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The climate is temperate and largely conditioned by the surrounding sea being cooled by the Antarctic Current. The most popular time to visit is between November-February, when the weather is at its warmest.
A windproof jacket is essential, as is a stout pair of walking boots when crossing the rugged terrain. Because the air is so clear and unpolluted, suntan lotion is advisable.
12,173 sq km (4,700 sq miles).
0.3 per sq km.
Stanley. Population: 2,115 (2006).
British Overseas Territory since 1833, which is not recognised by Argentina, as it considers the Falkland Islands to be part of Argentina. Existing constitution adopted in 1985.
The Falkland Islands are located 560km (350 miles) off the east coast of South America and consist of two main islands and hundreds of small outlying islands, amounting to approximately 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres). Generally, the main islands are mountainous, with low-lying and undulating terrain in the south of East Falkland. The highest mountain is Mount Usborne at 712m (2,312ft).
Christian, with Catholic, Anglican and United Reformed Church of Stanley denominations.
GMT - 3 (GMT - 4 from third Sunday in April to first Saturday in September).
The lifestyle in the Falkland Islands resembles that of a small English or Scottish village/town and communities on the Falkland Islands are highly self-contained. The influx of the British Forces has obviously had an effect on the Islands. More people now visit for a variety of reasons. The islanders themselves have benefited from the additional amenities offered by the Forces. The population is very keen to remain under British sovereignty.
240 volts AC, 50Hz.
Head of Government
Chief executive Tim Thorogood since 2008.
Head of State
Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor Alan Huckle since 2006.
Until the war of 1982, the rainy, windswept Falkland Islands were a forgotten remnant of the old British Empire. First occupied by the French in 1764, the islands were quickly ceded to Spain, which then ruled the adjacent territory in Latin America. However, the Spanish only established themselves on West Falkland and, in 1765, the British took control of the eastern island. By 1816, both powers had removed their respective garrisons and the Falkland Islands had no permanent inhabitants. A vessel from newly independent Argentina was sent in 1820 to establish a permanent settlement but was driven out by a British expedition in 1832. The British declared full sovereignty over the Falkland Islands the following year.Argentina refused to recognise British sovereignty and has maintained a consistent claim to sovereignty ever since. This claim was pursued periodically through diplomatic channels until 1982, when an Argentine force overran the British garrison and established a military base on ‘Islas Malvinas', a name derived from the original French settlers, who named the islands after their home port of St Malo. After various attempts at negotiation and mediation had failed, a British task force, which had been dispatched at the start of the crisis, was ordered to continue its journey and engage the Argentines. Argentina formally surrendered on 14 June, 10 weeks after the invasion. In the subsequent contact between the two governments, it has become apparent that the issue of sovereignty is a stumbling block and that the Falkland Islands' issue will remain a key aspect of Argentine foreign policy in the foreseeable future.
Falkland Islands Pound (FKP) and the British Pound Sterling (GBP; symbol £) = 100 pence. Notes are in denominations of £50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of £2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 pence.
Exchange facilities are available in Stanley and the Standard Chartered Bank. British Pound Sterling cheques up to £50 from Barclays, Lloyds and Natwest banks can be cashed on production of a valid cheque card, but a fee will be charged. The Falklands' currency cannot be exchanged anywhere outside the islands. English Sterling banknotes and US Dollars are accepted by most businesses. Travellers are advised to carry some currency in US Dollars in case flights are diverted.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
MasterCard and Visa are accepted in most hotels and shops in Stanley but few shops outside the main town will accept credit cards. American Express and Diners Card are accept by some businesses. There are no ATMs.
May be changed at the Standard Chartered Bank and at some commercial outlets. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency.
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 USD = 0.64 GBP 1.00 EUR = 0.84 GBP 1.00 CAD = 0.64 GBP Currency conversion rates as of 9 May 2013
Nineteenth-century shipwrecks and a plethora of marine life are among the attractions awaiting visitors to the Falkland Islands. The islands may well be known as the battle ground of the eponymous 1982 war between Britain and Argentina, but this archipelago in the Atlantic is an intriguing and relaxing holiday destination.
Wildlife lovers will find five different species of penguins, whales, and sea birds. Head to Volunteer Point for the islands' largest group of king penguins, and there are a predictably vast amount of sea lions to be found on Sea Lion Island. Most of the Falkland Islands' population live in the capital Stanley, over whose harbour much avian life can be seen circling above the waves.
Reminders of the 1982 conflict do remain, with battlefields, such as Goose Green and Pebble Island, now tourist attractions.
From www.worldtravelguide.net copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, May 2013.