Information on South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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 – which measures approximately 106 miles (171 km) by 18 miles (29 km) and is by far the largest island in the territory – and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands lying about 400 miles (640 km) to the south-east.

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 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, 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 the Island, and remains unresolved to this day (see also Sovereignty of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).