Jurisdiction Project

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland Islands are a group of several hundred islands and islets located in the South Atlantic Ocean. An Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, it is a parliamentary democracy which maintains responsibility for internal affairs. Despite its relative isolation – it is located 480 km off of South America – the islands maintain a fierce loyalty to Britain. Furthermore, in spite of its apparent geographic disadvantage, the islands have developed an enviable economy in recent years.

Land: 12,173 sq. km (approx. 4,700 sq. mi.). Is an archipelago composed of approximately 200 islands. The two major islands are East Falkland and West Falkland. Highest elevation: Mount Usborne 705 meters (2,313 feet) Coastline: 1,288 km Terrain: rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains

Located in the South Atlantic Ocean, approximately 480 km (300 mi.) east of Argentina.

Latitude and Longitude:
51 45 South Latitude and 59 00 West Longitude.

Time Zone:
GMT -4

Total Land Area:


Strong westerly winds, cloudy, humid; rain occurs on more than half of days in year; average annual rainfall is 24 inches in Stanley; occasional snow all year, except in January and February, but does not accumulate. Average daytime temperatures measured at Mount Pleasant are 15°C in January and February, and 4°C in June and July. Average night temperatures are 6°C in January and February and 0°C in June and July.

Natural Resources:
fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss


Total GDP:
2002 117,952,000.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:
2002 25,000.00 USD

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2002 51% 7% 42%

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
% % %
2007 95% 5% %

External Aid/Remittances:
The Falkland Islands are economically self-sufficient, and therefore receive no aid from the United Kingdom. Defence costs, at approximately £70 million annually, are covered by the United Kingdom. Today the Falkland Islands citizens enjoy a rapidly increasing standard of living. In the 1970s, however, the economy was in serious trouble. In 1975 the British Foreign Secretary asked Lord Shackleton to conduct an economic study of the islands and their potential. The resultant “Economic Survey of the Falkland Islands,” published in 1976, has served as the blueprint for its economic renewal, although implementation did not begin in earnest until after the 1982 war with Argentina. Two aid packages, funded by the UK, were developed to drive economic expansion: 1. £15 million allocated to reconstruct infrastructure; 2. £31 million allocated for development. This development grant included funds to establish the Falkland Islands Development Corporation. In addition, an international airport and military installations were built at Mount Pleasant. Constructed in order to quell further threats from Argentina, the economic spin-offs from the construction and increased transportation links have been significant.

3% (2004)

Labour Force:
2007 1,724
2004 2,050

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
2001 0%

Fishery, wool, tourism. Following the Argentine invasion, British scientists discovered that the surrounding waters were teeming with valuable squid. Two species were of particular note: Illex, which is sold as a delicacy in East Asia, and Loligo, which is sold in Spanish restaurants. In 1986 a 150-mile radius Fisheries Conservation & Management Zone was established, and the Falkland government began selling licences to fishing vessels (foreign fishing companies that enter arrangements to jointly own and operate trawlers with Islanders given preferential treatment by Falkland Island government when licenses allocated). This brought about a new era of financial independence, netting the government approximately £22 million in revenue annually. Conservation of the squid fishery remains a priority for the government, which spends approximately £6 million a year from its licensing revenues on conservation research. To prevent poaching, government aircraft and water vessels patrol the waters. The export of wool, which was the basis of the Falkland economy until 1987, remains a significant, albeit less important, sector. Today approximately 90 wool farms are in operation, tending to approximately 700,000 sheep. Today’s wool farmers seek to combat dwindling prices by increasing the standards of their products. Diversification has also become a buzzword within agriculture, as cashmere goats, a national beef herd, and reindeer from South Georgia have all been introduced in recent years. Reindeer were introduced to the islands in 2001 for commercial reasons; this is the only commercial reindeer herd in the world unaffected by the 1986 Chornobyl disaster.

Niche Industry:
Squid fishery, fishing licensing, wool exports.

Tourism is a rapidly growing sector on the islands. The emphasis is on eco-tourism and sustainability, with its natural beauty and various rare species of wildlife serving as the selling point. Currently the Falklands receive 30,000-40,000 tourists a year, the majority of these arriving on cruise ships – over 130 visited in 2004. Most of these tourists originate from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.


