Falkland Islands. Travel and vacation in the Falkland Islands.

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The Falkland Islands are a de facto British Overseas Territory and an important staging post on the route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, enabling control of the South Atlantic. British rights to the islands are disputed by Argentina, which considers them part of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic islands.

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Origin of the name

The Falkland Islands got their name from the Falkland Passage, a strait between the two main islands of the archipelago. The name for the strait was chosen by Englishman John Strong in 1690 as a tribute to his patron Anthony Carey, 5th Viscount of the Falklands. The name was later extended to the entire group of islands. The Spanish name, Islas Malvinas, is derived from the French name, Îles Malouines, given by Louis Antoine de Bougainville in 1764 in honor of the first known islander settlers, sailors and fishermen from the Breton port of Saint-Malo in France. Since the dispute over the ownership of the islands has not been finally resolved, the use of many Spanish names in the Falkland Islands is considered offensive. In particular, this applies to the names associated with the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine troops in 1982. The commander of the British forces in the Falklands conflict, General Sir Jeremy Moore, did not allow the use of the name “Malvinas Islands” in the Argentine surrender document, rejecting it as a propaganda term.

Geography

The Falkland Islands consist of two large (West and East Falkland) and about 776 small islands and rocks. The archipelago is 343 km from the Argentine island of Estados, 463 km from the coast of South America, and 1,078 km from the Cliffs of Shag (South Georgia). The total area is 12,173 km². The total length of the coastline is about 1,300 km, the coastline is highly indented. West and East Falkland Islands are separated by the Falkland Strait. The highest point of the archipelago is Mount Usborne (705m, located on East Falkland Island), Mount Adam on West Falkland Island is 700m high. There are no long rivers on the islands, but there are a large number of streams, which usually flow into the nearest fjord or bay.

Climate

The climate of the islands is characterized as moderately cool, oceanic. Winds from the west predominate. Temperature variations throughout the year are relatively small. Monthly average temperatures range from 9°C in January and February to 2°C in June and July. The average annual temperature is about 5.6 ° C. Is under the influence of powerful cold currents. One of them – the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) – follows from the Falkland Islands to the Bay of La Plata. The current velocity is 1-2 km/h. The average water temperature in winter is from 4 to 10 ° C, in summer from 8 to 15 ° C. Carries a large number of icebergs, although icebergs are rare near the islands.

The average annual precipitation is about 574 mm, the precipitation level is approximately constant throughout the year. The western part of the archipelago is drier than the eastern part. For example, rainfall in Port Stanley, on the east coast is about 630 mm, while in the far west of the Falkland Islands it is only about 430 mm. Snowfall may occur in winter, but it is only temporary and does not create long-lasting snow cover. Fogs are frequent.

Flora and fauna

Biogeographically, the islands belong to the Antarctic ecological zone and the Holantarctic floral kingdom. There is a strong association with the Patagonian flora and fauna. The only aboriginal land mammal of the archipelago was the Falkland fox (exterminated in the mid-19th century with the beginning of mass colonization). In coastal waters there are 14 species of marine mammals. The islands are home to a great number of seabirds (over 60 species) including the black-browed albatross, 60% of which nest on the Falkland Islands. In addition, five species of penguins nest on the archipelago. No species of reptiles and amphibians live on the islands. About 200 species of insects are recorded, as well as 43 species of spiders and 12 species of worms. Only 13 species of terrestrial invertebrates are recognized as endemics (beetles Malvinius, Morronia, Falklandius and others), but due to the lack of information about many species, the proportion of endemics is probably much more significant. Six fish species inhabit fresh waters of the archipelago.

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Vegetation of the archipelago is represented by cereal meadows and heathlands. There are 363 species of vascular plants, 21 species of ferns and 278 species of flowering plants.

The flora and fauna of the archipelago were greatly altered during colonization. Today almost the entire territory of the islands is used as pasture for sheep. Imported plant and animal species are damaging the local flora and fauna.

History

It is said that the islands were discovered in 1591-92 by the English navigator John Davies who commanded a ship in the expedition of the English corsair Thomas Cavendish, but the right to be the discoverers of the archipelago is also claimed by the Spanish. Subsequently, the islands repeatedly changed hands. There was no indigenous population on them.

In 1763-1765 the islands were explored by the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville. In 1764, he founded the first settlement on East Falkland Island, named Port St. Louis (since 1828, Port Louis). In January 1765 a British captain John Byron, unaware of the presence of the French on the islands, explored Saunders Island at the western end of the archipelago and claimed it for incorporation into Great Britain. Captain Byron named the bay on Saunders Port Egmont. Here in 1766 Captain McBride established an English settlement. In the same year Spain acquired French possessions in the Falklands from Bougainville and, having secured its authority there in 1767, appointed a governor. In 1770 the Spanish attacked Port Egmont and expelled the English from the island. This brought the two countries to the brink of war, but a later peace treaty allowed the British to return to Port Egmont in 1771, with neither Spain nor Britain giving up their claim to the islands.

