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Falkland Islands Government
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Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Background:  Although first sighted by an English navigator in 1592,
the first landing (English) did not occur until almost a century later
in 1690, and the first settlement (French) was not established until
1764. The colony was turned over to Spain two years later and 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 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

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 note: includes the two main islands of East
and West Falkland and about 200 small islands water: 0 sq km land:
12,173 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  1,288 km

Maritime claims:   200 NM territorial sea: 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% other: 100% (99% permanent
pastures, 1% other) (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  strong winds persist throughout the year

Environment - current issues:  overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a
problem; reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial
reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected
by the Chornobyl disaster

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

People Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Population:  2,967 (July 2002 est.)

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

Population growth rate:  2.44% (2002 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

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

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 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

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

Dependency status:  overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by

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

National holiday:  Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)

Constitution:  3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998

Legal system:  English common law

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:   Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) elections:
head of government: Governor Donald LAMONT (since NA May 1999); note -
Howard PEARCE was elected governor on 24 January 2002, but will not
take office until October 2002; 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

Legislative branch:  unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats - 2 ex
officio, 8 elected by popular vote, members serve four-year terms);
presided over by the governor elections: last held 22 November 2001
(next to be held NA November 2005) election results: percent of vote -
NA%; seats - independents 8; note - 71% voter turnout

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (chief justice is a nonresident);
Magistrates Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal
divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Political parties and leaders:  none; all independents

Political pressure groups and leaders:  none

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 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

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. 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. Tourism is increasing
rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. The second largest source
of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank.
The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $52 million (1996 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1% (FY95/96 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $19,000 (FY95/96 est.)

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: $66.2 million expenditures: $67.9 million, including
capital expenditures of $23.2 million (FY98/99 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  12 million kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(1999) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  11.2 million kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (1999)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (1999)

Agriculture - products:  fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products

Exports:  $7.6 million (1995)

Exports - commodities:  wool, hides, meat

Exports - partners:  UK, Japan, Chile, NZ

Imports:  $24.7 million (1995)

Imports - commodities:  fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing

Imports - partners:  UK, Japan, Chile, NZ

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  none

Currency:  Falkland pound (FKP)

Currency code:  FKP

Exchange rates:  Falkland pounds per US dollar - 0.6981 (January 2002),
0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6106
(1997); note - the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound

Fiscal year:  1 April - 31 March

Communications Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Telephones - main lines in use:  NA

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA 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) note: cable television is available in Stanley

Televisions:  1,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .fk

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  NA; however one-half of all households are reported to
have internet access (2002)

Transportation Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 550 km paved: at least 50 km unpaved: NA (2002)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Stanley

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  5 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 2 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 under
914 m: 1 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 3 3 under 914 m: 3 (2001)

Military Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Military branches:  British Forces Falkland Islands no regular indigenous
military forces; (includes Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy),
Police Force

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Disputes - international:  claimed by Argentina

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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