South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands General Information

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands General Information

General information: According to, the islands lie about 1,000 km east of the Falkland Islands. Grytviken on the island of South Georgia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. was a whaling base. Renowned explorer Ernst SHACK-LETON stopped here in 1914 before his ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. He returned here 20 months later with several companions in a small boat and organized a successful operation to rescue the rest of the expedition members, who were stranded on the Antarctic Peninsula. He died in 1922 during the next expedition and was buried in Grytvik-ne. Today there is a small garrison settlement here. There are many birds and seals on the islands and, realizing the importance of preserving marine life in the surrounding waters, the UK in 1993.


Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of the tip of South America.
Geographic coordinates: 54° 30′ S latitude, 37° 00′ W e.
Reference map: Antarctic region.
Area: total: 3,903 km2; land surface area: 3,903 km2; water surface area: 0 km2; note: includes Shag and Clerk Rocks and Bird Island.
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: no data.
Maritime claims: fishery exclusive zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: changeable, mainly throughout the year westerly winds with periods of calm, almost all precipitation falls in the form of snow.
Relief: most of the islands, rising steeply above the sea, are uneven and rocky; South Georgia is mostly barren and consists of steep, glacier-covered mountains; The South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin and have several active volcanoes.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Page (South Georgia) 2,934 m.
Natural resources: fish.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 0%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 100% (most covered with non-melting ice and snow, the rest with sparse vegetation consisting of grasses, mosses and lichens).
Irrigated land: 0 sq. km. (1993).
Natural Hazards: Weather conditions prevail in the South Sandwich Islands area, which usually make it difficult for ships to approach them; on the islands – volcanic activity. Current environmental issues: No data available.
Actual problems of the environment:
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”: the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays that are good anchorages; South Georgia is home to reindeer introduced at the beginning of the 20th century.


Population: no local residents; note: a small military garrison left South Georgia in March 2001 to be replaced by the British Antarctic Committee’s permanent group of scientists for geology, surveying and mapping, which also maintains a biological station on Bird Island; The South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited (July 2001 est.). State Name:


Common long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands;
Common short form: no. Affiliation: overseas territory of Great Britain, also claimed by Argentina; administered from the Falkland Islands by a civilian commissioner, Donald A. LAMONT, representing Queen Elizabeth II; Grytviken, formerly a whaling base on South Georgia, is now a garrison.
State structure:
Capital city:
Administrative divisions:
National holiday: Liberation Day, June 14 (1982).
Constitution: adopted 3 October 1985
Legal system: relevant UK laws apply.
head of state:
head of government:
Political parties and leaders:
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations:
Diplomatic representation in the United States: none (overseas territory of Great Britain, also claimed by Argentina ).
US Diplomatic Representation: None (overseas territory of Great Britain, also claimed by Argentina).
Flag Description: The flag of Great Britain is used


Economic overview: Fishing occurs in coastal waters. There is a potential source of income from mining minke whales and krill. The islands receive income from postage stamps issued in the UK.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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