South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It 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 167.4 kilometres (104 mi) long and 1.4 to 37 km (0.87 to 23 miles) wide[1] and is by far the largest island in the territory. The South Sandwich Islands lie about 520 kilometres (320 mi) to the south-east of South Georgia.[1] The total land area of the territory is 3,903 square kilometres (1,507 sq mi).[2]

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.

The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over South Georgia in 1775 and the South Sandwich Islands in 1908. In 1908 the United Kingdom annexed both South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. 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 on Thule Island in the South Sandwich Islands from 1976 until 1982 when it was closed by the Royal Navy. The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied part of the Island. Argentina continues to claim sovereignty of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.


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