[Country map of Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)]

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

(dependent territory of the UK)


Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina

Map references: South America

total area: 12,170 sq km
land area: 12,170 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Connecticut
note: includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 small islands

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,288 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: administered by the UK, claimed by Argentina

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

Natural resources: fish, wildlife

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 99%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 1%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: strong winds persist throughout the year
international agreements: NA

Note: deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season


Population: 2,317 (July 1995 est.)

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

Population growth rate: 2.43% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: NA

Death rate: NA

Net migration rate: NA

Infant mortality rate: NA

Life expectancy at birth: NA

Total fertility rate: NA

noun: Falkland Islander(s)
adjective: Falkland Island

Ethnic divisions: British

Religions: primarily Anglican, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, Evangelist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist

Languages: English

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


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

Digraph: FA

Type: dependent territory of the UK

Capital: Stanley

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Independence: none (dependent territory of the UK)

National holiday: Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)

Constitution: 3 October 1985

Legal system: English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor David Everard TATHAM (since August 1992)
cabinet: Executive Council; 3 members elected by the Legislative Council, 2 ex-officio members (chief executive and the financial secretary), and the governor

Legislative branch: unicameral
Legislative Council: elections last held 11 October 1989 (next to be held October 1994); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (10 total, 8 elected) independents 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: NA

Member of: ICFTU

Diplomatic representation in US: none (dependent territory of the UK)

US diplomatic representation: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Flag: 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


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. 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.

National product: GDP $NA

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.4% (1980-87 average)

Unemployment rate: NA%; labor shortage

revenues: $65 million
expenditures: $55.2 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1992-93)

Exports: at least $14.7 million
commodities: wool, hides and skins, and meat
partners: UK, Netherlands, Japan (1987 est.)

Imports: at least $13.9 million
commodities: food, clothing, timber, and machinery
partners: UK, Netherlands Antilles (Curacao), Japan (1987 est.)

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: 9,200 kW
production: 17 million kWh
consumption per capita: 7,253 kWh (1993)

Industries: wool and fish processing

Agriculture: predominantly sheep farming; small dairy herds; some fodder and vegetable crops

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1992-93), $87 million

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

Exchange rates: Falkland pound (#F) per US$1 - 0.6350 (January 1995), 0.6529 (1994), 0.6658 (1993), 0.5664 (1992), 0.5652 (1991), 0.5604 (1990); note - the Falkland pound is at par with the British pound

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Railroads: 0 km

total: 510 km
paved: 30 km
unpaved: gravel 80 km; unimproved earth 400 km

Ports: Stanley

Merchant marine: none

total: 5
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 4


Telephone system: 590 telephones
local: NA
intercity: government-operated radiotelephone and private VHF/CB radio networks provide effective service to almost all points on both islands
international: 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station with links through London to other countries

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: British Forces Falkland Islands (includes Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and Royal Marines), Police Force

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK