Newsbeat's guide to... the Falkland Islands


Falklands soldiers

The people of the Falkland Islands have voted overwhelmingly to stay part of UK territory.

There was a 90% turnout for the vote.

It follows pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the UK.

The UK government welcomed the result and urged "all countries" to accept it and respect the islanders' wishes.

It has been 30 years since the end of the Falklands war with Argentina.

More than 900 people died during the conflict, including 255 British servicemen, 655 Argentines and three who lived on the islands.

What caused the Falklands war?

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, claiming to have inherited them from Spain.

The UK had ruled the islands for 150 years and led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, chose to fight back.

What happened during the conflict?

HMS Sheffield
Image caption HMS Sheffield was destroyed in the war

Over the next 74 days, the two countries battled in the air, at sea and on the ground.

The UK had more ground troops (28,000) and ships (100) but less air power than Argentina.

There were some major flashpoints during the conflict.

On 2 May British forces sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, killing 368 crew.

Two days later 20 crew members died when the British destroyer HMS Sheffield sank after being hit by a missile.

Argentina surrendered on 14 June when British troops marched on the capital Stanley.

What is life there like now?

    • The Falkland Islands are about 300 miles off the coast of Argentina
    • The territory is made up of two main islands and hundreds of smaller ones
    • About 2,500 people live there, as well as 1,700 based at the Mount Pleasant military complex
    • It is also home to as many as one million penguins
Falklands facts

Most people living on the islands are happy to be ruled by Britain.

Stanley is the size of a large village, and many islanders make their money farming sheep.

Although the islands are remote, most people have TVs, mobile phones and access to the Internet.

The weather is unpredictable and can change in an instant.

It is said that you can sometimes experience all four seasons on the same day.

The currency is the Falkland Islands pound - worth exactly one pound Sterling.

About 70,000 tourists visit the Falklands every year, many of them to see the wildlife.

Why are the islands back in the news?

Argentina wants more talks about the future of the islands, but the UK government says the Falklands will stay British for as long as islanders want them to.

Tensions have been increasing since a British company started drilling for oil and there are also disputes over tourism and shipping routes.

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