Falkland Islands

Overseas Territory of the ‌United Kingdom
Since 1833 Flag of South Georgia
Flag of the Falkland Islands Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands
Desire the right
God Save the Queen
Location of the Falkland Islands
Islas Malvinas
Government Constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy
- From 1952Queen Elizabeth II
- From 2010Nigel Haywood
Chief Executive
- From 2008Tim Thorogood
Legislature Legislative Assembly
January 5, 1833British rule re-established
Area12,173 km²
- 20023,140
GDP2002 (PPP)
- TotalUS$ 0 billion
- Per capitaUS$ 25,000
CurrencyFalkland Islands pound
South Georgia Flag of South Georgia

The Falkland Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, located in the Southern Atlantic.


Although first sighted by an English navigator in 1592, the first landing (English) did not occur until almost a century later in 1690, and the first settlement (French) was not established until 1764. The colony was turned over to Spain two years later and the islands have since been the subject of a territorial dispute, first between Britain and Spain, then between Britain and Argentina. The UK asserted its claim to the islands by establishing a naval garrison there in 1833. Argentina invaded the islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded with an expeditionary force that landed seven weeks later and after fierce fighting forced an Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982.[1]


The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishing contributes the bulk of economic activity. In 1987, the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign trawlers operating within the Falkland Islands' exclusive fishing zone. These license fees total more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squid accounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Foreign exchange earnings come from shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date, no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentina and the UK in 1995 seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Political tensions between the UK and Argentina rose in early 2010 after a UK company began oil drilling activities in the waters around the Falkland Islands but abated somewhat when the drilling operation failed to discover commercially exploitable oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.[2]


  • Queen Elizabeth II () (February 6, 1952 - )


  • Nigel Haywood () (October 16, 2010 - )

Chief Executive

  • Tim Thorogood () (January 3, 2008 - )


British Overseas Territories


  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview