Open main menu

The World Factbook (1990)/South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands


South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (dependent territory of the UK)

World Factbook (1990) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.jpg

See regional map IV


Total area: 4,066 km²; land area: 4,066 km²; includes Shag and Clerke Rocks

Comparative area: slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: undetermined

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: administered by the UK, claimed by Argentina

Climate: variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year, interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

Terrain: most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes

Natural resources: fish

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other; largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen

Environment: reindeer, introduced early in this century, live on South Georgia; weather conditions generally make it difficult to approach the South Sandwich Islands; the South Sandwich Islands are subject to active volcanism

Note: the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage


Population: no permanent population; there is a small military garrison on South Georgia and the British Antarctic Survey has a biological station on Bird Island; the South Sandwich islands are uninhabited


Long-form name: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (no short-form name)

Type: dependent territory of the UK

Capital: Grytviken Harbour on South Georgia is the chief town

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Independence: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Constitution: 3 October 1985

Legal system: English common law

National holiday: Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)

Executive branch: British monarch, commissioner

Legislative branch: none

Judicial branch: none

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Commissioner William Hugh FULLERTON (since 1988; resident at Stanley, Falkland Islands)


Overview: Some fishing takes place in adjacent waters. There is a potential source of income from harvesting fin fish and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps produced in the UK.

Budget: revenues $291,777; expenditures $451,011, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY88 est.)

Electricity: 900 kW capacity; 2 million kWh produced, NA kWh per capita (1989)


Highways: NA

Ports: Grytviken Harbour on South Georgia

Airports: none

Telecommunications: coastal radio station at Grytviken; no broadcast stations

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK