Gaily painted houses at Stanley

Falkland Islands, Conflict Country - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 27th January 2019
hello world!

Who Owns the Falkland Islands?

The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory. They are self-governing, except for matters of defence and foreign affairs; the people voted to remain a British Overseas Territory in a referendum.

The British claim to sovereignty dates from 1690, and the United Kingdom has exercised de facto sovereignty over the archipelago almost continuously since 1833. … They gained full British citizenship with the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, after British victory in the Falklands War.

Argentina has claimed the Falkland Islands, since 1927. Their primary claim is based on proximity to Argentina and historical legacy from Spanish settlements in the area . They have never had any permanent Argentinian outpost on the island and their claim is only recognised by a few neighbouring countries in South America. They attempted an invasion in 1982, which led to the Falkland Islands War with the United Kingdom.

The Falkland Islands - Facts and Factoids

  • The Falklands are entirely financially self-sufficient, except for the cost of defence, which is only necessary in light of the threat from Argentina - the cost of which amounts to some 0.177% of the total UK defence budget.
  • The population is around 3,000 – almost all British by birth or descent.
  • There are 500,000 sheep on the islands.
  • The currency is the Falkland Islands pound, which is worth exactly the same as British pound sterling.
  • The islands are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands due to predation by introduced species.
  • There's also oil exploration mooted which probably explains most of Argentina's interest.

How Many Islands are in the Falkland Islands?

The Falkland Islands archipelago consists of two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland, and about 776 smaller islands. They have a land area of 4,700 square miles and a coastline estimated at 800 miles.

Are the Falkland Islands Safe?

Crime is relatively unknown in the Falkland Islands. This must must be one of the safest places for the solo traveller to visit. Muggings and pickpockets belong to another world. The islanders are friendly. Once you've managed to get to this remote place.

Getting In and Out of the Falkland Islands

You come by boat or fly from Ushaiaa. I arrive by boat from South Georgia, which takes a very long time because of the ocean swell. Bad weather has plagued us the whole trip and the weather gods are rolling the dice again. A big storm is forecast and they’re shutting Mount Pleasant (not very appropriately named) Airport – there will be no planes leaving. I have a whole series of connecting flights planned up to Aruba in the Caribbean.

I spend most of my time in Stanley queuing outside the LATAM office, which is open from 10-12 on a Saturday morning. It costs me £1500 to buy new tickets. LATAM say it’s not their fault the airport is closed and Avianca don’t have any economy seats left up to Aruba. It’s almost New Year’s Eve. It feels more like Bah Humbug! I’m lucky. I was fourth in the queue. There are still folk standing outside the office at 12.30 a.m.

The airport is open again the next day. It's 40 miles or so from Stanley; East Falkland is a surprisingly big island and we haven’t even ventured very far inland, according to my map. The stark green hills, littered with copious amounts of stone, look beautiful in the summer weather, though it’s probably a gloomy prospect the rest of the year. There’s a fairly large river running through them - the Fitzroy, named after the captain of the Beagle. Mount Pleasant is the military base, established after the 1982 war and we have to be vetted before we're allowed through the gate. Aruba is four connecting flights away…

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