prosperous and have financially adequate resources.
The social welfare system is sound. Primary education in this place is free, and several primary and secondary schools are present at Stanley, along with several smaller schools on numerous smaller islands.
The medical facility is mainly concentrated at the hospital in Stanley, which is also a free-of-cost service.
4. Tourism and Food
Eco-tourism and marine tourism have been rapidly developing since the start of the 21st century and are playing a leading role in the island’s economy.
Pebble Island is famous for the spherical pebbles found here. Small boats stop at outlying islands, and large cruise ships stop at Stanley port. The visiting cruise liners made these islands popular as tourist destinations.
Land Rover rentals are available in Stanley. The speed limit is 40km/h in Stanley, and for the rest of the area, it is 65 km/h.
Falkland is expensive due to the weather conditions and because most essentials are imported. There are very few hotels in Stanley with numerous beds and complimentary breakfasts.
The internet connectivity of this place is also excellent. The cable & wireless company offers sim cards & mobile phones to the citizens. Along with that, the visitor centre also offers computers & Wi-Fi hotspots.
The Falkland people are primarily traditional British, and their food habits are similar to Britain’s. Fish, chips, roast beef, mutton, and tea are readily available. Stanley has a few good restaurants & pubs.
Direct flights are available from Britain, and Santiago is the only nearest airport interchange hub. Due to poor landing strips, baggage weight rules are followed very strictly.
The Islands have somewhat spring weather throughout the year due to their location on the Atlantic Ocean.
Summer daytime temperatures are around 15 to 19 degrees Celsius, while winter daytime temperatures are between 04 and 08 degrees Celsius.
Peat is found in most islands, making it potentially dangerous for fire conditions.
Strong winds are common in many parts of the islands. It generally rains in the southeastern part of the region, and the far western islands get very little yearly precipitation.
Compared to the complete island, the weather on the east coast is relatively better. The coastal tussock grass covers most of the offshore islands. No plantation and vegetation are possible due to the chilly, damp climate.
6. Falkland’s War
The Falkland is a British territory. Not much attention was given to the International era until, in 1982, a war broke out between Britain and Argentina over the control of the land.
In ongoing territorial disputes, on 19th March 1982, Argentina captured British-controlled South Georgia and raised the Argentina flag. It was a more political move by the Junta’s military to gain mileage in Argentina’s internal politics.
On April 2nd, the Argentinian troops invaded the islands and captured the port city of Stanley.
By April 1982, Argentina had stationed more than 10000 troops. Argentina’s citizens very well took the move of Argentina’s military rulers, and demonstrations took place in support of the government.
Two aircraft carriers, HMS Hermes and the HMS Invincible, along with troop carriers, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Canberra, sailed towards the war zone.
Most European power support was withdrawn from the European Military base in Argentina. Except for Chile, most Latin American countries were in favour of Argentina.
The major event occurred when the United States supported Britain and allowed its Air missile communication system.
On the other side, Chile provoked Argentina over the dispute over islands in the Beagle Channel.
The threat from Chile made Argentina keep its trained soldiers on the Chile border; most soldiers sent to these Islands were untrained and poorly equipped.
On April 25, the British troops, via Ascension Island, recaptured South Georgia Island & captured Argentina’s old U.S.-made diesel-electric submarines.
In a week, a British nuclear submarine sunk Argentina’s cruiser General Belgrano. These events forced Argentina to keep ships at the port and not go to the war zone.
In this process, Argentina lost 20–30 percent of its fighter planes.
Weakened Argentina Forces, materially and morally, could not stop the British troops from landing on the Islands.
After landing at Port San Carlos, the British infantry advanced towards Stanley. After many days of fighting, the British infantry captured the high ground west of Stanley.
Then, the UK forces blocked the capital city and port. Consequently, on June 14, the Argentine occupation force surrendered and thus ended the unwanted war.
The Falkland War defeat proved wrong for Argentina’s military rulers, and they lost the election. On the contrary, in Britain, Margaret Thatcher won a thumping majority.
The Falkland Islands are on a development path today. With British support, it is growing as a travel destination.
The regions are rich today because of tourism, commercial fishing, and sheep farming. People are living here peacefully. Travelling to Falkland is a little tricky but worth it to see the lifestyle of the Island’s people.