In 1774, in anticipation of the impending U.S. War of Independence, Britain unilaterally relinquished many of its overseas possessions, including Port Egmont. Upon leaving the Falklands in 1776, the British placed a commemorative plaque here as evidence of their rights to the territory. From 1776 until 1811 the islands remained a Spanish settlement, governed from Buenos Aires as part of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. In 1811 the Spaniards left the islands, also leaving a plaque here as proof of their rights.

On November 6, 1820, Colonel David Jewett raised the flag of the United Provinces of South America over Port Louis. Jewett was a U.S. privateer in the service of Patrick Lynch, a Buenos Aires businessman on whose ship he sailed (Lynch himself obtained a privateer’s certificate from Jose Rondeau, head of the United Provinces). In 1828 Louis Vernet, a merchant, founded a settlement on the Falklands, applying for permission from both British and Argentine authorities (after the declaration of independence in 1816, Argentina declared the islands its own). He was a seal fisherman and the Argentine government gave him a permit (according to British historians, the Argentine government owed a large sum to Vernet’s companion, Jorge Pacheco, and to pay off his debt somehow, it issued the required permit). In 1831 Verne seized several American ships that were also harboring seals, believing that they were violating his rights. The American consul in Argentina responded by saying that the U.S. did not recognize that country’s authority over the Falkland Islands. The Americans then sent a warship to the islands to retrieve the ships that Verne had seized. Upon arrival there, the captain of the sent ship arrested several inhabitants of the settlement, took some of them with him, a few people decided to stay. At the same time, there is a version that the settlement (at least the gunpowder stores and cannons) was destroyed by the arriving Americans.

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In 1832, Argentina decided to rebuild the settlement and set up a penal colony there. However, when a new governor arrived on the island, a riot broke out and the governor was assassinated. Vernet never returned to the settlement he had founded, but it is alleged that he sold his holdings to a British merchant who began persuading the British government to regain control of the archipelago. Eventually, in January 1833, the British landed on the Falklands and notified the Argentine authorities of their intention to restore their authority over the islands. The island settlers were allowed to remain. One of them, Irish shopkeeper William Dixon, was instructed to fly the British flag over the island on Sundays and in view of an approaching ship. In spite of this, however, the Falkland Islands were essentially self-governing until 1834. It was not until January 10, 1834, that British naval lieutenant Henry Smith raised the Union Jack over Port Louis. It was not until 1842 that governors, as such, were appointed, and before that the head of the islands was the so-called “resident naval officer”.

Subsequently, the British Royal Navy built a military base (at Port Stanley) on the Falklands, and the islands became a strategically important navigational point in the Cape Horn area. During World War I, a battle took place near the Falkland Islands between the German cruiser squadron of Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee and the British squadron of Vice Admiral Frederick Sturdy. During World War II, Port Stanley served as a repair base for British ships that took part in the Battle of La Plata.

The issue of territoriality of the islands came up again in the second half of the twentieth century. Argentina saw the creation of the UN as an opportunity to declare its rights to the archipelago to the other countries. At the signing of the UN Charter in 1945, Argentina declared that it reserves the rights to own the Falkland Islands and the right to get them back. Great Britain responded in the spirit that the islanders should vote to secede from Great Britain in a referendum and that this was an important condition for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Later, in the 1960s, negotiations between the British and Argentine representatives took place, but they did not lead to any coherent solution to the Falkland question. A stumbling block in the negotiations was the fact that the islands’ two-thousand population, mostly of British origin, preferred that they remain British territory.

World War I

During World War I, a battle between a German cruiser squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Maximilian von Spee and a British squadron (Vice-Admiral F. D. Sturdy) took place in the archipelago area on December 8, 1914.

The German command attempted to intensify the actions of its fleet on British maritime communications in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Vice-Admiral von Spee led a squadron (2 armored and 3 light cruisers, 2 transports and a hospital ship) to the coast of South America, where on November 1, 1914 in the battle of Cape Coronel broke the British squadron of cruisers.

Having accomplished the task of diverting a substantial British fleet force, the German squadron received orders to break back to Germany. Not knowing the disposition of British ships, Spee decided to strike at the British naval base of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, where there was a British squadron (1 battleship, 2 battleship, 3 armored and 2 light cruisers). Encountering unexpectedly strong resistance, Spee tried to leave, but the British ships caught up with him. Spee ordered the light cruisers and transports to leave in different directions. They were pursued by British armored and light cruisers, and battle cruisers engaged German armored cruisers and sank them. Two German light cruisers and transports were also destroyed. Only the cruiser “Dresden” (killed in action off the island of Mas-a-Tierra) and the hospital ship “Seidlitz” managed to escape (interned in neutral Argentina). As a result of the victory, the British command was relieved of the need to devote significant forces to secondary theaters of war, and the German command lost a strong cruiser squadron. Spee himself died on the flagship cruiser Scharnhorst.

