Falkland Islands Geography and Population

General information: Discovered by English sailors in 1592, the first landing on the islands (British) occurred only a century later in 1690, and the first settlement was founded by the French in 1764. According to VAULTEDWATCHES, the colony was ceded to Spain two years later, and the islands have since been the subject of territorial disputes of Great Britain, first with Spain, and then with Argentina. Britain reinforced its claim to the islands by garrisoning them in 1833. Argentina invaded the islands on April 2, 1982. The British landed an expeditionary force seven weeks later and, after fierce fighting, forced Argentina to concede on June 14, 1982.


Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina.
Geographic coordinates: 51°45’S latitude, 59° 00′ W
Reference map: South America.
Area: total: 12,173 km2; land surface area: 12,173 km2; water surface area: 0 km2; note: includes two main islands (East Falkland, West Falkland) and approximately 200 minor islands.
Comparative area: somewhat smaller than the state of Connecticut.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 1,288 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200 nautical miles; zone of exclusive right to fish: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: cold maritime; strong westerly winds, cloudy, damp; more than half of the days of the year rain; all year round, except for January and February, snow is possible, but there is no permanent snow cover.
Terrain: rocks, hills, also mountains, several swampy hilly plains.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Asborn 705 m.
Natural resources: fish, wildlife.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 99%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 1% (1993 est.).
Irrigated lands: no data.
Natural Hazards: Strong winds all year round.
Current environmental issues: no data available.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”: the heavily indented coast has many convenient harbors; short growing season.


Population: 2 895 people (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: up to 14 years: no data; from 15 to 64 years: no data; over 65 years: no data.
Population growth: 2.43% (2001 est.).
Fertility: no data.
Mortality: no data.
Migration: no data.
Sex ratio:
Child mortality: no data.
Life expectancy: for the general population: not available; men: no data; women: no data.
General birth rate: no data.
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Falkland Islander; adjective: Falkland.
Ethnic groups: English.
Believers: predominantly Anglicans, also Catholics, followers of the United Free Church, Evangelical Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists.
Language(s): English. State Title:


Common long form: no;
Common short form: Falkland (Malvinas) Islands. Dependency State: British Overseas Territory; also claimed by Argentina.
Capital: Stanley.
Administrative division: none (overseas territory of Great Britain; also claimed by Argentina).
Dependent territories:
Independence: none (overseas territory of Great Britain; also claimed by Argentina).
National holiday: Liberation Day, June 14 (1982).
Constitution: adopted October 3, 1985; corrected in 1997 and 1998.
Legal system: English common law.
Suffrage: from the age of 18, universal.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor Donald LAMONT (since May 1999); head of the GAR government (A. M. GURR) (since when – no data); financial secretary D. HOUATT (DF HOWATT) (from when – no data);
government: executive council, three members are elected by the Legislative Council, two are ex officio (head of government and financial secretary), the council also includes a governor; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the governor is appointed by the monarch.
Legislature: unicameral Legislative Council (10 seats – 2 are ex officio, 8 members are elected by direct universal suffrage for four years); elections: last held 9 October 1997 (next to be held October 2001); election results: distribution of votes cast: n/a; seat distribution: independent 8.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, Chief Justice is not a permanent resident of the islands.
Political parties and leaders: no; all independent.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ICFTU.
Diplomatic representation in the United States: none (overseas territory of Great Britain).
US Diplomatic Mission: none (overseas territory of Great Britain).
Flag description: blue with the flag of Great Britain on the upper left side and the coat of arms of the Falkland Islands in a white disc located on the right side of the flag; the coat of arms depicts a white ram (sheep breeding is the main economic activity) above the sailing ship “Desire” (whose team discovered the islands), at the bottom is the inscription “DESIRE THE RIGHT”.

Falkland Islands Geography