Falkland Islands

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Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands flag
Falkland Islands Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : "Desire the Right" (desire the right thing)
Official language English
Capital Stanley
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II
represented by
Governor Nigel Phillips
Head of government Barry Rowland
area 12,173 km²
population approx. 3,000 (2020)

+ approx. 1,700 stationed soldiers

currency Falkland Pound (FKP)
National anthem God Save the Queen
Time zone UTC − 4
Internet TLD .fk
Phone code +500
Falkland Islands in South America.svg
Falkland Islands Map.svg
Template: Infobox State / Maintenance / NAME-GERMAN

The Falkland Islands ( English Falkland Islands ), also Malwinen ( French Îles Malouines , Spanish Islas Malvinas ), are a group of islands in the southern Atlantic . Geographically, they belong to South America and are 395 km east of southern Argentina and Tierra del Fuego . The Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory with internal autonomy. The UK takes on defense and foreign policy. They have been claimed by Argentina since 1833 .


The Falkland Islands were part of the primary continent of Gondwana about 400 million years ago . Originally located off today's east coast of South Africa, a small fragment of the crust that now makes up the islands was isolated and drifted west. During the Jura , about 170 million years ago, the pieces of land that today form East and West Falkland turned by about 120 °.


The Falkland Islands consist of around 200 islands, the most important of which are the West and East Falklands , each with a size of around 6000  km² (140 km × approx. 50 km). The northern parts of the two main islands are covered by ranges of hills. They run in a west-east direction and reach an altitude of 708 m in Mount Usborne on East Falkland. The second highest mountain is called Mount Adam and is located on West Falkland.

The wide Falklandsund , on which Port Howard is located, runs between East and West Falkland . The east island itself is almost divided in half by a long fjord (near Darwin ); on its east coast facing the Atlantic lies the capital Stanley with around 2000 inhabitants. Of the remaining 200 islands, only about five are larger than 10 km².

The present day landscape of the Falkland Islands was shaped by the repeated glaciations during the Ice Age . Above all, a glacial erosion landscape was formed. Fjords , round humps and lakes formed by the ice are typical. In the post-glacial many tracts of land are due to the cold, damp climate vermoort .

Major islands

Flora and fauna

Gypsy Cove

The dwarf shrub heaths of the Falkland Islands are sometimes referred to as tundra due to their appearance , although the milder climate and the lack of permafrost soils differ significantly from the typical tundra climate. The assignment of vegetation is inconsistent in the literature.

In total, the flora of the Falkland Islands lists 278 species. The islands are covered with numerous grasses - mostly sedges and bluegrass species - as well as various species of clover . A specialty is the arachnitis uniflora , which is otherwise only native to South America . Trees are not originally found on the islands. There are a few trees planted today, mostly conifers .

There was only one native land mammal in the Falkland Islands , the Falkland fox , which was extinct in the 19th century. There are also 63 native bird species, including albatrosses , versicolor ducks , the Falkland thrush , the endemic Falkland pipit , the Falklands - and the crested caracara . Penguin colonies that number several million animals breed on the coasts . There are also colonies of maned seals , South American fur seals and southern elephant seals on the coast . Today, in addition to the very common sheep, there are numerous introduced animals on the islands , such as rats , mice , rabbits and cats .


Monthly Average Temperatures and Rainfall for Stanley, Falkland Islands
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temperature ( ° C ) 8.7 9.0 8.2 5.8 3.9 2.4 2.2 2.6 3.4 5.2 7.0 7.7 O 5.5
Precipitation ( mm ) 78 55 44 46 58 47 50 42 36 34 41 72 Σ 603
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The climate is cold, windy and rainy. The annual average temperature is only 5 ° C. Compared to London or Cologne , which are on the same (northern) latitude , this is a difference of almost 5 ° C. This is mainly due to the north-south distribution of land and the Gulf Stream , which influences the climate in the northern hemisphere . Only in midsummer (December, January and February) does the temperature rise to almost 20 ° C on a few days. Otherwise, the average daily temperature between October and April is 8 ° C to 12 ° C. Compared to European climatic conditions, the Falkland Islands have late autumn temperatures even in the spring and summer months. There is often frost between May and September. During the day during these months the temperature rarely rises above 1 ° C to 3 ° C. Due to the oceanic climate, severe frosts of below −15 ° C are the exception. It rains or snows an average of 200 days a year.

