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Falkland Islands

These two main islands (East and West Falkland) and about 200 smaller islands form a total land area nearly as extensive as the U.S. state of Connecticut.

The capital of the Falkland Islands is the beautiful city of Stanley, located in East Falkland. About 2,500 people live on these islands, primarily English-speaking Falklanders of British origin. The lifestyle is sharply differentiated between Stanley and the small sheep-farming communities. Stanley is home to 80% of the population of all the islands.

The Falkland Islands are home to hundreds of thousands of sheep, producing several thousand tons of wool annually, as well as some mutton. The wool is then sold in Great Britain. It is also the Falklands’ leading land-based export.

Due to climatic conditions, there are practically no land mammals indigenous to the islands. It is home to about 65 bird species, including black-browed albatrosses, Falkland sparrows, peregrine falcons, and striped caracaras. Millions of penguins can be seen in the Falkland Islands. Dolphins, porpoises, southern sea lions and elephant seals can often be spotted. Fur seals are found at a few isolated sites.

In the coastal zone, many drowned river valleys form protected harbours. The small rivers occupy broad, peat-covered valleys. The islands have a cool and windy climate. Winds blow at around 30 km per hour all year round, while the mean annual average temperature is about 5°C. Such climatic conditions inhibit the complete decomposition of plant matter and permit the accumulation of deep peat deposits.

Stanley, which bears the title of the islands’ cultural centre, houses the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust. In this museum, you can find everything about the history of these islands. The city also features the Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau, which issues stamps that reflect the history and fauna of the islands.

The islands’ British heritage is apparent in Stanley, where you can see pubs, bright red mailboxes and well-kept gardens. Sports activities on the islands include bird-watching, fishing and horseback riding. The Stanley Marathon has been run annually (March) since 2005.