Falkland Islands

views updated May 29 2018

Falkland Islands

Culture Name



Identification. The British named the two islands after the naval officer Viscount Falkland.

Location and Geography. The Falklands, located approximately 185 miles (480 kilometers) east of Argentina, consist of two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, and over two hundred smaller islets. The combined area is 4,700 square miles (12,170 square kilometers). The terrain is mainly hilly to mountainous grassland. Shrubs abound, but there are no native trees. An impressive diversity of animal life includes elephant seals, sea lions, penguins, and other birds.

Demography. As of the year 2000, there was a population of 2,826 permanent residents, of whom 1,750 lived in the capital, Stanley. The majority are of British descent, although there are a few immigrants from South America, Chile in particular. At any given time, there are about two thousand British military personnel.

Linguistic Affiliation. English is both the official language and the language of daily life.

Symbolism. The coat of arms, which appears on the flag, contains a representation of the sailing ship Desire, which was the first to reach the islands, and a white ram symbolizing shepherding, the industry on which the economy was built.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. It is thought that Patagonian Indians may have reached the islands by canoe, but when the Europeans encountered the islands in the seventeenth century, they were uninhabited. The British landed in 1690 and claimed the islands. The first settlement was by the French, at Port Louis on East Falkland in 1764. Spain soon after pressured the French to leave, and in 1767, forced the British out of a settlement on West Falkland. Argentina claimed the islands in the late 1820s, and the British reclaimed them in 1833. In the late 1800s, sheep ranching brought some wealth, and the British declared the islands a colony in 1892. Although the Argentinian were forced out in 1833, they did not abandon their claim. In the late 1960s, Britain began to make moves to hand over the colony to Argentina. However, the process was slow, and in 1982, Argentina's government staged an invasion. Britain sent troops to retake the islands. The ensuing war took nearly one thousand lives (three-quarters of them Argentinian), and after seventy-two days, Argentina surrendered and its president resigned. Argentina's government holds to the conviction that it will retake the Falklands, although it declines to use military force to back up its claim.

National Identity. There is no indigenous culture; the population is entirely imported and mainly British. Despite historical ties to Argentina, most inhabitants align themselves with Britain. Since the war in 1972, they have been developing a relationship with Chile.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

There is a low population density, with the majority of people living on farms and ranches in rural settings. Stanley is the only urban center. Its architecture is British in character.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Food is very similar to British cuisine in terms of ingredients and preparation. A common tradition, called the "smoko," is a midmorning tea or coffee break. Large "camp breakfasts" are popular, especially in rural areas. Seafood is an important part of the diet.

Basic Economy. The currency is the Falkland Island pound. There is no unemployment, but much of the work is seasonal, such as peat cutting and sheep shearing, and many islanders supplement their incomes with small-scale mechanical and agricultural projects.

Commercial Activities. The main goods produced are agricultural. In addition to sheep products (wool, hides, and meat), the islands grow vegetables such as potatoes, cabbages, and cauliflower.

Major Industries. Until recently, sheep shearing and wool processing was the major industry. This business was incorporated in the Falkland Islands Company in 1851, included in the British Royal Charter. The fishing industry has grown rapidly as a result of the government's declaration of the Falkland Islands Interim Conservation and Management Zone (FICZ). Between 1985 and 1987, gross national product tripled.

Trade. The primary products produced for export are wool, hides, and meat. The main imports are food, drink, building materials, and clothing. The major trading partners are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Political Life

Government. The Falklands are governed as a colony of the United Kingdom. The highest political official is the governor, who is appointed to represent the British monarchy. Along with an Executive Council of six, the governor is responsible for administration. The Legislative Council is composed of two ex-officio and eight elected members. There is universal suffrage. There is a Supreme Court, the chief justice of which is a nonresident.

Leadership and Political Officials. There are not any political parties; all officials run as independents.

Military Activity. Roughly half the population consists of British personnel; two thousand troops are stationed at the Mount Pleasant airport complex.


Child Rearing and Education. Education is free and compulsory from age six through age fifteen. There is a primary school and a secondary school in Stanley, as well as three settlement schools on farms in rural areas. Students who do not attend these schools are home-schooled with the aid of traveling teachers and radio and telephone lessons.

Higher Education. There are not any institutes of higher learning, but citizens are eligible to receive funding for vocational and higher education classes in Great Britain.


Religious Beliefs. The vast majority of the population is Anglican.

Medicine and Health Care

The King Edward VII Hospital in Stanley is the only hospital. It was destroyed by a fire in 1984 and rebuilt in 1987. The care provided is free and comprehensive, with the exception of eyeglasses, dentures, and cosmetic dentistry.

Secular Celebrations

Annual sports meetings take place in Stanley on 26 and 27 December; on West Falkland they are held in late February or early March. They include horse racing, bull riding, and sheepdog trials. Also observed are the Queen's Birthday (21 April), Liberation Day (14 June), Falklands Day (14 August), and the Battle of the Falklands Remembrance Day (8 December).


U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency. Falkland Islands, 2000.

Web Sites

Destination Falkland Islands, 2000, www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/sam/fal

Falkland Islands Government on the World Wide Web, www.falklands.gov.fk.

