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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a British overseas territory situated in the South Atlantic. The island of South Georgia is about 1,400 km east-southeast of the Falkland Islands and to the north of Antarctica between 54°-55°S, 36°-38°W.


This island together with the small islands and reefs, which surround it, has a surface area of 3,756 sq km. It is predominantly mountainous and covered with permanent snow and glaciers such as the Fortuna Glacier, being the largest. 11 peaks exceed 2,000 meters, while the highest mountain of the island being Mount Paget with 2,934 metres.

The only inhabited centre of the island is Grytviken with 20 inhabitants in a well-situated port. It is a former village centre for fishing and the gathering and processing of whales. Today it hosts a scientific station, a museum on cetaceans and a small church. South of the village the tomb of the British explorer Ernest Shackleton is to be found. There are numerous colonies of seals on the island.


The Southern Sandwich Islands are an uninhabited archipelago with 311 sq km of the southwest Atlantic Ocean, located 640 km south-east of South Georgia between 56°-59°S and 26°-28°W. The archipelago consists of 11 islands of volcanic origin with numerous still active volcanoes, divided into three groups.

The group of Traversay islands: Zavodovski with 25 sq km, Leskov with 0.3 sq km, Visokoi with 35 sq km, Candlemas with 14 sq km and Vindication with 5 sq km; the Central islands: Saunders with 40 sq km, Montagu with 110 sq km and Bristol with 46 square kilometres and finally the Southern Thule islands: Bellingshausen with 1 sq km, Cook with 20 sq km and Thule with 14 sq km.

The highest peak of the Southern Sandwich islands – Mount Belinda with 1,370 metres – is to be found.on Montagu. The islands are uninhabited and mostly covered by ice all year round. The islands are claimed by Argentina.

The climate of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 4,067 sq km.
  • Population: 20 (as of 2006)
  • Settlement: Grytviken.
  • Official Language: The official language is English.
  • Religion: no figure available
  • Currency: British Pound (GBP).
  • Time Zone: UTC-2 hours.

This post is also available in: Deutsch

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