Country - Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands Country Information

Falkland Islands, or Islas Malvinas, is a cluster of more than seven hundred islands located in South Atlantic Ocean, at a distance of 480 kilometres towards of the eastern side of Argentina. There are two main islands the West Falkland and East Falkland which are separated by a strait called “Falkland Sound”.  Both the main islands are swarmed by a bevy of 776 islets. The Falkland Sound runs southwest and north east separating the West and East Falklands and appears as a slanted cleft bisecting the land mass in the world map.

The capital city of Falkland is “Stanley”, a seaside city situated at the extreme eastern border in the East Falkland. The Falkland Islands remain as a British Overseas Territory enjoying autonomy despite the external affairs still under the purview of the United Kingdom. English is the official language and the total population is about 3400. Three-fourths of the entire population lives in the capital city Stanley. On account of its handful population, the statistical figures on socio-economic development are fascinating. The unemployment is 1% and the per capita GDP (PPP) is astonishingly $96,966 as per the estimates in 2013. The Human Development Index is very high at 0.874.

The local rule/governance in the country seems easily manageable with extremely low population. However, there have been issues of dispute on sovereignty between Argentina and the United Kingdom for several decades. The invasive military forces of Argentina in 1982 were successfully expelled /evicted by England and it led to quicker expansion of British military base in the islands. The claim by Argentina over the islands still remained unresolved thereafter.  A clear peoples’ verdict was obtained by way of a referendum in 2013 when 99.8% of the natives voted in favour of the region remaining a British Overseas Territory. Barely 500 kilometers from Argentina, the Falkland Islands still continues to keep the territorial dispute alive.

There is a single bank in the capital city Stanley with no ATM. The total number of regular residents in the city is about 2550 (with the remaining one third spread across at other parts of the islands) and this rules out the necessity for big shopping malls, giant supermarkets and skyscrapers. Stanley looks like a peaceful British village. Neither traffic police nor traffic signal lights are felt as necessary there.

Falklands Islands is mostly uninhabited in many parts of the islands. This does not stop the island from becoming the international tourist destination. Christ Church Cathedral is a special monument that requires a mention in the itinerary of international visitors. The red coloured Cathedral has in its front yard a gigantic flower-bud shaped empty structure erected in 1933 by four mammoth jaws of blue whales. The structure misleads the visitors to believe that the jaws were the ivory tusks of an ice-age proboscidean mastodon. The seashores of the islands are replete with different kinds of penguins which outnumber the local human population. The stout and rotund penguins stand erect with protruded chest and seem to invite beach lovers majestically to the seaside. The single-stone pillar memorial in Stanley is a sad reminder of the bitter battle of 1914 when thousands of lives were lost in the World War I.

Carcass Island is a place where one can get to see a wide variety of birds. The Sea Lion island is home to heavy bodied amphibian-mammals like sea lions, walruses, seals that make the land look like a different place altogether with their outlandish screams. The small size of the native population leaves the visitors  almost unrestrained to engage themselves in sea water sports with full freedom as if the seashores are the personal estates of the tourists.