The Falkland Islands are an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles (500 km) east of the southern Patagonian coast at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, which has an area of 4,700 square miles (12,200 km²), comprises East Falkland, West Falkland, and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands enjoy internal self-governance, with the United Kingdom taking responsibility for its defence and foreign affairs. The islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.
Controversy exists over the Falklands' original discovery and subsequent colonisation by Europeans. At various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. Britain reasserted its rule in 1833, though Argentina maintained its claim to the islands. In 1982, following Argentina's invasion of the islands, the two-month undeclared Falklands War between both countries resulted in the surrender of Argentine forces and the return of the islands to British administration.
The population, estimated at 2,932 in 2012, primarily consists of native Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent. Other ethnicities include French, Gibraltarian, and Scandinavian. Immigration from the United Kingdom, Saint Helena, and Chile has reversed a population decline. The predominant and official language is English. Under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are legally British citizens.
The islands lie on the boundary of the subarctic and temperate maritime climate zones with both major islands having mountain ranges reaching to . The islands are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands because of the effects of introduced species. Major economic activities include fishing, tourism, and sheep farming with an emphasis on high-quality wool exports. Oil exploration, licensed by the Falkland Islands Government, remains controversial as a result of maritime disputes with Argentina.
How places in Falkland Islands are organized
All places in Falkland Islands
Further information on historical place organization in Falkland Islands