East and West Falkland, the two largest islands, are about 300 miles east of South America’s southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S.
The first recorded landing on the Islands was by British Captain John Strong aboard the Welfare in 1690.
At various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements.
Port Egmont, the first British settlement in the Falkland Islands, was founded on January 25, 1765. It was established by an expedition led by Commodore John Byron that left a vegetable garden..
Port Egmont was named after the second Earl of Egmont, who was a prominent politician and notably served as First Lord of the Admiralty.
|Spanish map of Port Egmont in 1780.|
With the arrival of two British naval ships at the Falkland Islands, the United Kingdom re-asserted sovereignty there although Argentina maintained its claim to the islands.
On March 19, 1982, Argentinian forces posing as scrap metal merchants, occupied the abandoned whaling station at Leith Harbour on South Georgia. The following month they occupied the Falkland Islands precipitating war with the United Kingdom. British administration was restored two months later at the end of the Falklands War.
During The Falklands War, British and Argentine forces setup a “neutral zone” nearby for hospital ships, sometimes even helping each other’s wounded.
The Dire Straits song “Brothers in Arms,” was written about the Falklands War.
Falkland Islanders have been British citizens since 1983.
The Falklands have internal self-governance, with the United Kingdom taking responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs.
The islands’ capital is Stanley on East Falkland.
There is one weekly newspaper, the Penguin News which is issued every Friday
There is no McDonalds or Starbucks or Tesco,– in fact no chain shops or restaurants of any kind.
There are 167 times as many sheep as permanent residents in the Falkland Islands.
The population (2,932 inhabitants in 2012) primarily consists of native Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.
Immigration from the United Kingdom, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, and Chile has reversed a population decline.