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Falkland Islands:
Geography

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Falkland Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Falkland Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
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.
Location
Definition
Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina
Geographic coordinates
Definition
51 45 S, 59 00 W
Map references
Definition
South America
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 12,173 sq km
land: 12,173 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 small islands
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
1,288 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
cold marine; 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
Terrain
Definition
rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Usborne 705 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, squid, wildlife, calcified seaweed, sphagnum moss
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (99% permanent pastures, 1% other) (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
strong winds persist throughout the year
Environment - current issues
Definition
overfishing by unlicensed vessels is a problem; 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
Geography - note
Definition
deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season


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