South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. South Georgia is 165 km (103 mi) long and 1 to 35 km (1 to 22 mi) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory. The South Sandwich Islands lie about 700 km (430 mi) southeast of South Georgia. The territory's total land area is 3,903 km2 (1,507 sq mi). The Falkland Islands are about 1,300 km (810 mi) north-west from its nearest point.

No permanent native population lives in the territory although a very small non-permanent population does reside in South Georgia. The present inhabitants are three officers of the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands along with scientists and support staff from the British Antarctic Survey who maintain scientific bases at Bird Island and at the capital, King Edward Point along with postal staff, as well as three museum staff at Grytviken. With an estimated minimum non-permanent population of around sixteen people in the winter months to a maximum of around thirty five people in the summer months it is the least populated of all the British Overseas Territories. There are no scheduled passenger flights or ferries to or from the territory, although visits by cruise liners to South Georgia are increasingly popular, with several thousand visitors each summer.

The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over South Georgia in 1775 and the South Sandwich Islands in 1908. The territory of "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" was formed in 1985; previously, it had been governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927 and claimed the South Sandwich Islands in 1938.

Argentina maintained a naval station, Corbeta Uruguay, on Thule Island in the South Sandwich Islands from 1976 until 1982 when it was closed by the Royal Navy. The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied the island. Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Toothfish are vital to the islands' economy; as a result, Toothfish Day is celebrated on 4 September as a bank holiday in the territory.



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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "South_Georgia_and_the_South_Sandwich_Islands", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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