Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
(dependent territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina)
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Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)


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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

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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

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


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Population: 2,805 (July 1998 est.)

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

Population growth rate: 4.13% (1998 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
male: NA
female: NA

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

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


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Country name:
conventional long form: Colony of the Falkland Islands
conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Data code: FA

Dependency status: dependent territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina

Government type: NA

National capital: Stanley

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina)

Independence: none (dependent 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 of the UK (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor Richard RALPH (since 29 January 1996); Chief Executive A. GURR (since NA); First Secretary R. T. JARVIS (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 queen is a hereditary monarch; governor appointed by the queen

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats, 8 elected, 2 ex officio; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held NA October 1997 (next to be held NA October 2002)
election results: percent of vote—NA; seats—independents 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chief justice is non-resident

Political parties and leaders: none; all independents

International organization participation: ICFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (dependent territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (dependent 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


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Economy—overview: The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, which directly or indirectly employs most of the work force. 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. Rich stocks of fish in the surrounding waters are not presently exploited by the islanders. So far, efforts to establish a domestic fishing industry have been unsuccessful. The economy has diversified since 1987, when the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falklands exclusive fishing zone; overfishing is a growing problem. These license fees total more than $40 million per year and support the island's health, education, and welfare system. 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. 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%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 1,100 (est.)
by occupation: agriculture 95% (mostly sheepherding)

Unemployment rate: full employment; labor shortage

revenues: $53.4 million
expenditures: $53.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994-95 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 9,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 10 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,316 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: fodder and vegetable crops; sheep farming, small dairy herds

total value: $7.6 million (1995)
commodities: wool, hides, meat
partners: UK, Netherlands, Japan (1992)

total value: $24.7 million (1995)
commodities: fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing
partners: UK, Netherlands Antilles, Japan (1992)

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
note: UK, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments totaled $18 million (1993-94)

Currency: 1 Falkland pound (£F) = 100 pence

Exchange rates: Falkland pound (£F) per US$1—0.6115 (January 1998), 0.6106 (1997), 0.6403 (1996), 0.6335 (1995), 0.6529 (1994), 0.6658 (1993); note—the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


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Telephones: 1,180 (1991 est.)

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: 1 (government operated)

Radios: 1,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (government operated)

Televisions: NA


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Railways: 0 km

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

Ports and harbors: Stanley

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 5 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
under 914 m: 3 (1997 est.)


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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

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Disputes—international: claimed by Argentina