The Falkland Islands comprise some 340 islands, located approximately 480km from the nearest point in South America. The two largest islands are East and West Falkland. Stanley, the capital, lies on the eastern shore of East Falkland. The total land area covers approximately 12,000sqkm.
The islands have no indigenous population and the current population of approximately 3,000 is predominantly of British descent, some 2,000 of whom live in Stanley, the only town.
The Falkland Islands are a British Oversea Territory and have considerable autonomy including in relation to fiscal matters. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State and is represented by the Governor who presides over the Government of the Falkland Islands and is advised in the exercise of his functions by an Executive Council of three of the eight elected Legislative Councillors and two ex-officio members (the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary).The democratically elected Legislative Council has legislative powers, but responsibility for defence and foreign affairs rests with the British Government.The local administrative point of contact for the oil exploration industry is the Director of Minerals Resources, a Falkland Islands Government official, based in Stanley.
The Falkland Islands economy has traditionally been based on agriculture but there is a growing offshore fishing industry and the Islands have an annual GDP of about 70 million.