Overall, the climate is more similar to that of the Shetland or Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, although the seasons in Falkland are even more maritime, i.e. the summers are cooler and the winters milder.


John Davis , explorer of the Falkland Islands

Before the arrival of European settlers, the Falkland Islands were uninhabited. In 1592 they were discovered by the English navigator John Davis , who only sighted them. He had set out from Puerto Deseado in search of the other three ships under the command of Thomas Cavendish , but had got caught in a storm that took him to Falklands. It was another 98 years before the islands were first set foot on by John Strong in 1690 . He gave the strait between the two main islands, in honor of the "Treasurer of the Navy" and British politician Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland , the name Falkland Channel . The name "Falkland" was later transferred to the entire archipelago.

The first settlement, Port-Louis in East Falkland, was founded in 1764 under French rule by Louis Antoine de Bougainville ; In 1766, the British established the Port Egmont settlement on West Falkland , but withdrew there eight years later. The Argentine name Islas Malvinas goes back to the French name of the archipelago - " Îles Malouines " - which refers to the seamen and fishermen from the Breton port city of Saint-Malo , who were the first known settlers on the archipelago.

Port-Louis was handed over to Spain in 1766 . In 1811 Spain stopped maintaining the colony, but did not renounce sovereignty over the islands. Since then, the Falkland Islands have been the subject of territorial disputes, initially between Great Britain and Spain, and then between Great Britain and Argentina to this day . In 1820 the archipelago was physically taken over by Argentina, the Argentine settlement in Port Louis had up to 100 inhabitants.

The United Kingdom asserted its claims by establishing a naval base on the island in 1833 and forcing the Argentine administration to withdraw. In 1837 a colonial administration was established.

During the First World War , the naval battle of the Falkland Islands took place between German cruisers and a superior British fleet . The German East Asian squadron under Vice Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee wanted to break through into the Atlantic towards Germany and was almost completely destroyed on December 8, 1914 by the British under Vice Admiral Sir Frederik Doveton Sturdee .

Argentine military cemetery in East Falkland (2008)

The military occupation of the islands by Argentina on April 2, 1982 triggered the Falklands War : Great Britain reacted and landed with troops on the islands seven weeks later. After short but bloody fighting, the British troops were able to persuade Argentina to give up on June 14, 1982. About 900 soldiers were killed, 649 of them Argentinians.

In total, the Falklands War killed more than 1,000 people. Since then, a larger number of soldiers have been stationed on the islands, in 2012, according to the British Ministry of Defense, 1,350 men under the command of the "Commander of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands" (CBFSAI). Most of them are infantrymen, engineers and radio operators. In addition, various British warships are permanently stationed in the South Atlantic, currently among others. the HMS Clyde and the HMS Portland , as well as allegedly Trafalgar- class submarines with nuclear weapons. In the past decade the latent conflict had relaxed somewhat in the general perception. Since 60 billion barrels of oil have been suspected here, many Latin American governments have shown solidarity with Argentina. The political leadership of the country renews the Argentine claim to the islands every year, as does the former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner .

In connection with the territorial disputes with Argentina, the government of the Falkland Islands announced a referendum on the political status in early June 2012 for the first half of 2013. The government also took their concerns to the UN Committee on Decolonization, where Kirchner justified her country's claim that no archipelago could be declared “as British territory if it was 14,000 kilometers from Great Britain”. The islands are "part of the South Atlantic and Argentina." The attempt of the representative of the Falkland Islands, Mike Summers, to hand the Argentine head of state a letter after her speech, in which he offered talks with the island government, failed when the Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor himself Timerman refused to accept the letter in Kirchner's place. He rejected Summers' request, saying that he should send the letter to the Argentine embassy.

In early January 2013, Kirchner sent an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron to hand over the Falkland Islands to Argentina.

