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Oh, we need the Falkland Islands... for strategic sheep purposes!
Two shitty Islands, full of penguins!"
The Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory, located just off South America.
It's most famous for The Falklands War, although there was also a notable naval battle there at the beginning of World War One. The Falklands War significantly increased the fame (or notoriety) of the Exocet anti-ship missile.
Who settled the island first (there are no natives) is a vexed question, as numerous theoretical claims overlapped and everyone tried to act on them at about the same time: Britain? Spain? France? USA? Argentina? The Argentines want the islands, or wanted them (there is dispute about whether the military junta which went to war for them fell because of the war, or because they lost). But the fact on the ground is that the people on the islands are British citizens and the islands are currently under British control, and the residents seem to be happy with that arrangement. Anyone in the UK who suggests that the islands ought to be given to the Argentines tends to be shouted down very fast, very loudly, and with no great politeness.
The place has penguins and some land mines left from the war. Since penguins aren't heavy enough to set the mines off, they can wander the beaches that humans can't. There has been a massive effort to remove many of these mines -- specifically just outside Stanley.
In 2010, a British company found oil. Predictably, this has started the argument up again. However, the first attempt to find it proved disappointing and the first results poor. Hearts sank a little around the Islands, though there are still apparently a few other prospective, hopeful dig sites.
There seems to be the impression that the Islands are chock full of millionaires. While we do have two or three of them kicking around the place, Islanders are, on a whole, not nearly as rich as the assumption and implication seems to be. Millionaires or idiots, anyway.
Most of the Islands' income relies quite heavily on fishing -- getting many Jiggers from abroad (Korea, Japan, etc...) -- and tourism -- because somehow, everything really is better with penguins. Though that isn't the only wildlife people travel to see: There are albatross, sea lions, and more (including an endemic species of fox/canine, but that one is sadly long extinct). And there are some truly beautiful sights both on the East and West Islands.
FICS (Falkland Island Community School) and the Junior School are both modelled quite heavily on UK school systems; however, the year (vacation, breaks and the like) is swapped, as Falklands is in summer when the UK is in winter. Teachers (like other workers in many Departments around the Island) are often brought down on contract from the UK.
If Falkland students wish to go to college (and maybe then onto University) they take the standard GCSE tests, and if they have a suitable amount of points (A* = five points, A = four points, etc.) the Government will pay for them to be sent to the UK -- usually to Chichester or Winchester -- to study their chosen subjects.
Healthcare is free, but the hospital equipment is far more limited than most anywhere abroad, so it's not rare that someone will be sent either to Santiago or the UK for medical attention.
Tropes about the archipelago:
- Everything's Better with Penguins: You bet. Especially rockhoppers.
Appearances in fiction:
- Many works related to The Falklands War.
- Spitting Image began in 1983 after the war, but commonly used the Falklands as a setting whenever Thatcher wanted someone Reassigned to Antarctica.
The Falkland Islander flag
- ↑ not that Argentina ever quit asking in the first place, of course; the oil only made the argument fire up again.