Eleanor Stanford

Falkland Islands

views updated May 29 2018

Falkland Islands

Basic Data
Official Country Name:Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Region:South America
Literacy Rate:NA

The Falkland Islands (also known as Malvinas) are a United Kingdoms Overseas Territory that the British have continuously controlled since 1833. Largely a ruralagricultural economy produced an urban-rural dichotomy in the provision of education. Isolated rural areas compared to the capital, Stanley, made it difficult to recruit and retain teachers. In addition, costs were high in making opportunities for rural pupils comparable with those in Stanley, especially in the transportation of travelling teachers, the maintenance of sufficient itinerant staff to ensure visits to pupils at educationally desirable intervals, and the subsidy of the hostel in the capital.

Historically, low expectations on the part of pupils and parents in the rural areas, and a continuous outflow of pastoral revenues, have contributed to this dichotomy. The provision of universal suffrage in 1948 prompted increases in public funding and private contributions. The Falkland Islands Government provides staff, equipment, and supplies throughout the islands. Education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 16. The school year in Stanley, which begins in mid-January, is divided into three terms. Elsewhere, it varies due to local requirements. The English language, English methods, and English examination systems are standard.

The primary school, Stanley/Junior School, caters to preschool youth to 10-year-olds. It was built in 1955 with modern additions made in 1990, 1996, and 2001. Each classroom has two multi-media computers and printers, and some are equipped with TV and video facilities. Additionally, there is a well-stocked library and spacious hall used for physical education, music, drama, and other activities.

In 1992 Stanley opened its secondary school, the Falkland Islands Community School, which caters to the 11- through 16-year-olds, as well as providing an educational and recreational resource for the whole community. It offers 16 subjects at the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level. In addition to general classrooms, there are two science laboratories, a music room, and rooms for art, information technology, business studies, design technology, home economics, and needle craft. Students receiving a grade of "C" or better are funded for A Level/GNVQ courses at Peter Symonds' Sixth Forum College or at alternate schools. There is funding, too, for vocational and higher education courses in Britain.

In the rural areas, known as Camp, younger children live in isolated settlements or on farms. Since the 1970s, parental attitudes have been favorable for more formal education. The majority of the children are taught by a combination of travelling teacher and radio/telephone lessons. A few are taught in the three settlement schools at Fox Bay, Port Howard, and North Arm. A team of six travelling teachers visit the more isolated pupils for two out of every six weeks; they work closely with the radio/telephone teachers provided by the Stanley based Camp Education Unit.

The changing parental attitudes of the older Camp children, between the ages of 10 and 16, have favored attendance at more distant schools. The children then live in a boarding hostel.


"Education: Information for Teaching Staff and Other Interested Persons." Falkland Islands Government, 2000. Available from http://www.falklands.gov.fk/education.htm.

Falkland Islands Government, Education Department. "Stanley Infant/Junior School," 2000. Available from http://www.falklands.gov.fk/ed1.htm.

Smith, David B. "Scale, Isolation and Dependency in the Educational System in the Educational System of the Falkland Islands." Educational Review 43 (1991): 335-342.

. "Schooling in the Falkland Islands." Ph.D. diss., University of Hull, 1988.

Bill T. Manikas

Falkland Islands

views updated May 17 2018

Falkland Islands

Basic Data

Official Country Name:Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Region (Map name):South America
Literacy rate:N/A

Although the Falkland Islands lies east of southern Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean, it has been claimed by the French, the British, and the Spanish.

Press freedoms in the Falkland Islands equal those of Great Britain. There is no daily newspaper but the country boasts two weeklies, The Penguin News and theTeaberry Express. The Penguin News is published every Friday by Mercopress, and the Teaberry Express is published by Falkland Islands News Network. The staunchly pro-British Falkland Islands Newsletter is published in London by the non-profit Falkland Island Association and appears quarterly. The Web portal Falkland Island News Network, www.sartma.com, provides online access to a number of publications, including the Teaberry Express.

There are seven FM radio stations and one AM radio station for approximately 1,000 radios. There are two local television stations, both of which are run by the British Forces Broadcasting Service. There are approximately 1,000 televisions on the island. There are two Internet service providers.

The English made the first sighting, in 1592, and the first landing, in 1690, but the French established the first colony in 1764. This colony was turned over to the Spanish two years later, and the collection of islands has been subject to sporadic territorial dispute ever since, first between Britain and Spain, then between Britain and Argentina. Tensions flared most recently in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Islands. The British beat them back and Queen Elizabeth II remains the chief of state. The head of the government is the Governor, who is appointed by the monarch to preside over a unicameral Legislative Council. The estimated population of the Falklands, which includes the two main islands of East and West Falkland and about 200 smaller islands, is nearly 3,000. English is the official language. Sheep farming and wool exports are the traditional staples of the economy, but in the late 1980s, the government began to ramp up the sale of fishing licenses to subsidize social services.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Falkland Islands." World Factbook 2001. Available from www.cia.gov.

Falkland Islands News Network home page. 2002. Available from www.sartma.com.

Falkland Islands Tourist Board. 2002. Available from www.tourism.org.fk.

Jenny B. Davis

Falkland Islands

views updated May 23 2018

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) British crown colony in the s Atlantic Ocean, c.520km (320mi) off the e coast of Argentina; the 00capital is Stanley (on East Falkland). It includes two large islands (East and West Falkland) and 200 smaller ones. First explored by Europeans in the late 16th century, the Falklands were at various times under Spanish, French and British control. Argentinian denials of British sovereignty led to the Falklands War (1982). The main activity is sheep farming; wool and hides are exported. Area: c.12,200sq km (4620sq mi). Pop. (2002 est.) 2300.