Falkland Islands – 6 Amazing Facts

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falkland islands
Photo by Martin Wettstein on Unsplash

The Falkland Islands, also known as Malvinas Islands, are home to a large number of birdlife and sheep farms.

It consists of 740 islands, mainly divided into East Falkland and West Falkland.

Stanley is known as the capital city of Falkland and is located in the east region. 

The Falkland Islands government is the self-rule governing British overseas territory.

It is at a distance of 12978-kilo meters from the United Kingdom. The entire Falkland island size is 12173 square kilometres. 

Facts About the Falkland Island

In this article, we will come across some of the major facts about this place.

1. History

Falkland Islands’ main human history goes back 200 years.

The British sailor John Davis may have been the first person to reach this place in 1592, but the Netherlander Sebald de Weerdt made the first undisputed landing somewhere about 1600. 

In 1765, the British were first to settle at West islands, but they were driven off shortly by the Spanish in 1770. Spanish had bought out the French settlement in 1767.

After which, Spain controlled East Falkland (which it called Sole dad Island) till 1811.

Stanley was founded in 1845 and it continued to remain the capital of the island.

Later in 1885, some 1,800 people of Britain settled on the Falkland Islands, and from 1885 onwards Falkland islands were under the British.

Argentina never accepted it and fought the war with British forces in 1982. 

2. Falkland Islands Government and Community

The population of the Falkland Islands is around 3700 and mainly consists of Falkland islanders and British descent of nine generations.

Nearly the total population is of British descent & 10 per cent of the Falkland island population is Spanish.

The people of the Falkland Islands are equivalent to the average medium-sized village in Britain.

As the Falkland Islands are British overseas territory, the King or Queen of Britain is the Ex- officious head of the state.

A governor-appointed United kingdom government heads the islands’ government.

The Legislative Assembly consists of 10 members, eight of which are elected for a four-year term, while the remaining two are, The Chief executive and the director of finance, both are appointed by the governor and they have no voting rights.

The government of this place is self-governing and self-sufficient

3. The Falkland Islands Economy

Standard Chartered Bank is the only working bank in the Falkland Islands. It, therefore, becomes very difficult to exchange Falkland’s currency outside the Falkland Islands. 

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, which is also the main economical activity of the island.

The Falkland Islands’ sheep ranching business in an organized way started 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 economical activity of this Island.

The Falkland Islands government made policies to promote small & locally owned small sheep farmhouses in the late 20th century to increase the participation of the local population.

Falkland Islands
Photo by Zach Kirby on Unsplash

To diversify the Falklands islands’ economy, in 1987, the government began to permit fishing licenses to foreigners.

This move paid a rich dividend and the revenue generated out of fishing became one of the major revenue generators to 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 very well connected by road and it has a commercial wharf and commercial Cruise ships harboured here.

The international airport of Falkland is located at Mount Pleasant Airport.

Apart from that, tourism is another economic activity developing rapidly in the Falkland islands. 

The unemployment ratio is almost zero in the Falkland Islands. The islands are economically rich 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. Falkland Islands Tourism and Food

Eco-tourism and Marine tourism are rapidly developing since the start of the 21st century and 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 Falkland Islands, it is 65 km/h.

source: deposit photos

Falkland is expensive due to the weather conditions and also because most of the life essentials things are imported.

There are very few hotels in Stanley with numerous beds and complimentary breakfasts. 

The internet connectivity of this place is also very good. 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 available easily. Stanley has a few good restaurants & pubs.

The only fresh meat available is mutton, which is available in plenty. 

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.

5. Falkland Islands Weather

The Falkland Islands have fairly springily 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 around between 04 and 08 degrees Celsius.

Peat is found in most of the islands, making it potentially dangerous for fire conditions.

penguin
Photo by derek braithwaite on Unsplash

Strong winds are common in many parts of the islands.

It generally rains in the southeastern part of the Falkland Islands and the far western islands get very little yearly precipitation.

As 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 Islands is a British territory, not much attention was given in the International era until in 1982 a war broke out between Britain and Argentina over the control of the Falkland islands.

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 to gain mileage in the internal politics of Argentina by the military of the Junta.

On April 2nd, the Argentina troops invaded the Falkland islands and captured the port city of Stanley.

By April end 1982, Argentina stationed more than 10000 troops in the Falkland islands.

The move of Argentina’s military rulers were very well taken by Argentina citizens and demonstration 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 took place when the United States completely supported Britain and allowed its Air to 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, the majority of the soldiers sent to the Falkland Islands were untrained and poorly equipped.

war
Photo by Specna Arms on Unsplash

On April 25, the British troops via Ascension Island, recapture 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 to keep Argentina ships at the port and not go to the war zone.

In this process, Argentina, lost 20–30 per cent of its fighter planes.

Weakened Argentina Forces both materially and morally, were unable to stop the British troops from landing on the Falkland 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. As a consequence of it 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.

Conclusion

The Falkland Islands are on a development path today. With British support, it is growing as a travel destination also.

The Falkland Islands are rich today because of tourism, commercial fishing, and sheep farming. People are living here peacefully.

Travelling to Falkland is a little tough but worth it to see the lifestyle of the Island’s people.

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