Baaaack to our country exploration – the Falklands/Malvinas

Yes, folks, it’s another archipelago, but this time it’s one with a sheep on its coat of arms.424px-Coa_Falkland.svg

What’s not to like about that?

It’s another one of those strategically located places that everyone wants to own. Maybe it’s the oil that hangs around there somewhere. Or maybe it’s the sheep. There are a lot of them. Sheep. And Islands. And places people want that aren’t theirs.

In any case, the Portuguese, Spanish, British and French have all had their hands in the pie there, and the US has put its thumb in, too. The Argentinians seem to have the best case for ownership, since these islands hover just off the coast of Argentina – 310 miles or so, and there are there are almost 800 islands all clustered together. That’s a lot to manage from way far away.

Well, except that the inhabitants are remorselessly British.

images-25Unless you count the penguins, who don’t disclose their nationality.

There aren’t many people – about 3000 or so, many of them military families. Around 400 of them are children, many not born on the islands but they get a special designation that lets them be born away but still citizens. They seem to be almost entirely British descent. No Argentinians need apply, perhaps?

They have a government of ten to manage things, which seems a goodly size. Mind you, managing air traffic must keep them busy – seven airports spot the islands. They must spend a fair amount of time in granting of fishing licenses to trawlers from other countries. We’re not going to mention responding to the polite requests from the Argentinians to give the islands back, please. (Since the War, they promised to not try to take the islands by force and so far they’ve stuck by their word, something some other countries might think about emulating)

global_warming_christmas_mouse_pads-p144719592188075039eng3t_400According to the CIA fact book, a reindeer herd was introduced here some time ago to provide Venison for the Scandinavians and they stay the only reindeer herd not affected by the Chernobyl explosion, which I think is rather dear. Santa need look no further for his sturdy flying friends, and since he is likely considering a move to Antarctica due to the eroding ice at the North Pole, this will be very helpful for him.

There are no trees on the islands, no mammals except aquatic ones, and, apparently a heck of a lot of albatrosses (albatrossi?). Which of course makes me think of the Ancient Mariner and having to read that poem when I was far too young to understand it and now I want to read it again, but preferably on the Falklands, where I can read it to the albatross myself.

Black Browed Albatross reciting "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to her son

Black Browed Albatross reciting “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to her son