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Friday, 16 January 2015

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) are a 4,700-square-mile archipelago of hundreds of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf.

East and West Falkland, the two largest islands, are about 300 miles east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S.

The first recorded landing on the Islands was by British Captain John Strong aboard the Welfare in 1690.

At various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements.

Port Egmont, the first British settlement in the Falkland Islands, was founded on January 25, 1765. It was established by an expedition led by Commodore John Byron that left a vegetable garden..

Port Egmont was named after the second Earl of Egmont, who was a prominent politician and notably served as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Spanish map of Port Egmont in 1780.

With the arrival of two British naval ships at the Falkland Islands, the United Kingdom re-asserted sovereignty there although Argentina maintained its claim to the islands.

On March 19, 1982, Argentinian forces posing as scrap metal merchants, occupied the abandoned whaling station at Leith Harbour on South Georgia. The following month they occupied the Falkland Islands precipitating war with the United Kingdom. British administration was restored two months later at the end of the Falklands War.

HMS Invincible, 

During The Falklands War, British and Argentine forces setup a 37km neutral zone for hospital ships. The safe area hosted four British and three Argentine vessels, which often cooperated to save wounded combatants.

The Dire Straits song "Brothers in Arms," was written about the Falklands War.

Falkland Islanders have been British citizens since 1983.

The Falklands have internal self-governance, with the United Kingdom taking responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs.

When in 2013 the Falkland Islands held a referendum about remaining British or becoming Argentinian, only three people voted in favor of Argentina.

The islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.

There is one weekly newspaper, the Penguin News which is issued every Friday

There is no McDonalds or Starbucks or Tesco,– in fact no chain shops or restaurants of any kind.

The Falklands is a favourite destination for wildlife lovers, hosting thousands of penguins, elephant seals, sea lions, and 65% of the world’s black-browed albatross bird population.

Penguins are too light to set off landmines, which has resulted in penguins flourishing in the Falkland Islands due to the landmines left behind by the Argentinian military and whalers being unable to get at them.

There are 167 times as many sheep as permanent residents in the Falkland Islands.

The population (2,932 inhabitants in 2012) primarily consists of native Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.

Immigration from the United Kingdom, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, and Chile has reversed a population decline.

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