Stanley - Capital of the Falklands
Trip Start Jan 04, 2007
5Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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The Falkland Islands were first sighted in 1592 by British seafarer Captain John Davis on the ship Desire, however it took almost another 100 years until the first landing was recorded, when Captain John Strong landed on the Falklands in 1690. British administration started that day and was only interrupted on April 2, 1982 when Argentina attacked and invaded the islands. A British expedition force restored British sovereignty on June 14, 1982 with a massive onslaught against the Argentine Armed Forces.
Today some 1500 British military personal are stationed on the island to ensure that another attack will not be forthcoming, since Argentina still claims that these islands are part of its territory
Next to some 2500 inhabitants of the islands, of which most live in Stanley. They have to share the islands with plenty of wildlife; one can find 185 different species of birds, some 500.000 breeding pairs of penguins, elephant seals, dolphins, whales, and much more in this terrific nature paradise.
Standing out in the landscape is Stanley with its timber framed houses clad in iron sheets or wooden weather boarding, with white walls, coloured roof and painted woodwork shining in the sun.
It is a distinctive charm of old island buildings that comes from traditions formed by the pioneering settlers. Amazing to see how all the buildings were built, since there is not a single tree on the island. An 18th century Benedictine priest was the first one to discover the prevalent local stone was not useable to build houses. Hence there was no other alternative but to import all building materials, the cheapest and lightest were chosen, since all had to be brought thousands of miles through stormy seas.
Stanley is the capital of the island since 1840 after the capital status was moved from Port Louis (not the Mauritian capital) and the town was named after the Colonial Secretary of the time.
Today the islands are a self governing United Kingdom overseas territory and only foreign affairs and defence are the responsibility of the British Government. The head of state is naturally the reigning Monarch in London who appoints the Governor.
This is an unusual destination - but an exciting and enchanting island group to visit. When I realized that it was on my schedule I was more then excited, and was not disappointed when I explored this friendly town and its surrounding!