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Guide to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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About the Islands

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a remote inhospitable overseas territory of the British Government. The largest amongst smaller Islands that make up South Sandwich Islands. It is regarded as a sovereign state and separate from the Falkland Islands. It occupies land territorial area of 3,903km2 with South Georgia 35km wide 103km long. 700kilometers south of Georgia is the Sandwich Islands with no permanent resident while the Falkland’s is 1,300 kilometer west-northwest. The government is administered under a constitutional monarchy, commissioner, UK government and minister. The capital and largest settlement is King Edwards Point, official language English, currency Falkland’s island pound.

Climate and Islands

Climate is classified as polar with winter temperatures -5 degrees to -10 degrees.

There are eleven volcanic island with some active. South Sandwich Islands are Traversay islands, Candlemas Island, Southern Thule and Central Island.

Southern Thule has Cook, Thule, Vysokaya and Bellingshausen. Central Island have Bristol, Saunders and Montagu. Candlemas Island have Vindication and Candlemas.The Traversay Island have the Visokoi, Leskov, Zavodovski and Protector Shoal.




South Sandwich Islands

Southern Thule

  • Cook
  • Thule
  • Vysokaya
  • Bellingshausen

Central Island

  • Bristol, Saunders
  • Montagu

Candlemas Island

  • Vindication
  • Candelas

Traversay Island

  • Visokoi
  • Leskov
  • Zavodovski
  • Protector
  • Shoal

South Georgia Group

Georgia has smaller islands or inlets including remote rocks. Smaller islands or inlets off the coast of South Georgia are Trinity island, Willis island and Welcome island. Others are Pickersgill Island, grass island, Jomfruene. More include the Birds island, Cooper island and Annenkov island. Rocks are the Clerke rocks, black rocks and Shag rocks.


  • Trinity island
  • Willis island
  • Welcome island
  • Pickersgill Island
  • Grass island
  • Jomfruene
  • Birds island
  • Cooper island
  • Annenkov island


  • Clerke rocks
  • Black rocks
  • Shag rocks

Economy and income

Income is generated from issue of South Georgia and sandwich island postage stamps. The stamps are highly favored by topical stamp collectors. Another popular purchase is the suffix ccTLD internet country code top-level domain with over 6 million registered.

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Fishing is popular in adjacent waters around the South Georgia area with fishing license sold to fishermen. Fishing is highly regulated by the convention for the conservation of Atlantic marine living resources.

The government make millions of pounds from the license while popular harvest are krill, Patagonian, toothfish, cod icefish. Other income generating sources include tourism, harbor dues, customs.

Income Sources

  • island postage stamps
  • suffix ccTLD internet country code top-level domain
  • fishing license sold to fishermen
  • tourism
  • harbor dues
  • customs





The island has abundant species of mammals, birds and plants. Frequent visitors to the island are seals and whales. Previously reindeers were introduced to the island for sport hunting in 1911. However due to eradication efforts by the authority the reindeers were completely eradicated same applies to rats.

Over a period of four years rats and mice were completely eradicated through an intensive program. Common bird species are South Georgia pintail, terns, gulls, shags, petrels and South Georgia pipit. The island is devoid of shrubs or trees however you find moss, liverworts, rushes, ferns, forbs and grass.

  • Seals
  • Whales
  • Huge Biodiversity

Bird species

  • South Georgia pintail
  • Terns
  • Gulls
  • Shags
  • Petrels
  • South Georgia pipit


  • Moss
  • Liverworts
  • Rushes
  • Ferns
  • Forbs
  • Grass


  • Krill
  • Patagonian
  • Toothfish
  • Cod
  • Icefish

South Sandwich Islands


A large income of the island is from toothfish and tourism. This is facilitated by charter yachts and cruise ships who anchor outside required distance from the pier. The territory has no airstrips, no permanent residents and pound sterling is the official currency.

There are no scheduled ferries or passenger flights except cruise ships with special permission from the government. To protect the marine ecosystem belied to have the highest biodiversity on earth. The South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands formed a marine protected area of 410,000sq mi.


Military presence is found on south George at King Edwards point. This is from a fallout after the 1982 Falkland’s war. A station is occupied by British Antarctic survey after a detachment of military personal left Georgia in March 2001.

Other military presence include Atlantic patrol task by the royal navy destroyer, small infantry detachment. More include Navy ice-patrol ship for field work like hydrological work and mapping. Occasional patrol of the territory is carried out by Vickers VC 10, C-130 Hercules by the RAF.

History of Whaling

South Georgia have seven whaling stations early 20th century till 1960. They were the Ocean harbor station, Godthul, Leith Harbour, Prince Olav Harbour, Stromness, Grytviken and Husvik. Grytviken was operated by the Argentine Fishing Company until 1965.

© 2019 olu


Liz Westwood from UK on December 07, 2019:

This is an interesting fact file on an often overlooked area of the world.

femi from Nigeria on December 07, 2019:


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