Falkland Islands in South Atlantic


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The Falkland Islands ( Spanish: Islas Malvinas) are an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles (500 kilometres) east of the Patagonian coast at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, which has an area of 4,700 square miles (12,173 square kilometres), comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the islands enjoy a large degree of internal self-governance, with the United Kingdom guaranteeing good governance and taking responsibility for their 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 re-established its rule in 1833, though the islands continue to be claimed by Argentina. In 1982, following Argentina's invasion of the islands, the two-month-long undeclared Falklands War between both countries resulted in the surrender of all 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 former population decline. The predominant and official language is English. Under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are legally British citizens.

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