The territory has been on the UN list of sovereign territories without self-government since 1946 . A referendum was held on March 10 and 11, 2013 on the future political status of the archipelago. 99.8 percent of residents were in favor of staying with Great Britain, only three residents voted against. 1672 people were entitled to vote, the turnout was around 92 percent. The Argentine President Kirchner had already announced in advance that the result of the referendum would not be recognized. After the large majority of the islanders decided to continue to belong to Great Britain, Kirchner described the referendum on March 12, 2013 as a “parody”. British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that Argentina had to recognize the referendum and the British government announced that it would do everything it could to defend the islands.

The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf decided in March 2016 that the waters of Argentina include the Falkland Islands, as the water surface of the country was expanded by 1.7 million square kilometers and between 320 km according to a report by Argentina in 2009 and ends 560 km from the coast. The Falkland Islands government stated that the UN commission would not be allowed to rule on disputed areas and the implications of the decision remained initially unclear.


Population development
Camp settlement
Christchurch Cathedral, Stanley

The population is largely descended from immigrants from the British Isles who came to the islands in the 1830s. They were all of Northern English and Scottish origin. In the 1840s, some people from St. Helena and Chile also immigrated . After the Falklands War there was another immigration, partly from New Zealand , which increased the number of inhabitants comparatively strongly.

Two thirds of the approximately 3,000 inhabitants (excluding the military concentrated in Mount Pleasant ) live in the capital Stanley , which is also the capital of East Falkland. The main town of West Falkland, Port Howard , which has its own asphalt runway, has only 22 inhabitants (Census: 2012). Of the remaining settlements on the two islands, fewer than ten have more than 50 inhabitants. The remaining settlements are spread over a large area and are so-called “camp settlements”, comparable to hamlets , sometimes even just “camps”, ie individual farms.

The Falkländer, who also refer to themselves as "Kelpers" ( kelp: English for Tang , for example "those who live on Tang") speak Falkländisches English , a language variety of British English with an accent that is reminiscent of Scottish and the Norfolk English remembers. Furthermore, there are many loan words that come from Spanish, especially regarding the keeping of cattle and the handling of horses ( gaucho tradition).

Religious affiliation is predominantly Protestant . In Stanley there is the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral  - the pastor there is directly assigned to the Archbishop of Canterbury - and a Catholic church and parish that forms its own Apostolic Prefecture , the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falkland Islands or Malwinen .


In Stanley there is a museum in a house originally built in 1981 for the Argentine airline Líneas Aéreas del Estado (LADE) , which shows objects and documents on the history of the islands. In Stanley Harbor there is an educational trail along a series of shipwrecks, some of which have been there since the first half of the 19th century.

The national holiday is June 14th as the day of liberation from the Argentine occupation.


Falkland has had its own constitution since 1985, which was replaced in 2008 by a new constitution that came into force on January 1, 2009. The parliament (Legislative Council) consists of the governor, the chief executive and eight members elected for four years. Since parties are irrelevant on Falkland, they are independents. Nigel Phillips has been the governor since September 2017 . South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are by the Governor in personal union also managed as a Commissioner. The government (Executive Council) consists of the Governor, the Chief Executive, the Financial Secretary and three members of Parliament. The latter are elected for one year by parliament.


The Falkland Islands from space

As a result of the Falklands War , at the beginning of which the few British soldiers stationed on the Falkland Islands were inferior to the Argentine troops without a chance, the presence of the British armed forces was significantly increased. In 2012, around 1,350 soldiers from all three branches of the armed forces were still stationed on the islands. The central base is RAF Mount Pleasant . The British Army has infantry , engineer and commando units stationed there. In addition to monitoring the islands, they are primarily responsible for clearing mines and ammunition from the time of the Falklands War, which still make parts of the islands restricted areas.

The Royal Air Force has in Mount Pleasant a Vickers VC10 -Tankflugzeug, four Euro Fighter Typhoon FGR4 -Kampfflugzeuge, a Hercules - transport aircraft and several transport and SAR stationed helicopters. The base also serves the civilian supply of the islands in overseas traffic.

