Today we feature the Falkland Islands, the British Territory three hundred miles east of the tip of South America. We land in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, located on east-most point of East Falkland. You see, the Falklands are actually two larger Islands, East and West Falkland, and then seven hundred seventy-six smaller islands. The total population of the Falklands is only thirty-five hundred with some twenty-five hundred of those living in the capital of Stanley.
The islands have quite the checkered past when it comes to governance. France established a colony on the islands in 1764. In 1765, a British captain claimed the islands for Britain. In early 1770 a Spanish commander arrived from Buenos Aires and forced the British to leave. Then Britain and Spain almost went to war over the islands, but the British government in 1772 was
withdrawing from many overseas settlements including the Falklands. Spain administered the islands from Montevideo until 1811, but then Argentina declared independence and the Spanish had to withdraw from the Falklands. In 1833, the British returned to the Falkland Islands, but the Argentines still laid claim to them – after all, they had declared independence from Spain, so just because Spain let the islands go, who said they needed to? Argentina bided their time, but finally invaded the islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded with an expeditionary force that forced the Argentines to surrender.
So, really, who do the Islands belong to? If you ask Argentina, they will say they own them. But in 2013 it was put to a vote to the people living in the Falklands and they voted 99.8% to stay with Britain. Only three people voted against it! So, I think that settles it – the Falkland Islands do indeed belong to Britain.
Now for some fun facts about the Falkland Islands:
· The capital of Stanley was only named a “City” in 2022 at the 75th anniversary of the coronation Elizbeth.
· There are lots of Penguins on the islands. In fact, five different kinds make the islands their home - King, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Magellanic and Macaroni.
· Fishing is the main industry of the islands with the chief exports being fish, wool, and lamb.
· The island people refer to themselves as “Kelpers” (after all the kelp around the islands)
· There is only one newspaper on the islands – the Penguin Weekly
· The main transportation around the islands is the “Uber Planes”, the Falkland Island Government Air Service, which consists of a couple of eight-seat planes that hop around the islands. You need to reserve a seat a day ahead of time and then the radio announces who is going where for the day (and, yes, everyone listens in so there is no privacy at all).
· The “Uber Planes” is also how teachers hop around the islands teaching the kids in elementary school. Then at age 11, all kids are sent to Stanley to live with other families or at boarding schools to finish their high school education. If you want to go to college, the government will pay for you to go abroad to study – usually England.
· Lastly, they hold the record for the Southern-most Marathon run each March.
(Click to enlarge the pictures)