There were no indigenous groups living on the Falkland Islands when the first Europeans discovered the region. The first recorded sighting was that on August 12, 1592 by the English sea captain named John Davis. The next recorded sighting was in 1594 by Englishman Richard Hawkins who claimed the region for Queen Elizabeth I. However, the first recorded landing only occurred 100 years later in 1690, when English captain John Strong arrived and landed in the region.
In 1766, the French port was given to Spain but the latter's discovery and eventual invasion of Port Egmont almost led to a war between the Spanish and the British settlers. However, by 1774, both settlements had managed to coexist peacefully in the region. Both nations eventually left and withdrew their settlements in the region by 1811.
In 1820, Argentina claimed the islands and named it Las Islas Malvinas, but Britain forced the newly independent nation out of the region in 1833. Britain then began sending farmers to the islands and by 1892, the region became a British colony.
In April of 1982, Argentina attempted to recapture the region by sending 5000 of their troops to Port Stanley. However, they were forced to surrender in June of that year and the British re-took control of the islands.
Falkland Islands is located in the South Atlantic Ocean, just 300 miles off the coast of East Patagonia in the southernmost part of Argentina. Its total land area is 4,700 square miles with 800 miles of coastline.
The region consists of 2 main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland, and over 700 other smaller islands. Many of the smaller islands are nature reserves.
The islands are characterized as mountainous and hilly except for the peninsula of Lafonia in East Falkland, where its landscape is defined by depressed plains.
Falkland Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory. It works under the framework of a parliamentary dependency under a constitutional monarchy. While the Islands is responsible for all of its internal affairs, the UK is responsible for its military defense and foreign affairs.
The Monarch of the UK acts as head of state and represented in the Islands by the Governor. The Governor appoints the Chief Executive on the advice of the Legislative Assembly.
The Governor and Chief Executive are the heads of government, exercising executive power. The unicameral legislative consists of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance, and 8 members who are elected into office through popular vote.
The Falkland Islands has spectacular wildlife and a quaint provincial lifestyle, making these features its top tourist draws.
The capital of Stanley is the most inhabited, where about 2/3 of the territory's population reside. The town itself was built on a slope that faces the north, intended to maximize sun exposure. The quaint wooden houses painted in bright colors add to the town's charm, and its inns and iconic red phone boxes make the area even more charming. It is also the best place in the region to buy leather and woolen goods.
West Falkland is a 4,500 sq.km. island with steep coastal cliffs and a rugged, hilly interior. Port Howard is the island's main settlement and it is home to a major sheep farming community. There are small farm guesthouses and a few bed and breakfasts around the area, and a small museum of war relics and exhibits about sheep farming are added attractions in the island.
Thousands of penguins call the Falkland Islands home, where they are mostly found in East Falkland's Volunteer Point. One of the most popular and the most accessible penguin colony in the world, thousands of Magellanic and gentoo penguins are found here.
Education in the Falkland Islands is free and compulsory for children until the age of 16. The system follows the English education system.
The government offers qualified 16-18 year-olds an opportunity to study in England for A-level courses at the Chichester College or at the Peter Symonds College. There are no post-secondary institutions on the islands and students have no other choice but to study in the UK or overseas. Funds for higher and further education are provided by the government for qualified students.
- There are only about 3,000 people living in the Islands.
- The Falkland Islands is home to over half a million sheep, where there are 350 sheep for every 1 person.
- The Islands is a haven for wildlife fans - thousands of penguins, seals, sea lions, and birds call the islands home.
Last Updated : January 14, 2015