Falkland Islanders get to vote

The folks who live on the Falkland Islands got to vote earlier this month on whether they would like to continue being part of the United Kingdom (UK). Almost everyone voted ‘yes’. In fact, there were only 3 people who voted ‘no’. The Falkland Islands, also called  Islas Malvinas by the Argentinians, are a group of over 700 islands near the southern tip of South America. Around 3,000 people live on these islands and the majority of them are of British descent.

Currently, the Falkland Islands are a self-governing territory of the United Kingdom, but Argentina claims ownership of these islands.The Falkland Islands were first spotted by the Europeans in the 1500s. At that time, there were no humans living on the islands. There was a mammal that ruled the islands – the warrah, a relative of the wolf, which is now extinct. In the 1700s, the British, French, and Spanish built colonies on the islands, but they all left. Argentina took over the islands in the 1820s, but was forced out when the British returned about a decade later in 1833. Argentina and the UK have been arguing about the ownership of these islands ever since, and even had a short war over it in 1982. In recent years, the argument between the two has become more heated. One of the reasons is because the UK has started exploring for oil in the seabed around these islands. Discovering oil would mean more money for the country that owns the islands.

In 2009, Argentina claimed that it owned a large part of the water body surrounding these islands. To prove its case, Argentina handed over some documents to the United Nations, an international peace organization. The documents weighed about 800 kg (1,700 lbs)!

Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands, and English is the official language. The flag shows a ram because sheep farming is a big source of income for the islanders.

Argentina was a Spanish colony until 1816. When the first Spanish voyagers arrived in this part of the world, the locals gave them gifts of silver. That’s how Argentina got its name – from “Argentum”, the Latin word for silver.

Did you know?

El Apostol is credited to be the first full-length animated film in the world. It was made in Argentina in 1917 using 58,000 drawings. You can’t watch the movie since all known copies were destroyed in a fire in 1926.