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The Anglo-Argentine conflict

In 1982 the Anglo-Argentine conflict broke out around the islands. On April 2 Argentina carried out a military operation, taking control of the islands. However, Great Britain responded by sending a large naval force and SAS units to the islands in order to retake the Falklands by force. During the fighting between May and June, Argentina was defeated, but continues to dispute both the name of the islands and territorial ownership.

Present

At present, the islands remain the subject of a territorial dispute between Argentina and Great Britain, which exercises de facto control over them as its Overseas Territory. The status of British Overseas Territory was confirmed by a referendum held on the initiative of the local authorities on March 10-11, 2013: 99.3% voted in favor of this provision, against – only three people (turnout was 92% – in the expression of will participated 1517 out of 1672 islanders entitled to vote).

There are British military bases on the islands – the air base “Mount Pleasant” and the naval base “Mare Harbor”.

Relations between the UK and Argentina were strained again after in 2010 when British companies began to develop oil fields on the shelf near the islands. In the spring of 2012 the Argentine authorities said they were going to sue the companies involved in oil and gas exploration on the territories near the islands, such as Rockhopper Exploration, Falkland Oil & Gas and others. Britain then increased its military presence in the region by reinforcing its fleet with the newest Dauntless destroyer and the Trafalgar submarine, and by demonstratively sending Prince William on a six-week mission there.

Shortly thereafter, Argentina protested the militarization of the islands, but on Feb. 8, 2012, Britain denied the allegations.

“We are not militarizing the South Atlantic. Our defensive strategy in the Falkland Islands remains unchanged. The people of the Falklands choose British allegiance. Their right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron’s press office.

The Olympic team of Argentina was filmed in the video, which tells about the preparation in the city of Port Stanley for the XXX Summer Olympic Games under the slogan “To win in England, we train in Argentina”, which caused outrage of the Falkland Islands representative in the English Parliament, Ian Hansen.

Population

According to the 2012 census, the population of the Falkland Islands is 2,840. As of July 2008, the population of the Falkland Islands was 3,140. According to the 2006 census, most of the population (94.2% or 2,786 people) lived on East Falkland Island, 4.2% or 127 people on West Falkland Island and 1.6% or 42 people on the other islands of the archipelago. Port Stanley is home to 2,115 people (71.57% of the archipelago’s population).

English is the language of most of the population; Spanish (7.68%), German (0.6%) and French (0.5%) are also common. About 1.83% of the population speaks English with little or no confidence. 67.17% of the population of the archipelago is a Christian, 31.51% said they had no religion, about 1.3% practice other religions. Most of the people are descendants of British, Scottish, Irish and Norwegian settlers, some are recent immigrants from Great Britain (25%), Saint Helena (14%), Chile (5%), Australia, Germany and other countries (including Russia – 10 people).

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Economy

The economy of the islands was originally based on whaling and servicing ships, and then (from the 1870s to the 1980s) was based entirely on sheep breeding. Today, the economy of the archipelago depends mainly on sheep farming, industrial fishing, fish processing, tourism, and agriculture. More than 80% of the islands are pastures, according to island government statistics, there are about 500,000 sheep in the Falkland Archipelago. About 60% of the herds are in East Falkland and about 40% in West Falkland. The Falkland Islands are an exporter of high quality wool, which goes mainly to the UK. There are also slaughterhouses on the East Island.

Wells are being drilled to explore the islands’ estimated large offshore oil reserves.

Transportation

In 2007, the road network of the archipelago is 786 km, with another 50 km planned or under construction. It is also worth noting that back in 1982, there were no roads outside Port Stanley at all. There are 2 airports with paved runways, one of them – the airport of Mount Pleasant (RAF Mount Pleasant), located 48 km south-west of Port Stanley, is used for international flights, but also operates as a military base; the second airport (Port Stanley Airport) is in the suburbs of Port Stanley and serves domestic flights, in addition, through it links with the British bases in Antarctica.

There are 2 seaports: Port Stanley (East Falkland) and Fox Bay (West Falkland). The 2 main islands of the archipelago are connected by regular ferry crossings. In 1915-16, a railway line (Camber Railway) about 5.6 km long and 610 mm wide was built on East Falkland and was in use until the 1920s. There is no public transport system on the archipelago, but cabs are available.

Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are an Overseas Territory of Great Britain in the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Port Stanley.

The climate of the islands is temperate oceanic. The average temperature in January is +18 ° C and in July is +3 ° C. October to November or March to April are the best times to visit the islands.

