The Future of the Falkland Islands and Its People/On the Map

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GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

The Falkland Islands are situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, facing the Strait of Magellan to the west, South Georgia to the east, and the Antarctic Peninsula area to the south.

Some relevant distances from the capital Stanley:

Isla de los Estados (Argentina) 520 km;
Rio Grande (Argentina) 710 km;
Puerto Williams (Chile) 740 km;
Rio Gallegos (Argentina) 800 km;
Punta Arenas (Chile) 890 km;
Shag Rocks (South Georgia/UK) 1,090 km;
St. Kliment Ohridski (Bulgarian Antarctic base) 1,230 km;
Grytviken (South Georgia/UK) 1,450 km;
Rothera (British Antarctic base) 1,850 km;
Montevideo (Uruguay) 1,880 km;
Porto Alegre (Brazil) 2,470 km;
Gough Island (UK) 3,840 km;
Tristan da Cunha (UK) 3,900 km;
Bouvet Island (Norway) 3,980 km;
Rapa Nui (or Easter Island, Chilean Polynesia) 5,070 km;
St. Helena (UK) 6,060 km;
Cape Town (South Africa) 6,230 km;
Ascension Island (UK) 6,250 km;
Cayenne (French Guiana) 6,280 km;
Pitcairn Island (British Polynesia) 6,650 km;
Walvis Bay (Namibia) 6,830 km; and
Auckland (New Zealand) 8,920 km.

POLITICAL LOCATION

The Falklands is one of the fourteen UK Overseas Territories comprising also:

St. Helena and its dependencies Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha group (Tristan da Cunha, Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (geographically in Antarctica but not covered by the Antarctic Treaty) in the South Atlantic;

Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke etc.), the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman), Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales etc.) in the Caribbean;

Bermuda in the North Atlantic;

Gibraltar on the European mainland;

the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus in the Mediterranean;

the British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago comprising Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos, Nelsons, Egmont Islands, Danger, Eagle Islands, Three Brothers, and Salomon Islands) in the Indian Ocean;

Pitcairn Islands (Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno) in the Pacific Ocean; and

the British Antarctic Territory (administered internationally under the Antarctic Treaty regime that applies to the area south of 60° South Latitude) in Antarctica.

The inhabited Overseas Territories, along with England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man constitute the family of British nations.

EUROPEAN SOUTH ATLANTIC/AMERICAN TERRITORIES

Apart from the numerous British islands, European territories in the region of South Atlantic and South America are also the Norwegian Antarctic island of Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island), and the French overseas department of French Guiana (home to the European Spaceport in Kourou) on the South American mainland.

FALKLANDS ARCHIPELAGO

The Falklands archipelago is made up of two major islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, and several hundred smaller islands including Pebble Island, Keppel Island, Saunders Island, Carcass Island, West Point Island, Jason Islands, New Island, Beaver Island, Staats Island, Weddell Island, Swan Island, Speedwell Island, George Island, Beauchêne Island, Sea Lion Island, Bleaker Island, Lively Island etc.

SUMMITS

The Falklands summits Mount Usborne (705 m) on East Falkland, and Mount Adam (700 m) on West Falkland are lower than the highest peaks Mount Paget (2,934 m) of South Georgia (UK), Ben Nevis (1,343 m) of Scotland (UK), Musala (2,925 m) of Bulgaria, or even Scafell Pike (978 m) of England (UK).

TERRITORY

Land area: 12,173 km². Approximately equal to that of Northern Ireland (UK), or Connecticut (US), Jamaica, Qatar, West Midlands region (England/UK), Île-de-France region (France), Murcía, Asturias or Navarra provinces (Spain), Campania province (Italy), Tirol province (Austria), Izmir province (Turkey), Qom province (Iran), Lampang province (Thailand), or Niigata prefecture (Japan).

The territory of the Falkland Islands is also:

0.006 times the size of Greenland (Denmark);
0.15 times the size of French Guiana;
0.6 times the size of Slovenia or Israel;
0.7 times the size of Swaziland or Valparaíso region (Chile);
0.8 times the size of Schleswig-Holstein province (Germany) or Kaliningrad oblast (Russia);
1.1 times the size of Jamaica;
1.2 times the size of Lebanon;
1.3 times the size of Cyprus;
1.4 times the size of Puerto Rico (US);
1.7 times the size of the state of Sikkim (India);
2.2 times the size of Prince Edward Island province (Canada);
2.4 times the size of Trinidad & Tobago;
3 times the size of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands (UK); and 4.7 times the size of Luxembourg.

COASTLINE

Coastline: 1,288 km. This equals 0.38 times the coastline of France, 1.95 times that of Uruguay, 2.86 times that of the Netherlands, and 3.64 times that of Bulgaria.

MARITIME ZONE

The Falkland Islands Government exercises sovereignty over the oil exploration and fisheries in an offshore exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of over 400,000 km².

CLIMATE

Stanley climate: average temperature of the warmest month 9.3°C (48.7°F), of the coldest month 2°C (35.6°F), annual 5.7°C (42.3°F), average annual rainfall 610 mm (24 inches).

Comparative data for some other locations:

London 17°C (62.6°F), 3.9°C (39°F), 9,9° (49.8°F), 611 mm (24 inches);

Tórshavn (Faroe Islands, Denmark) 10.5°C (50.9°F), 3.4°C (38.1°F), 6.5°C (43.7°F), 1,476 mm (58.1 inches);

Grytviken (South Georgia/UK) 5.4°C (41.7°F), -1.5°C (29.3°F), 1.8°C (35.2°F), 1,473 mm (58 inches);

Bulgarian Antarctic base (on Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands; ‘Livingston got just about the worst weather in the world’ – Australian mountaineer Damien Gildea who climbed Mount Friesland in 2003) 1.3°C (34.34°F), -7°C (19.4°F), -2.7°C (27.1°F), 800 mm (31.5 inches);

Cherni Vrah (peak rising to 2,290 m just 6.5 km from Sofia) 8.6°C (47.5°F), -8.1°C (17.4°F), 0.1°C (32.2°F), 1,178 mm (46.4 inches); and

Sofia 20.1°C (68.2°F), -1.1°C (30°F), 9.9°C (49.8°F), 575 mm (22.6 inches).

POPULATION

Population: 3,000, annual growth rate 2.44% (2003 CIA estimate). Distribution by country of birth according to 2001 census:

Falklands 45%;
UK 31%;
St. Helena & Ascension (UK) 15%;
Chile 2.2%;
Australia 1.1%;
Argentina 0.8%;
New Zealand 0.7%;
United States 0.5%;
Russia 0.4%;
Philippines 0.4% etc.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity): 25,000 US dollars, comparable with UK’s 25,300 dollars (2002 CIA estimate).