The Falkland Islands

 

The Falklands are a group of islands located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about 460 km east of the South American coast. They belong to the United Kingdom but govern themselves. The Falkland Islands have been an issue of conflict between Argentina and Great Britain over the centuries, resulting in a war between the two countries in 1982.

About 3,000 people live on the Falklands, most of whom are British citizens. The island group is ruled by the Queen who sends a governor to administer the territory. 380 children who live on the Falklands are given an education according to the British school system. After attending school up to the age of 16 they can go to England to take their A-levels.

 

The Falkland Islands consist of two main islands and hundreds of smaller ones. The coastline has rough with many fjords, bays and inlets. The climate is influenced by its southern location near the Antarctic continent. Summer temperatures average 13°C in January while winter temperatures drop to 4°C in July. The islands are often hit by storms and heavy rainfall.

More than 90% of the islands are farmland. Fishing and sheep farming are the main sources of income for the Falkland Islanders. Its high quality wool is exported to the UK. In the last few years tourism has increased, largely because of cruise tours that visit the Falklands for its unique scenery and wildlife.

 

Falkland Islands

Map and location of the Falkland Islands

 

History and the Falklands War

 

During the centuries a number of European nations founded settlements on the Falkland Islands. In 1833 Britain took command over the group of islands and set up a naval station there. In the second half of the 20 th century argument erupted between Great Britain and Argentina over the colony.

Since the 19th century Argentina has claimed the islands. It states that it got the islands from Spain when it became independent in 1816.

On April 2, 1982 Argentine forces invaded and occupied the islands. The leader of Argentina’s military government, President Galtieri, ordered the invasion to draw away attention from the problems the South American country had at home. The British sent its Navy and Air Force to defend the Falklands and take over control of the islands again. The conflict lasted for two and a half months. On June 14, 1982 Argentine forces surrendered the islands and Britain took control again. Over 600 Argentine soldiers and 250 British troops were killed.

The conflict had a great impact on the governments of both countries. Shortly after the war Argentina’s military regime collapsed. In Britain the won war strengthened the political position of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Although relationships between the two countries have become normal, Argentina still claims sovereignty over the Malvinas – the Falkland Islands.

 

Penguins near the coastline of the Falklands

Penguins near the coastline of the Falklands - Gentoo {enguins

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • according to = following the laws and rules of …
  • administer = run, govern
  • A-levels = examinations that you take in Great Britain when you are 18
  • although = while
  • average = usual, normal
  • bay = part of the sea that has curved land around it
  • century = a hundred years
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • claim = to say that you have the right to own something
  • coastline = where land meets the sea
  • collapse = break down, fall apart
  • conflict = discussion, argument
  • cruise tour = holiday on a large ship
  • draw away attention = to make people stop worrying about a problem
  • drop = go down
  • erupt = break out
  • fjord = narrow valley with high cliffs, filled with water
  • forces = soldiers, army
  • found = start
  • govern = rules
  • government = people who rule a country
  • heavy = strong
  • impact = influence, effect
  • income = the money that you get for doing a job
  • increase = to go up
  • independent = free
  • influence = affected by
  • inlet = bay
  • invade = to enter an area with an army and take control of it
  • issue = topic
  • largely = mostly
  • located = situated, to be found
  • military regime = government made up of army officers who have not been elected by the people
  • naval = marine, sea
  • occupy = to keep control of another country with an army
  • relationship = connection, link
  • result = lead to
  • rough = not smooth, uneven
  • rule = govern
  • scenery = landscape
  • settlement = group of houses in a place where no people have lived before
  • soldier = member of an army of a country
  • source = where something comes from
  • sovereignty = to have the power to control a place
  • state = to say officially
  • strengthen = to make stronger
  • surrender = give up
  • take command = control, govern