Imports and Exports:

Exports - commodities: wool, hides, meat, fish, squid Imports - commodities: fuel, food and drink, building materials, clothing

Tot. Value of Imports 90,000,000.00 USD (2004)
From Eu:
Import Partners (EU:) Imports - partners: UK 72.5%, US 15.1%, Netherlands 8.5% (2006)
Partners Outside EU:
Import Partners:
Tot. Value of Exports 124000000 USD (2004)
To Eu:
Export Partners: Exports - partners: Spain 81.9%, US 6%, UK 4.5% (2006)
Partners Outside EU::
Export Partners:
Main Imports:
Main Exports:



Number of Airports: 5
Falklands International Airport at Mount Pleasant, 2,590 m (8,497 ft) runway. Weekly flights available from Santiago, Chile. Service through the Royal Air Force is available six times a month, originating from Oxfordshire, England.

Number of Main Ports: 1
The main port is the Falkland Interim Port and Storage System in Stanley. It consists of 7 moored barges and 300 metres of berthing space, with depth ranging from 5.7 to 7 meters.


Internally, the Falkland Islands Government Air Service operates four nine-seat Britten Norman Islander planes to 35 landing strips on the various islands.

Limited roadways. Taxis and tour groups are available in Stanley. In rougher stretches of roadway four wheel drive transportation is necessary. Roadways: total: 440 km paved: 50 km unpaved: 390 km (2003)


Other Forms of Transportation:

Economic Zones:
Maritime claims: 12 nautical miles. Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles.

Energy Policy:

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)
2004 16,000 0 0 0 14,800 0 0 0 0 0


Official Currency:
Falkland pound (F£) FKP

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:

 The Falkland pound is on par with the British pound sterling. Although British currency is accepted on the islands, visitors are expected to exchange it at the bank in Stanley upon arrival. No charge is applied for this service. The only bank on the Falkland Islands is the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Stanley. While credit cards are widely accepted on the islands, automated banking machine cards are not accepted on the islands. Business banking is also provided by Lloyds TSB in the UK. Insurance is available through local companies.

Financial Services:

The Falklands are connected to external telecommunication links via satellite. Approximately one-half of all households are connected to the Internet. Government and private websites advertise a wide variety of services in English, with a noticeable emphasis on attracting investment and tourists. Economy Openness: The Falkland Islands are courting foreign investment. The major utilities are controlled by the government.

Public Ownership:
Major utilities – power, water, roads, docks – are government owned. Telecommunications infrastructure government owned, but operated by Cable & Wireless. Fuel supplied by Stanley Services Ltd, a joint venture between Falkland Islands government and S & JD Robertson Group, a private company.

Land Use:
Freehold – private land, ownership transferable. Falklands Conservation, a registered charity, owns 19 nature reserves, totalling over 2,000 acres. Land use is further restrained by the presence of over 18,000 land mines that are unaccounted for in East Falkland as a result of the Argentine invasion. These areas are fenced off, and at present there is no campaign to remove them. Extensive land reform occurred as part of Lord Shackleton’s suggestions for economic revitalization following the Argentine invasion. Farmland, which had been concentrated in hands of non-resident companies, was purchased and redistributed. Were 83 individual farms in 1988, with most owned by local residents; prior to 1980 there were only 36.

Sheep wool. Are self-sufficient in vegetables and sheep meat.

Marine Activity:

Maritime claims: 12 nautical miles. Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles. 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.

Marine Life:

Critical Issues:
Fisheries conservation. The squid fishery has been closed early in recent years due to low catches. This has raised calls for increased research into the mating patterns of squid, as well as increased surveillance for poachers. Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over the islands, which they refer to as the Malvinas, although the government has vowed to do so diplomatically. Due to full employment on the islands, there is a need for workers. This is mostly supplied by Chileans and Saint Helenians. Transportation to and from the islands remains a hurdle to surmount. With the exception of flights through the military base at Mount Pleasant to Oxfordshire, England six times a month, air traffic to the island is reliant on transfers from South America. Given Argentina’s strained relations with the Falkland Islands, and their past history of blocking traffic heading there from passing over their airspace, this remains a going concern.



