[Country map of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands]

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

(dependent territory of the UK)


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

Map references: Antarctic Region

total area: 4,066 sq km
land area: 4,066 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Rhode Island
note: includes Shag Rocks, Clerke Rocks, Bird Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: NA km

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

International disputes: administered by the UK, claimed by Argentina

Climate: variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year, interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

Terrain: most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism
international agreements: NA

Note: the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage; reindeer, introduced early in this century, live on South Georgia


Population: no indigenous population; there is a small military garrison on South Georgia, and the British Antarctic Survey has a biological station on Bird Island; the South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited


conventional long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
conventional short form: none

Digraph: SX

Type: dependent territory of the UK

Capital: none; Grytviken on South Georgia is the garrison town

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

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Commissioner David Everard TATHAM (since August 1992; resident at Stanley, Falkland Islands)

Legislative branch: no elections

Judicial branch: none


Overview: Some fishing takes place in adjacent waters. There is a potential source of income from harvesting fin fish and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps produced in the UK.

revenues: $291,777
expenditures: $451,000, including capital expenditures of $NA (1988 est.)

capacity: 900 kW
production: 2 million kWh
consumption per capita: NA kWh (1992)


total: NA
paved: NA
unpaved: NA

Ports: Grytviken

Airports: none


Telephone system: NA telephones; coastal radio station at Grytviken
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: NA

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

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK