The Falkland Islands have a rich history embracing maritime trade, sealing, whaling, cattle and sheep farming.
The English navigator, John Davis, aboard the "Desire" made the first confirmed sighting of the Islands in 1592. The first landing is attributed to the British Captain, John Strong, in 1690 at Bold Cove, Port Howard on West Falkland.
Early visitors were sealers, whalers and penguin hunters from different corners of the World. Many imported domestic animals and left these at various locations as a food source for future voyages. Cattle spread rapidly throughout the Islands. Travel was on horseback and South American gauchos made their mark. Stone and turf corrals were constructed and remains of these can be seen scattered across the Islands, particularly on East Falkland.
1833 saw the re-assertion by Britain of its sovereignty. By 1845 the capital had been moved to its present site and named Stanley, after the Colonial Secretary, Geoffrey Smith Stanley. Stanley became an important port for vessels involved in whaling and rounding Cape Horn. Settlements and farms were built around the Islands and sheep farming took over from cattle ranching as the mainstay of the economy.
Falkland Islanders participated in both World Wars. The World War One Battle of the Falklands is commemorated by a monument on Ross Road while the Cross of Sacrifice commemorates World War Two. For 74 days in 1982, Argentine troops occupied the Falkland Islands. A British Task Force was sent to recover the Islands. Fierce fighting took place on land, at sea and in the air with a number of Islanders aiding the British military wherever possible. Ultimately, Argentine Forces surrendered to the British Forces.
Today the Islands enjoy a healthy economy based on the sale of fishing licences, tourism and agricultural products including fine wool, mutton and beef.