Political System:
Parliamentary democracy. Falkland Government: The Falkand Islands are a UK Overseas Territory. Supreme authority rests in the Queen, and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor, on advice and assistance of the Executive and Legislative Councils. The Falklands are governed internally by a legislative and executive branch. The Legislative Council is directly elected by the populace. It consists of ten members, eight of which are elected (five from Stanley, three from Camp), as well as two ex officio members, the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary. A speaker chairs the Legislative Council. The Executive Council advises the Governor on all matters. It is composed of three representatives from the Legislative Council, as well as the two ex officio members who sit in the Legislature. The Attorney General and the Commander of British Forces in the Falkland Islands attend by special invitation. The Governor serves as the Speaker. Elected Councillors have considerable responsibility for internal affairs, while the Governor retains responsibility for external affairs and the public service. Supreme Court: There are three levels of court on the Falkland Islands. The first is the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, which by practice only sits when the Senior Magistrate is unavailable. The Magistrate Court presides over most civil and criminal hearings. The top court is the Supreme Court of the Falkland Islands, presided over by a Chief Justice who resides in the United Kingdom and visits as required. Appeals against Supreme Court taken to Falkland Islands Court of Appeal in London, and ultimately the Privy Counsel.

Political Parties:
As there are no political parties, all candidates run as independents. Elections are held every four years, by universal adult suffrage, for the eight available seats in the Legislative Council. Each year three members of the Legislative Council are elected by their peers to sit in the Executive Council.

Important Legislation:
British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983: Passed by British parliament in response to Argentine invasion. Previous legislation, the British Nationality Act 1981, classified Falkland Islanders as British Dependent Territories citizens, which restricted rights of entry and stay in Britain. New legislation granted full British citizenship to Falkland Islanders. Has since been repealed by British Overseas Territories Act 2002, which reaffirmed their full British citizenship. Proclamation No. 4 of 1986: enacted 29 October 1986. Also known as the Fisheries (Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1986, it established the Interim Conservation and Management Zone, a 150 nautical mile zone around the Falkland archipelago that the government regulated. The government assumed power to sell licenses to interested fishers. Proclamation, No. 2 of 1990: enacted 20 December 1990 (amended Proclamation, No. 1 of 1994: enacted 22 August 1994). Established Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone a maximum 200 nautical miles from baselines, subject to boundaries with neighbouring states.

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:
United Kingdom

UK is responsible for international affairs, foreign representation, and defence of Falkland Islands. Relationship between UK and Falkland Islands outlined in March 1999’s “Partnership for Progress and Prosperity, Britain and the Overseas Territories.” This White Paper states the basis of Britain’s link with its Overseas Territories should be a partnership, with each side maintaining its clearly defined responsibilities. It also notes that the UK must allow the individual territories’ right to determining their future course.

Treaties: International treaties handled by Britain. In 1986 a 150-mile radius Fisheries Conservation & Management Zone was established, and the Falkland government began selling licences to fishing vessels (foreign fishing companies that enter arrangements to jointly own and operate trawlers with Islanders given preferential treatment by Falkland Island government when licenses allocated).


Population (by year): 2,913 (2001) 2,564 (1996) 2,091 (1991) (Note: These figures families include civilian families based out of Mount Pleasant Complex but not military personnel)

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Population (by age): <15: 438 15-65: 2,234 > 65: 241 (2001) Population (2007) 3105

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up
2001 438 0 0 0 241



Crude Birth Rate:

Life Expedctancy:

Crude Death Rate:

British (94% in 2001) A recent influx of immigrant workers from Chile and St. Helena has led to some ethnic diversification.

Class Division:
Prior to the Falklands’ economic revival, politics was dominated by the small managerial class that ran the large sheep farms. Given the improved education of the population, the years since have seen a diversification in this regard.


Anglican (predominant), Roman Catholic, United Free Church, Evangelist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist


Education System:
Free and compulsory between ages 5 and 16. Two schools operate in Stanley. The Stanley Infant/Junior School provides primary education from pre-school to Year 6. The Falkland Islands Community School educates student ages 11-16. It offers 12 subjects at GCSE level. Younger students in rural areas covered by three settlement schools. Those outside these areas visited by one of six travelling teachers. Visiting teachers stay with students for two weeks, and return one month later. When teachers not present, students receive individual daily lessons via radio network or telephone, provided by Camp Education Unit in Stanley. Older Camp children attend school in Stanley, and stay in boarding hostel (a fee is charged for this). Children over 16 attend school in England, primarily Peter Symonds Sixth Form College in Winchester. Higher education funding is provided for any Islander that gains 5 or more GCSE passes at grade C or better.

Total Pre-schools:()
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools:
Total Professional Schools


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


Medical Services:
Primary and secondary health care facilities based out of the islands’ lone hospital, the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Stanley. It has 28 beds, an acute care wing, primary care wing, two bed maternity unit, two bed intensive care unit. Also has facilities for out-patients and community health care. Health care provided to remote settlements by General Practitioners via telephone consultations and regular visits. In case of emergency situation, doctor or patient can be transported with use of Falkland Islands Government Air Service. Islanders who cannot be treated locally can be referred to UK hospitals, as per a reciprocal agreement. Emergency treatment can be conducted in Chile and Uruguay.


