South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Flag of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Map of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Introduction South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Background:
The islands lie approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands and have been under British administration since 1908, except for a brief period in 1982 when Argentina occupied them. Grytviken, on South Georgia, was a 19th and early 20th century whaling station. Famed explorer Ernest SHACKLETON stopped there in 1914 en route to his ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. He returned some 20 months later with a few companions in a small boat and arranged a successful rescue for the rest of his crew, stranded off the Antarctic Peninsula. He died in 1922 on a subsequent expedition and is buried in Grytviken. Today, the station houses scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. The islands have large bird and seal populations, and, recognizing the importance of preserving the marine stocks in adjacent waters, the UK, in 1993, extended the exclusive fishing zone from 12 NM to 200 NM around each island.
Geography South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Location:
Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the tip of South America
Geographic coordinates:
54 30 S, 37 00 W
Map references:
Antarctic Region
Area:
total: 3,903 sq km
note: includes Shag Rocks, Black Rock, Clerke Rocks, South Georgia Island, Bird Island, and the South Sandwich Islands, which consist of some nine islands
water: 0 sq km
land: 3,903 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
NA km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
Climate:
variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow
Terrain:
most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Paget (South Georgia) 2,934 m
Natural resources:
fish
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen) (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism
Environment - current issues:
NA
Geography - note:
the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage; reindeer, introduced early in the 21st century, live on South Georgia
People South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Population:
no indigenous inhabitants
note: the small military garrison on South Georgia withdrew in March 2001, to be replaced by a permanent group of scientists of the British Antarctic Survey, which also has a biological station on Bird Island; the South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited (July 2004 est.)
Government South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
conventional short form: none
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina; administered from the Falkland Islands by a commissioner, who is concurrently governor of the Falkland Islands, representing Queen ELIZABETH II; Grytviken, formerly a whaling station on South Georgia, is a scientific base
National holiday:
Liberation Day, 14 June (1982)
Constitution:
adopted 3 October 1985
Legal system:
the laws of the UK, where applicable, apply; the senior magistrate from the Falkland Islands presides over the Magistrates Court
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina)
Flag description:
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms features a shield with a golden lion centered; the shield is supported by a fur seal on the left and a penguin on the right; a reindeer appears above the shield, and below it on a scroll is the motto LEO TERRAM PROPRIAM PROTEGAT (Let the Lion Protect its Own Land)
Economy South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Economy - overview:
Some fishing takes place in adjacent waters. There is a potential source of income from harvesting finfish and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps produced in the UK, sale of fishing licenses, and harbor and landing fees from tourist vessels. Tourism from specialized cruise ships is increasing rapidly.
Communications South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: coastal radiotelephone station at Grytviken
Radio broadcast stations:
0 (2003)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (2003)
Internet country code:
.gs
Transportation South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Waterways:
none
Ports and harbors:
Grytviken
Airports:
none (2003 est.)
Military South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Disputes - international:
briefly occupied by military force in 1982 - claimed by Argentina in constitution but declares it will no longer seek settlement by force

This page was last updated on 11 May, 2004


 

A

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antartica
Antigua & Barbuda
Arctic Ocean
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Atlantic Ocean
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan

B

Bahamas
Bahrain
Baker Island
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bassas da India
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswanna
Bouvet Island
Brazil
British Indian Ocean
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi

C

Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Clipperton Island
Cocos Islands
Colombia
Comoros
Congo (DRC)
Congo
Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Costa Rica
Cota D'Ivory
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republich

D

Denmark
Dijouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic

E

East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Europa Islands

F

Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Southern Antarctic Lands

G

Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glorioso Islands
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau
Guyana

H

Haiti
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Howland Island
Hungary

I

Iceland
India
Indian Ocean
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Isle of Man
Isreal
Italy

J

Jamaica
Jan Mayen
Japan
Jarvis Island
Jersey
Johnston Atoll
Jordan
Juan de Nova

K

Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kingman Reef
Kiribati
Kuwait
Kyrgystan

L

Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg

M

Macau
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Micronesia
Midway Island
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique

N

Namibia
Nauru
Navassa Island
Nepal
Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
North Korea
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway

O

Oman

P

Pacific Ocean
Pakistan
Palau
Palmyra Atoll
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paracel Islands
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Islands
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico

Q

Qatar

R

Reunion
Romania
Russia
Rwanda

S

St. Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Pierra & Miquelon
St Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marina
Sao Tome & Principle
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia & Montenegro
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Southern Islands
Spain
Spratly Islands
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria

T

Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tromelin Island
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tuvalu

U

Uganda
UK
Ukraine
UAE
Uruguay
USA
Uzbekistan

V

Vanuatu
Vatican
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands

W

Wake Island
Wallis & Futuna
West Bank
Western Sahara
The World

Y

Yemen

Z

Zimbabwe
Zambia