The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 483 kilometres east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, with an area of 12,000 square kilometres, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the 'Falklands' has internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for its defence and foreign affairs. The Falkland Islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.
The islands lie on the boundary of the subantarctic oceanic and tundra climate zones, and both major islands have mountain ranges reaching 700 m. They are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands because of competition from introduced species. Major economic activities include fishing, tourism and sheep farming, with an emphasis on high-quality wool exports. Oil exploration, licensed by the Falkland Islands Government, remains controversial as a result of maritime disputes with Argentina.
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