Falkland Islanders

Last updated
Falkland Islanders
Two Falkland Islanders in 2003
Total population
(2016) [1]
Regions with significant populations
English (see Falkland Islands English)
Related ethnic groups
British, Scottish ( Orcadians and Shetlanders), Welsh, English, Argentines, Gibraltarians
Chileans, Uruguayans, Spanish, French

Falkland Islanders, also called Falklanders [3] and nicknamed Kelpers , are the people of the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands.


Kelpers is a nickname given to Falkland Islanders because the islands are surrounded by large seaweeds called kelp.

Falkland Islands archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, and about 752 miles from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The Falkland Islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.



The Islanders are British, albeit with a distinct identity of their own:

British cultural, economic, social, political and educational values create a unique British-like, Falkland Islands. Yet Islanders feel distinctly different from their fellow citizens who reside in the United Kingdom. This might have something to do with geographical isolation or with living on a smaller island – perhaps akin to those British people not feeling European. (Lewis Clifton OBE, Speaker of the Falklands Legislative Council) [4]

Speaker (politics) presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands legislative council of the Falkland Islands between 1845-2009

The Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands was the unicameral legislature of the Falkland Islands from 13 November 1845 until 1 January 2009. The new constitution came into force in 2009 and replaced the Legislative Council with the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands.

They also see themselves as no different from other immigrant nations including those of neighbouring South America:

South America A continent in the Western Hemisphere, and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.

We are as much a people as those in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile and many other South American countries whose inhabitants are of principally European, Indigenous or African descent. (Councillor Mike Summers OBE) [5]

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Uruguay republic in South America

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Kelpers is a nickname given to Falkland Islanders because the islands are surrounded by large seaweeds called kelp. [6] [7]

Seaweed Macroscopic marine algae

Seaweed, or macroalgae, refers to several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae. The term includes some types of Rhodophyta (red), Phaeophyta (brown) and Chlorophyta (green) macroalgae. Seaweed species such as kelps provide essential nursery habitat for fisheries and other marine species and thus protect food sources; other species, such as planktonic algae, play a vital role in capturing carbon, producing up to 90 percent of earth's oxygen. Understanding these roles offers principles for conservation and sustainable use. Mechanical dredging of kelp, for instance, destroys the resource and dependent fisheries.

Demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.


Population pyramid 2006
DateMethodTotal PopulationMaleFemaleRatio
2000Treasury of the Falkland Islands Govt estimate [8] 2826
20062006 Census [9] 2955156913861.13:1
2007CIA estimate [10] 3105
20122012 Census [11] 2931149113491.11:1
20162016 Census [12] 339816871511


With retrospective effect from 1 January 1983, as provided in the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, the Falkland Islanders have been full British citizens.

Ethnic groups

About 70 percent are of British descent, primarily as a result of Scottish and Welsh immigration to the islands. [13] The native-born inhabitants call themselves "Islanders"; the term "Kelpers", from the kelp which grows profusely around the islands, is no longer used in the Islands. People from the United Kingdom who have obtained Falkland Island status are known locally as 'belongers'.

A few Islanders are of French, Gibraltarian, Portuguese and Scandinavian descent. Some are the descendants of whalers who reached the Islands during the last two centuries. There is also a small minority of South American, mainly Chilean origin, and in more recent times many people from Saint Helena have also come to work and live in the Islands. [14]


The most predominant religion is Christianity, of which the primary denominations are Church of England, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, and Lutheran. Smaller numbers are Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists and Greek Orthodox; with the latter being due to Greek fishermen passing through.[ citation needed ] There is also a Bahá'í congregation. [15] The islands are the home of the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falkland Islands.


The official language of the islands is English. [16] The Falklands English vernacular has a fair amount of borrowed Spanish words (often modified or corrupted); they are particularly numerous, indeed dominant in the local horse-related terminology. For instance, the Islanders use ‘alizan’, ‘colorao’, ‘negro’, ‘blanco’, ‘gotiao’, ‘picasso’, ‘sarco’, ‘rabincana’ etc. for certain horse colours and looks, or ‘bosal’, ‘cabresta’, ‘bastos’, ‘cinch’, ‘conjinilla’, ‘meletas’, ‘tientas’, ‘manares’ etc. for various items of horse gear. [17]


There are more than 30 different sports clubs on the Falklands, including badminton, clay-pigeon shooting, cricket, football, golf, hockey, netball, rugby union, sailing, swimming, table tennis and volleyball. [18] The Falklands compete in the Commonwealth Games and in the biennial Island Games. [19] Louis Baillon is the only Falkland Islander to have become an Olympic champion, as a member of the British field hockey team which won a gold medal in 1908.

