Chileans in the Falkland Islands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chileans in the Falkland Islands
Total population
181 (6.2%)
Spanish (Chilean Spanish)
English (Falkland Islands English)
Predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Chilean people • Falkland Islanders • British Chilean • Chileans in the United Kingdom

Chileans in the Falkland Islands are people of Chilean ancestry or nationality who live in the Falkland Islands. The Chilean community on the Falklands are the biggest population from mainland South America and also the biggest non-British group[A] representing over 6% of the total population according to the 2012 census,[1] although the true number may be higher as many islanders of Chilean origin listed their national identity as 'Falkland Islander' and Chileans working on the islands temporarily were not counted in the census.[2]


A Chilean consulate was established on the Falklands in the 1870s and remained well into the 20th century.[3] The first Chileans to arrive on the Falklands in large numbers came in the late 1970s, mainly from Punta Arenas and other parts of the Magallanes Region,[4] with 28 permanent Chilean residents listed in the 1980 census. Following the Falklands War in 1982, Argentine nationals were banned from visiting the Falklands until the 1990s, which led to many Chileans (whose government had supported the UK during the war) moving to the Falklands to take up jobs previously held by Argentines.[5] The permanent Chilean population remained fairly stable until the start of the 21st century when Chileans remaining on the islands for longer than 6 years rose to over 100.[6] According to the 2012 census, there were 161 Chilean residents (82 women and 79 men) in Stanley and Camp, representing 6% of the civilian population, with an addition 20 Chileans listed as working at RAF Mount Pleasant, bringing the total number to 181 (6.2% of the total population).[1]

The 2006 census indicated that about 157 Islanders had Chilean ancestry, nine were British Chilean, ten were of Falkland Islands-Chilean ancestry, there was one of Brazilian Chilean ancestry and another was Spanish Chilean.[6]


The population speaks Chilean Spanish and Falkland Islands English and are prominently Roman Catholic. Most reside in Stanley, with a small number living in Camp and RAF Mount Pleasant. The influence of the Chileans can be felt in the local food with some bars serving typical Chilean cuisine and the islands receive most Chilean TV channels. Chilean Independence Day is also celebrated on the Falklands and since 2010 festivities have taken place with the Governor at Government House.[3]

The main link between the Falklands and Chile is the weekly LAN Airlines between RAF Mount Pleasant, Punta Arenas and Santiago de Chile. The flights have been stopped for periods, most notably in 1999 when the Chilean Government banned the flight in protest to the UK's indictment and arrest of Augusto Pinochet.[7] The weekly flight is also the only link between the islands and mainland South America and has become increasingly important since 2011 when the members of Mercosur banned Falklands flagged vessels from entering their ports in support of Argentine's claim to the islands.[8] In 2011 Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner threatened to ban flights to the Falklands from flying over Argentine airspace, which led to protests by Chileans in the islands and Chile itself against Kirchner's proposals.[2]

Chileans who have lived on the islands for more than seven years are entitled to apply for Falkland Islands status, considered to be the closest thing to citizenship that the Falkland Islands can grant, giving them full residency rights - although in order to vote they need to hold British, Irish or Commonwealth citizenship. Although the current Chilean government supports Argentine's sovereignty claim to the Falklands, the majority of the Chilean population on the islands and Mainland Chile support the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination[2] and in 2017 the Chilean-born Leona Vidal Roberts was elected to the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly.[9]

Chilean immigration to the Falklands 1980-2012
Year[10] Chilean Residents Percentage of
total population
1980 28[11]Increase 1.5
1986 36[6]Increase 1.9
1991 43[12]Increase 2.1
1996 42[13]Decrease 1.6
2001 55[14]Increase 1.9
2006 136[15]Increase 4.6
2012 181[1]Increase 6.2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to the 2012 census, the bigger groups were Falkland Islanders, from the UK or other British Overseas Territories, such as Gibraltar and St. Helena.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Falkland Islands Census 2012: Headline results" (PDF). Falkland Islands Government. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "Chilean community in Falklands plan to write a letter to President Piñera". MercoPress. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Falklands Chilean residents celebrate National Day and strong links with Chile". MercoPress. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. ^ Waldo Diaz (1 May 2012). "Jon Benjamin: "¿Por qué puede reabrirse este asunto territorial y no otro?"". La Tercera (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  5. ^ Cranley Onslow, vol 36 cc29-30W (31 January 1983). |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons.
  6. ^ a b c "1986 census report" (PDF). Falkland Islands government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "The Falkland Islands – History & Timeline". Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "Mercosur supports Argentina: bans access to all Falklands/Malvinas flagged vessels". MercoPress. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  9. ^ Niebieskikwiat, Natasha (2017-11-09). "Una chilena será legisladora de las Islas Malvinas" [A Chilean will be a legislator from the Falkland Islands]. Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  10. ^ "Falkland Islands census". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  11. ^ Report of Census, 1980. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980 - 14. 1983. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  12. ^ Report of Census, 1991. Falkland Islands government. 1991. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  13. ^ Falkland Islands census report 1996. Falkland Islands government. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Seventeenth periodic reports of States parties due in 2002: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". UN Document. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  15. ^ "2006 census report" (PDF). Falkland Islands government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)