 First recorded landing made in 1690 by Captain John Strong of England. Remained uninhabited until 1764 when the French established a settlement on East Falkland. In 1765 the British claimed the Falkland archipelago for the Crown, and established their own settlement on West Falkland the following year. Also in 1766 the Spanish government purchased the French interests and a Spanish governor was appointed to the newly re-christened Puerto de la Soledad, which was placed under the jurisdiction of the colony of Buenos Aires. The British were forced from the islands in 1770, returned one year later, and left again in 1774 due to financial circumstances related to the upcoming American War of Independence. The Spanish garrison also pulled out in 1811, with the South American colonies in open revolt. In 1829 Buenos Aires claimed rights to the islands, as well as all previously Spanish territories in the region. Britain protests. In 1831 the Lexington, a United States sloop, destroyed Puerto de la Soledad, after three sealing ships were seized in an effort to control fishing in the territorial waters. The majority of inhabitants left aboard the sloop. In 1833 the British claimed the islands for the crown, sailing the warship Clio to a small garrison in Puerto de la Soledad. With the exception of ten weeks during the Argentinean invasion in 1982, the British have retained sovereignty over these islands.


Recent Significant Events:
The Argentine Question: The major international issue facing the Falkland Islands is Argentina’s continued sovereignty claim. This claim is based on Argentina’s claim to be successor of the former Spanish empire in the region. Successive Argentinean governments and military regimes have emphasized the state’s right to the Falklands. This has coincided with a major propaganda campaign in which the government’s claim to the islands is placed in the forefront of the public’s mind. An example of this propaganda campaign is a 1948 federal law, still in effect, which states it is a federal offence to create maps that do not include the Islas Malvinas (the Argentine name for these islands), as well as the Argentine Antarctic Sector, as part of their territory. The islands are widely represented in Argentine textbooks and on stamps, which maintains a high level of public consciousness towards the islands. Argentina’s goal of repatriating the islands seemed to be progressing in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968 the United Kingdom, which was looking to lessen its imperial load, and Argentina unveiled the Memorandum of Understanding, which stated that sovereignty was transferable provided the Falkland Islanders’ interests were secured. The inhabitants, who wished to remain under Great Britain, fiercely protested this. The memorandum was followed by indecision on Britain’s part, leading to frustration in Argentina. In 1981 Argentina was taken over by a military junta. The following year the government commenced an invasion of the Falkland Islands, landing on 2 April. The British responded to this challenge by dispatching a Task Force, comprised of 28,000 men and 125 ships. Victory was declared by the British on June 14, which is marked as Liberation Day, the national holiday. The 1982 invasion put considerable strain on Anglo-Argentine relations. Between 1982 and 1999 Argentine passport holders were barred from entering the Falklands (with the exception of next of kin). It also hardened resolve within the United Kingdom to protect their interests in this sector of the globe. This was most evident in the creation of Mount Pleasant Complex, 35 miles outside Stanley, a military compound created with the explicit goal of thwarting any future invasion plans. Since then, relations have been mixed. Argentina and the Falkland Islands cooperate regarding fishery conservation policies in the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission, as well as in the South West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission. On 14 July 1999, the two parties released a Joint Statement. While not designed to solve the sovereignty dispute, it did contain a number of concessions. For example, the Falkland Islands dropped their restriction on Argentinean entry, while Argentina accepted the Falkland government’s control of immigration. Despite this, the situation is far from resolved. The Argentine Constitution still contains a claim over the Falklands, and more recent developments have proved to strain relations once again. In November 2003 Argentina banned Chilean charter aircrafts from flying over their airspace. This act negatively impacted the Falklands’ burgeoning tourism industry. In April 2004 the Argentine icebreaker Almirante Irizar made an unauthorized entry into the Falkland Islands Conservation Zone. Four months later, in August, the Argentine Families Commission cancelled its visit to the newly erected memorial to the Argentinean servicemen who died in the 1982 invasion, citing political reasons. In the face of this, the United Kingdom and Falkland Islands governments remain united in their opposition to re-opening talks on the territory’s sovereignty. National holiday: Liberation Day, 14 June (1982) Constitution: 3 October 1985; amended 1997 and 1998

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


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