In Port Pleasant had Royal Navy a corvette of the Castle class and a guided missile destroyer (since 2014, the HMS Portland ) or a frigate stationed. Since 2007, the River- class patrol boat HMS Clyde is to remain in the South Atlantic as a replacement for the Castle- class ships HMS Dumbarton Castle and HMS Leeds Castle until at least 2018 . The HMS Protector , another patrol boat, is on the way in the waters close to Antarctica every winter to check the ice drift. In addition, British nuclear submarines regularly cruise in the South Atlantic, but their journeys are kept secret. According to press reports, a Swiftsure- class attack submarine is said to have been marched towards the Falkland Islands in March 2010, and a Trafalgar- class boat has been speculated about since February 2012 . In the past, the Antarctic patrol ship HMS Endurance could be called in in emergencies . A delegation of the Royal Marines is also stationed in Mount Pleasant . The British armed forces can be supported by the Falkland Islands Defense Force in an emergency . It is made up of residents of the islands and is organized in the style of a military reserve unit .


Falkland has its own currency, the Falkland pound . This is linked 1: 1 to the British pound. The foreign trade deficit accounts for about half of the gross domestic product, so the islands are completely dependent on Great Britain. The gross domestic product per capita is around 20,800 euros (2003). The unemployment is 6% below the average of the United Kingdom.

In addition to hides and tallow, products of widespread sheep breeding are the traditional export goods wool ; The main trading partner is Great Britain. In addition, since the mid-1980s, fishing and fish processing gained increasing importance. When the whales are cut up, whalebone and whale oil are produced. The fishing industry today contributes over 50% to the islands' gross domestic product. The islands do not have any further industry or industrial production.

Another economic mainstay is the granting of fishing licenses to foreign companies. This sometimes leads to conflicts with neighboring Argentina, which claims the islands and in this case takes the position that excessive fishing in this region is causing ecological damage , including in the Argentinean part of the South Atlantic .

Around 60,000 tourists visit the island every year . However, the majority of them are only day-trippers who stop here as part of cruises . The number of tourists arriving by plane each year is given as around 1,600. Tourism contributes around 4 million pounds to the gross domestic product and thus has the second largest share after the fishing industry.

The discovery of large oil fields off the islands in the late 1990s sparked renewed political tensions between Britain and Argentina. Since then, these fields have been explored by various companies, including Falkland Oil & Gas . The British company Desire Petroleum began drilling for oil and natural gas in the waters of the Falkland Islands on February 22, 2010 . The first oil was found in May 2010.


Stanley from the waterside
Former freight railroad Camber Railway

The Falkland Islands can be reached from Great Britain with the British Air Force (RAF). The RAF flies up to three times a week between Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and Mount Pleasant ( IATA code : MPN) in the Falkland Islands. There are also flight connections to Chile from Mount Pleasant .

Domestic traffic is ensured by the Falkland Island Government Airlines System (FIGAS) with a fleet of six Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders , who put together their flight plans daily on advance booking as required. The flight plans will be announced by radio the evening before. Domestic traffic uses Port Stanley Airport as a base. The settlements scattered across the islands have landing sites - often just strips of grass or a suitable beach.

There is a ferry connection between the East and West Islands (New Haven - Port Howard). Shipping between the other islands is only for the transport of goods.

The only developed road outside the towns is between Port Stanley and the Mount Pleasant military base (around 50 km).

In the port area of ​​Port Stanley there was a railroad used to transport goods, but it has been shut down for decades.

A cell phone network based on the GSM standard has existed since December 2005 . It essentially covers the areas around Port Stanley and Mount Pleasant. The network is operated by Sure (formerly Cable & Wireless ) Falkland Island.

The post code FIQQ 1ZZ is valid for the entire territory of the Falkland Islands. Due to the low population density, a further differentiation of this guide number is not necessary.

The Falkland Islands issue their own postage stamps. Responsibility for this lies with the state-owned Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau.

