South Georgia and South Sandwich

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by Paul Bacsich, based on the entry for Re.ViCa

South Georgia and South Sandwich - in full, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

This territory is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, the South Sandwich Islands.

South Georgia is about 170 kilometres (110 mi) long and 2 to 40 km (1.2 to 25 miles) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory.

The South Sandwich Islands lie about 640 kilometres (400 mi) to the south-east of South Georgia. The total land area of the territory is 3,903 square kilometres (1,507 sq mi).

The permanent population is essentially zero. This is because there is no native population on any of the islands, and the only present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, Deputy Postmaster, scientists, and support staff from the British Antarctic Survey who maintain scientific bases at Bird Island and at the capital, King Edward Point, as well as museum staff at nearby Grytviken. Estimates of the semi-permanent population are around 30.

The so-called "capital" is King Edward Point.

The British claim to sovereignty of South Georgia dates from 1775, and that of the South Sandwich Islands from 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 the South Sandwich Islands in 1938. Argentina maintained a naval station, Corbeta Uruguay, at Port Faraday on Thule Island in the South Sandwich Islands from 1976 until 1982 when it was closed by the Royal Navy.

The claim by Argentina over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, and remains unresolved to this day - see


The internet domain GS contains quite a lot of material including an informative web site at

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