Capital | Stanley
Population | 3,140 (July 2008 est.)
Area | 12,173 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
Currency | Pound (FKP)
Time Zone | UTC-4
Best Time to Visit | October to April
Connecting with the Culture | Admiring ramshackle Stanley, a town that appears to have been pieced together from flotsam, local stone and a whole lot of bright paint. Wildlife- watching on the aptly named Sea Lion Island. Paying court to breeding pairs of king penguins at Volunteer Beach. Snacking on the South Sandwich Islands and seeing more than five million pairs of breeding chinstrap penguins.
Read | The Battle for the Falklands, a cool assessment of the politics and strategy of the 1982 war by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.
Listen | to the Fighting Pig Band.
Watch | Falklands—Taskforce South, a gritty account of the British defense of the islands aboard a British naval vessel.
Eat | hydroponically grown vegetables in Stanley, but pack your own lunch anywhere else (British explorer Shackleton didn’t and almost starved to death).
Drink | a cup of tea during a regular smoko (traditional mid-morning tea break).
In a Word | Cuppa (usually a cup of tea, the most warming thing on a freezing-cold day)
Characteristics | British-Argentine battlefield; penguin mating grounds; snow-covered islands; near dark winters; snow, snow, and even more snow.
Surprises | The Falklands War, for which the island is still best known, lasted only 72 days, but saw casualties of almost a thousand servicemen. Anywhere outside of Stanley is known as ‘camp’, from the Spanish word campo, countryside.
NEWS ABOUT THE FALKLANDS, AKA THE MALVINAS ISLANDS:
On 30th anniversary of Falklands/Malvinas war, China says islands might be theirs
(Video: GlobeTrekker visits the Falkland/Malvinas Islands)
(HN, 4/2/12) - In Argentina, demonstrations are scheduled in Buenos Aires marking the 30 years since 1982's Falkland/Malvinas War between Argentina & Great Britain. War veterans from across Argentina will hold a series of marches at both Patagonian cities of Ushuaia & Río Grande in this South America nation when President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner gives a televised speech at the Islas Malvinas square in Ushuahia. A war, of words at least for now, continues between the 2 countries. As recently as last week, Argentina criticized the UK for “the plundering of our natural resources, our oil”; threatening a group of British & American banks with legal action for advising & writing research reports about companies involved in the Falkland Islands' £1.6bn oil industry.
Known for having extensive oil reserves both on & around the Falklands/Malvinas the world energy crisis has focused attention on these mostly untapped supplies. Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded article for the Daily Telegraph, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague today said "Argentina’s attempts to coerce the islanders by pledging to defend their sovereignty has been deeply regrettable", adding “Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland islanders to determine their own future"
It appears as well that Argentina & Britain face a new challenge at this anniversary as a recent research paper by China's Dr. Wen Peng Fo, of Beijing's Commission of Investigatory Archeologists (CIA) says that when the Chinese fleet circumnavigated the globe during the Ming Dynasty in 1421, they found the islands & have documented a small Chinese colony on the East Island of the archipelago in the 15th century. Sources within the Chinese government say, "repossession of this sovereign Chinese territory will be peaceful & gradual". Additionally, the Walt Disney Company, has expressed interest in creating an entertainment complex dedicated to the discovery of America on the islands, & an Arab sheik is studying the possibility of constructing the world’s largest mall at the island's airbase. In the 30 years since the conflict, which lasted 74 days & ended with Argentina surrendering the islands to Britain, the population has almost doubled to around 3000, & GDP has risen from £5 million in 1980 to over £100 million now. (Read more at the Buenos Aires Herald)
Pink Floyd Founder Supports Students, Weighs in on Falklands/Malvinas in SA
(HN, 3/1/12) - On tour in South America Roger Waters voiced support for demonstrating Chilean students & criticized former British PM Margaret Thatcher's polices towards The Falklands/Malvinas as tensions between the U.K. & Argentina intensify. The 1982 conflict claimed 900 lives; today 3,000 people live there. Pink Floyd addressed the dispute musically in 1983's `The Final Cut' in which the lyrics of the 1st track say: "Oh Maggie, Maggie, what have we done?" – an apparent reference to Margaret Thatcher's order to sink the Argentinian ship Belgrano, killing 368 Argentinian sailors.
Waters arrived on the heels of Sean Penn, who 2 weeks ago lambasted Britain for "ludicrous and archaic colonialism" in the Falklands, meeting with President Cristina Kirchner in his role as special ambassador for Haiti. On Tuesday Kirchner told 20 companies to stop importing British products & in a televised speech declared the islands "one of the last remaining colonialist enclaves in the world".
Waters is playing 2 nights in Chile, then heads to Buenos Aires for 9 sold-out shows at the River Plate football stadium that begins next Wednesday. Waters has sold more than 370,000 tickets for the Buenos Aires leg of his wildly popular global tour, `The Wall Live'. Waters said he sympathizes with Chilean students who have been battling the government for education reform, improved education standards, lower university fees & cheaper bus passes. Since March 2011, students have staged more than 6,000 protests countrywide. (Read More at The Buenos Aires Herald)