The Falkland Islands, which is also known as the Islas Malvinas, lies in the South Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago is sitting on the Patagonian Shelf, about 483 kilometers east of the southern Patagonian coast of South America and about 1,210 kilometers from the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula. This British overseas territory consists of the East Falkland, the West Falkland, and other 776 tiny islands.
Before the British came to rule the island nation, French, Spanish, and Argentinian navigators had already come to explore the land in the 16th and 17th centuries. The nation became a British protectorate in 1833. In April 1982, Argentinian forces invaded, claiming the archipelago. However, almost all residents in the Falkland Islands were in favor of being a British territory.
The Falkland Islands’ economy relies mainly on agriculture and fishing. Its staple products are crops, winter fodder, and dairy products. In 1987, the country ventured into selling fishing licenses to foreign fishermen working within the islands’ fishing zone. With the license, the archipelago’s revenue had increased about $40 million a year, enough to support the health, education, and welfare system of the islands. In addition, the country earns from transporting high-grade wool to the United Kingdom. The selling of postage stamps and coins has also contributed to the nation’s revenue. The tourism sector, especially eco-tourism, is also a major contributor to the nation’s GDP. Furthermore, the government money in the bank earns interest, putting up additional income to the country.
In 1993, the British Geological Survey declared an oil exploration site in the islands. According to previous seismic studies, the islands can produce up to 500,000 barrels per day. In 1995, a treaty between the UK and Argentina was signed to end sovereignty conflicts that might impact
foreign investment on potential oil reserves exploitation. In 2010, political disputes between the two countries worsened when a British firm started oil drilling but failed to explore commercial oil reserves.
The Falkland Islands pound is the country’s official currency, which is pegged to the British pound sterling at the same rate. The first banknotes were released in 1899. These banknotes were printed by Thomas De Lue and were hand-signed.
Banknotes issued between 1921 and 1932 bear a framed profile of King George V on the obverse and the reverse has guilloche patterns. These paper bills had a watermark that reflects a geometric pattern.
Between 1938 and 1951, another set of banknotes was released bearing the same design concept but with King George VI’s portrait. King George VI was enthroned after his brother Edward VIII stepped down. When Queen Elizabeth II took over the throne in 1960, another family of notes was issued featuring the queen.
A 5-pound commemorative banknote was released in 1983 as a tribute to the 150th year of British sovereignty. Featured on the front design is Queen Elizabeth II in Grand Duchess Vladimir’s tiara and Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee necklace. On the back are the Government House and the Christ Church Cathedral. Today’s Falkland Islands banknotes have the same design concept as that of the commemorative issue.