See also


  • Alexander Ombeck: Perception through images. The Falklands-Malvinas conflict in the British press in the 1990s. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-7279-1 .
  • Lyubomir Lalov Ivanov et al .: The Future of the Falkland Islands and Its People. Double T Publishing, Sofia 2003, ISBN 954-91503-1-3 ( full text in English, full text in Spanish [ Wikisource ]).
  • Carlos Escudé, Andrés Cisneros (eds.): Historia general de las relaciones exteriores de la República Argentina. Obra desarrollada y publicada bajo los auspicios del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI). GEL / Nuevohacer, Buenos Aires 2000, ISBN 950-694-546-2 (Spanish, cema.edu.ar ).
  • Victoria Strachwitz: The Falklands War as a media event. Armed forces, politics and media in interplay. Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-8244-4600-6 ( Communication Science , Simultaneously: Berlin, Freie Univ., Master's thesis, 2003).
  • Graham Pascoe, Peter Pepper: Getting it right. The real history of the Falklands / Malvinas. - falklandshistory.org ( Memento from July 26th 2011 in the Internet Archive ) - PDF May 2008, English and falklandshistory.org ( Memento from July 14th 2012 in the Internet Archive ) - PDF Spanish.
  • DW Greig: Sovereignty and the Falkland Islands Crisis. Australian Year Book of International Law. Volume 8, 1983. pp. 20-70. ISSN  0084-7658 ( austlii.com PDF; 1.38 MB).
  • Rex Hunt: My Falkland Days. London 2002, ISBN 1-84275-017-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Falkland Islands  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Falkland Islands  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Falkland Islands  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Barry Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, Falkland Islands Government . Bloomberg, accessed January 20, 2020 .
  2. a b World Population Prospects - Population Dynamics. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, accessed January 4, 2018 .
  3. from the island of West Falkland 52 ° 04'27 "S, 61 ° 02'12" W to 54 ° 39'01 "S, 65 ° 07'19" W on Tierra del Fuego
  4. ^ Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A and Ingham B. - Falkland Islands - State of the Environment Report ( Memento from May 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ P. Stone, PC Richards, GS Kimbell, RP Esser, D. Reeves: Cretaceous dykes discovered in the Falkland Islands: implications for regional tectonics in the South Atlantic . In: Journal of the Geological Society . 165, No. 1, 2008, pp. 1-4. doi : 10.1144 / 0016-76492007-072 .
  6. Flora Directory of the Falkland Islands
  7. Falkland Islands Government website , accessed May 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Alan J. Low: Tree planting in the Falkland Islands. 1995, accessed May 23, 2013.
  9. Geoklima 2.1 Geoklima website
  10. Ralf Streck: In the dispute over the Falkland Islands, the tone is sharper. In: Telepolis. February 24, 2010, accessed January 4, 2013 .
  11. Military personnel in Falkland Islands totals 1,060, says MoD. Merco Press, accessed September 26, 2015 .
  12. ^ Territorial dispute Falkland Islands announce referendum on political status. In: zeit.de. June 12, 2012, accessed January 4, 2013 .
  13. Speech text (Spanish)
  14. ^ Controversy over Falklands: "The aggression that comes over the water". In: zeit.de. June 15, 2012, accessed January 4, 2013 .
  15. ^ President Kirchner places a Falkland advertisement in the "Guardian". In: zeit.de. January 3, 2013, accessed January 4, 2013 .
  16. Referendum on the Falkland Islands: 99.8 percent for Great Britain from Spiegel Online , March 12, 2013 (accessed March 12, 2013).
  17. Falkland Islands vote on belonging to Great Britain. dpa, March 10, 2013, accessed on March 10, 2013 .
  18. Falklands referendum: Islanders vote on British status. BBC News, March 10, 2013, accessed March 10, 2013 .
  19. zeit.de: Kirchner calls the referendum on the Falkland Islands “parody”. ( Memento of April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) March 13, 2013. Accessed March 15, 2013.
  20. welt.de: Cameron: Argentina must recognize the Falkland referendum. March 12, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  21. dradio.de: London warns Buenos Aires against claims on the Falkland Islands. March 13, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
  22. Falkland Islands lie in Argentinian waters, UN commission rules. In: The Guardian . March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016
  23. ^ Museum website , accessed August 12, 2010
  24. ^ Falkland Islands Government: Constitution . The Falkland Islands Constitution Order 2008 ( Memento from September 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (pdf; 620 kB)
  25. ^ Nuclear sub on Falklands patrol ... as the flames of fury continue in Argentina . In: Daily Mail , February 3, 2012. 
  26. a b c d e The Economy. Falkland Islands Government, accessed April 3, 2014 .
  27. Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau

Coordinates: 51 ° 48 ′  S , 59 ° 31 ′  W