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  Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982

ARGENTINE INVASION & BRITISH RESPONSE (Parts 1-6)

Part 1. FALKLAND ISLANDS

Brigadier J H Thompson RM, 3 Commando Brigade and Major General Moore, Land Forces, Falkland Islands

on to 2. Argentina

 

Some 8,000 miles from Britain (7,000 nautical miles), nearly two-thirds the size of Wales and often compared with the western isles of Scotland, the Falklands are the only major island group in the South Atlantic and lays 300 miles to the east of the Strait of Magellan.

Geography and Climate - The main islands of West and East Falkland and more than 100 smaller ones total over 4,700 square miles. They are chiefly moorland, treeless and the highest point is Mount Usborne on East Falkland.

The climate is cool, damp and often windy with mean monthly temperatures varying between 49F in January (summer) and 36F in July (winter). Air temperature rarely exceeds 70F or falls below 12F.

Population and Economy - Total population at the 1980 census was 1,813 with just over 1,000 living in Stanley on the east coast of East Falkland, the capital and only town in the colony. The reminder lived outside in 'the Camp' where there are no roads, although some of the settlements have an airstrip.

Most of the people are of British extraction and mainly engaged in farming the 600,000 sheep which occupy much of the land. In 1980, exports to Britain of wool and hides totalled 2.8 million and imports including food, manufactured goods, timber and machinery, 2 million.

Government - The Governor, (later Sir) Rex Hunt was president of the mainly nominated and advisory Executive Council and also of the partly elected Legislative Council which included six people's representatives. The Government balanced public revenue and expenditure at around 2.4 million in 1981/82.

The Government also administered two dependencies:

South Georgia - 900 miles east-south-east of the Falklands, the 100 mile long island is completely mountainous, covered with glaciers and is likened to a partly submerged stretch of the Swiss Alps. With an area of 1,450 square miles, conditions are near Antarctic, and its only regular population was the 20 or so staff of the British Antarctic Survey based at King Edward Point near the old whaling station of Grytviken.

South Sandwich Islands - 350 miles further on is the start of this 150 mile long island chain which continues down to Southern Thule. Normally uninhabited and actively volcanic, the islands are totally Antarctic in climate.

 
 

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revised 31/5/13