macrohistory & world report

Falkland Islands

Location of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean

The Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean

World Factbook asof November 2014: "The economy was formerly based on agriculture, mainly sheep farming but fishing and tourism currently comprise 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 net more than $40 million per year, which help support the island's health, education, and welfare system. The waters around the Falkland Islands are known for their squid, which account for around 75% of the annual 200,000 ton fish catch. Dairy farming supports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Foreign exchange earnings come from shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and from the sale of postage stamps and coins. In 2001, the government purchased 100 reindeer with the intent to increase the number to 10,000 over the following 20 years so that venison could be exported to Scandinavia and Chile. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 69,000 visitors in 2009. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost. The islands are now self-financing except for defense. In 1993 the British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile oil exploration zone around the islands, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day. Political tensions between the UK and Argentina remain high following the start of oil drilling activities in the waters. In September 2011, a British exploration firm announced that it plans to commence oil production in 2016."

Estimated per capita GDP
2002: $35,400


2012: 2,840
2008: 3,140


Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of southern Argentina, slightly smaller than Connecticut. Rains half of the days of the year. Cold. Snow except for January and February.


Chief of state: Elizabeth II (queen, House of Windsor) since 6 February 1952. Overseas territory of the United Kingdom (Britain). Legislature: 10 members, 8 of whom are elected by popular vote and serve four-year terms.

Recent History

The French settled the island in 1764. Two years later the colony was turned over to Spain. Britain claimed the island and established a naval garrison there in 1833. Spanish name for the islands: Islas Malvinas.

Argentina invaded the islands in April 1982. A British force landed seven weeks later. The Argentines surrendered in June.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.