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FALKLAND ISLANDS. A Crown colony of Great Britain in the South Atlantic, consisting of the two large islands of East and West Falkland, a large number of small islands, mostly uninhabited, and the uninhabited island of South Georgia (Map: South America, E 8). The Falkland Archipelago is situated between latitudes 51° and 52° 45′ S. and longitudes 57° 20′ and 61° 46′ W., about 300 miles east of the Strait of Magellan (Map: South America, D 8). Its entire area is estimated at about 7500 square miles. The surface is generally low and barren, with some elevation toward the north. The coasts are indented by numerous well-protected harbors. The climate is not unhealthful, but disagreeable on account of strong winds and drizzling rains. The soil yields little more than grass, which grows in abundance. The chief occupation is sheep-farming, and the principal exports are wool, hides, and tallow. The trade is mainly with Great Britain and Uruguay. The annual value of the commerce exceeds $1,000,000, of which about two-thirds consists of exports. The colony is administered by a governor and two councils. Population, about 2000.

The Falkland Islands are supposed to have been visited by Davis in 1592. They received their name from Captain Strong, who sailed through Falkland Strait in 1690. The French established a settlement there in 1763, but were soon expelled by the British, who were in turn driven out by the Spanish. Until 1833 the islands remained under the nominal control of the Republic of Argentina. In 1833 the British again took possession of the group, and established the present colony in 1851, not without some protest on the part of Argentina. The chief town of the colony, Stanley, has a population of less than a thousand. Consult: British Empire Series (London, 1900); Murdoch, From Edinburgh to the Antarctic, 1892-93 (London, 1894).