The official language of the Falkland Islands is English. The main religious movements are Catholicism, Anglicanism and Lutheranism.

Country holidays in the islands are chosen by tourists who prefer to spend their vacations in peace and quiet. The Falkland Islands attract travelers to observe the diversity of local fauna in the natural environment. The penguins of West Falkland are a particular favorite. The colony of black-headed albatrosses, swans, falcons, rookeries of sea elephants and lions are of great interest for the visitors of the islands. Visitors come to the Falkland Islands to see and photograph dolphins, orcas and to watch migrating whales.

Another reason to go on vacation to the Falkland Islands is unforgettable fishing. The waters of the Murrell River near Port Stanley are teeming with mullet, trout and tuna. The fishing season on the islands lasts from September to April.

Port Stanley will appeal to travelers who are passionate about learning about military history. Its museums and military cemetery preserve the history of the armed conflict between Britain and Argentina. Every year in Port Stanley sports competitions are held. Races, rodeos and shepherd dog races are enjoyed by holidaymakers visiting the Falkland Islands.

At Port Louis holidaymakers can learn about the French history of the archipelago and at Saunders Island the story of the Spanish expulsion and British rule of the Falkland Islands.

How to get there

There are no direct flights between the CIS and the Falkland Islands. Tourists planning a vacation in the Islands should use the services of LAN Airlines. The airline offers flights from Santiago with connections in Punta Arenas and Rio Gallegos.

There are flights from Brize Norton operated by the Royal Air Force.

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Sea traffic

Cruise ships call at Port Stanley in the summer.

Visas are required for CIS citizens to travel to the Falkland Islands. Visas can be obtained from British consulates or embassies.

The visa is ready within three weeks.

Its validity is three months.

Tourists from the European Union ( European Union ) do not require a visa for vacationing in the British Overseas Territory.

Customs

Under customs regulations, all currencies may be brought in or exported from the islands without restriction.

Tourists planning a trip to the Falkland Islands may bring with them duty-free

  • perfumes;
  • alcohol and tobacco products;
  • Souvenirs (total value not to exceed £32 per travel companion).

Tourists going on vacation to the Falkland Islands must obtain a licence from the Falkland Islands Policy Authority to bring weapons.

To bring in plants or dairy and meat products, visitors to the island are required to obtain a permit from the Falkland Islands Department of Agriculture.

Cuisine

The cuisine of the Falkland Islands is similar to the British cuisine but with elements of Latin American cuisine. The Islanders’ main diet consists of meat, poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables.

The popular meat dishes include Falkland-style lamb, grilled beef sausages, meat pies and goose pâté.

Fish lovers should try snow crab meat, delicate trout soup, salad with oysters and scallops or delicious Atlantic cod roasted with British-style potatoes.

Alcohol is not produced in the Falkland Islands. Local stores and restaurants offer a wide range of imported wines, cognacs and whiskies.

Traditionally for the English way of life the Islanders drink tea, herbal beverages and coffee.

And if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the local pastries based on strange British recipes.

Money

The national currency is the Falkland Islands Pound (FKP). The British pound and the American dollar are used in conjunction with the local currency.

Currency can be exchanged at banks and exchange offices.

MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted at all hotels and stores in Port Stanley. American Express and Diners Cards are available to tourists and travel companions traveling to the Falkland Islands at hotels in the capital. Outside of Port Stanley it is difficult to use plastic cards. The main method of payment for the islanders remain cash.

Tourist checks are cashed in banks. It is recommended to take cheques in pounds sterling so you do not lose money on exchange rates.

What you need to know

The sights of the Falkland Islands

The main attraction of the islands is the extraordinary nature, wonderful landscapes, unforgettable sea and island landscapes.

Tourists going on a trip to the Falkland Islands should linger in the capital, Port Stanley. Visitors to the capital can take a tour of Government House, which has served as the governor’s residence since the mid-19th century. Tourists and their fellow passengers will have the opportunity to leave a record of their visit in the “visitors’ register”. Christ Church Cathedral houses the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust, which tells the story of the islands’ military past.

Port Stanley Town Hall houses the post office, which is open to the public. There you can also stroll through the libraries, court and see the Falkland Islands Philatelic Office.

The heart of cultural life in Port Stanley, the Stanley Civic Centre is a school, library and sports complex.

Islanders spending their vacation in Port Louis can tour the ruins of a residence that belonged to a French governor. Travelers can explore the HMS Sheffield Memorial on Sealion Island and the HMS Coventry Cross Memorial on Pebble Island.

Souvenirs

When visiting the Falkland Islands it is advisable to buy souvenirs that will long remind you of your vacation in this quiet corner of the world.

In Port Louis you can buy great wool sweaters and jewelry made by local artisans from sea pebbles.

Collectible postage stamps depicting the islands and handicrafts are available in Port Stanley.

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