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Falkland Islands Government Air Service

Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) is an airline based at Port Stanley Airport, Falkland Islands. It operates unscheduled passenger services throughout the Falkland Islands. It also undertakes aerial surveillance of the exclusive economic zone surrounding the islands.

Indigenous peoples of South America Wikivoyage page, describing the culture of the indigenous people of South America

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Origins of Falkland Islanders

Falkland Islanders derive from various origins. Earliest among these are the numerically small but internationally diverse early 19th century inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, comprising and descended in part from settlers brought by Luis Vernet, and English and American sealers; South American gauchos who settled in the 1840s and 1850s; and since the late 1830s, settlers largely from Britain with a minority from other European countries. There has also been significant recent contributions from Saint Helena and Chile.

Falkland Islands English variety of the English language

Falkland Islands English is mainly British in character. However, as a result of the isolation of the islands, the small population has developed and retains its own accent/dialect, which persists despite a large number of immigrants from the United Kingdom in recent years. In rural areas, known as ‘Camp’, the Falkland accent tends to be stronger. The dialect has resemblances to Australian, New Zealand, West Country and Norfolk dialects of English, as well as Lowland Scots.

Outline of the Falkland Islands Overview of and topical guide to the Falkland Islands

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Falkland Islands:

Rugby union in the Falkland Islands is a moderately popular sport.

Asian people or Asiatic people are people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.

Guyanese people South American ethnic group

Guyanese people are people who identify with the country of Guyana, which is located on the northern coast of South America and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname. Geographically, Guyana is part of the South American mainland, however it is much more culturally similar to the nearby island nations of the Caribbean such as Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada with respect to culture. In fact, Guyana is considered a Caribbean country even though it is not an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea, as are most Caribbean nations.

Occupation of the Falkland Islands military occupation by Argentina

The occupation of the Falkland Islands and of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands was the short-lived Argentine administration of a group of islands in the South Atlantic whose sovereignty has long been disputed. Until their invasion on 2 April 1982 by the Argentine military junta, they had been governed by the United Kingdom since it re-established control over them in 1833.

Janet Robertson is an Argentine-born Falkland Islands politician who served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Stanley constituency from 2005 until 2009. Robertson was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council, which was reconstituted into the Legislative Assembly with the implementation of the 2009 Constitution.

Chileans in the Falkland Islands are people of Chilean ancestry or nationality who live in the Falkland Islands. The Chilean community on the Falklands are the biggest population from mainland South America and also the biggest non-British group representing over 6% of the total population according to the 2012 census, although the true number may be higher as many islanders of Chilean origin listed their national identity as 'Falkland Islander' and Chileans working on the islands temporarily were not counted in the census.

James Peck (artist) Artist and writer from the Falkland Islands

James Peck is an artist and writer born in the Falkland Islands who holds both Argentine and British citizenship.

Religion on the Falkland Islands is predominantly Christianity, of which the primary denominations are Church of England, Roman Catholic, United Free Church, and Lutheran. In the 2006 census most islanders identified themselves as Christian, followed by those who refused to answer or had no religious affiliation. The remaining 1.3 percent were adherents of other faiths.


  1. 2016 Census
  2. The Baha’i faith has a small local following.
  3. Chater, Tony. The Falklands. St. Albans: The Penna Press, 1996. p. 137. ISBN   0-9504113-1-0
  4. Clifton, Lewis. The Falkland Islands: Self-government with an emerging national identity? News and Journal 2004, The 21st Century Trust. London, 1999. pp. 16-19.
  5. Summers, Mike. Self-Determination In The Falkland Islands. In: L. Ivanov et al.The Future of the Falkland Islands and Its People. Sofia: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2003. 96 pp. ISBN   954-91503-1-3
  6. allwords.com definition for "Kelper"
  7. dictionary.com definition for "Kelper"
  8. https://books.google.com/books?id=o9ODxqsr-dIC&pg=404#v=onepage&q&f=false
  9. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/documents/Census%20Report%202006.pdf
  10. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fk.html
  11. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/assets/79-13P.pdf
  12. http://www.fig.gov.fk/archives/jdownloads/People/Census%20Information%20Early%20Settlers/Falkland%20Islands%20Census%202016%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf
  13. Vincent, Patrick (March 1983). The Geographical Journal, Vol. 149, No. 1, pp 16–17.
  14. "UK | Falklands questions answered". BBC News. 4 June 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  15. "Falkland Islands Bahá'í Community Newsletter". Horizon.co.fk. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  16. "CIA - The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 4-3-2012.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. Spruce, Joan. Corrals and Gauchos: Some of the people and places involved in the cattle industry. Falklands Conservation Publication. Bangor: Peregrine Publishing, 1992. 48 pp.
  18. Falklands Information website clubs page Archived 2011-02-28 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  19. Island Games website membership page. Retrieved 9 July 2008.