Falklands Day is celebrated on August 14 every year to commemorate the first sighting of the Falkland Islands in 1592. It was John Davis who first caught sight of the islands during his voyage and ever since the holiday has been celebrated as a type of heritage day for the people living there. The Falkland Islands are situated off the coast of South America but have been under British sovereignty for a number of years now. It has had a tumultuous history, even in the 20th century. Falklands Day was removed from the calendar in 2002, replaced by Peat Cutting Day. This is on the first Monday in October.
History of Falklands Day
Falklands Day was initially celebrated as the national day of the Falklands but was discontinued as a holiday in 2002. Now Liberation Day has taken its place, as the day commemorating the end of the Falklands War felt more momentous than the day the island was first seen in the 1500s. When Falklands Day was still widely celebrated and considered a legal holiday, it was celebrated like many national days are. Families and friends spent the day off enjoying their time together, communities held small events to commemorate the occasion or simply as a way to unite the people, and some even spent the day seeing local attractions and monuments as a way to pay tribute to the past.
Liberation Day has taken the place of Falklands Day. These celebrations have not changed drastically, but they have become more somber as the new national day marks the end of the war that took place on the islands. The Falklands War was a ten-week-long undeclared war that took place in 1982. It pitted the United Kingdom and Argentina against each other over a territory dispute regarding the islands. Argentina began hostilities by invading, prompting Britain to send their own military force to defend the predominantly British colony that had settled on the land. Eventually, the war ended with Britain retaining the island under their rule.
The subject of Falkland Island’s sovereignty has remained a point of contention between the two governments ever since. As it stands, the Falkland Islands are currently included in both the British and Argentinian Constitutions. They operate as a self-governing British Overseas Territory. Additionally, the citizens of the islands have expressed a strong desire to remain as a British territory.
Falklands Day timeline
John Davis first spies the Falkland Islands from the sea.
France establishes the first colony on the islands, followed by Britain the year after.
The Spanish forces arrive and force other military powers out of the islands.
The British return to the islands and are there to stay.
The islands serve as an expensive tourist destination and side stop on the way to Antarctica.
Falklands Day FAQs
Where are the Falkland Islands?
The islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the Patagonian coast.
Is Falkland Day a day off?
Falkland Day is no longer considered a legal holiday so even if you are a resident of the island you will not get the day off.
Why is the island called Falkland?
The name Falkland comes from John Strong, an English captain that names the channel after his sponsor who was the viscount of Falkland.
What is the religion in the Falkland Islands?
Most of the islanders identify as Christian or do not follow a particular faith.
Falklands Day Activities
Go to the museum
There’s no better way to celebrate history than by visiting a museum. The Historic Dockyard Museum is the place to travel through the island’s history and learn something new.
Across the islands, some monuments pay tribute to the soldiers and civilians that fell in the brief war that took place there. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, taking a moment to remember the dead is a good way to spend Falklands Day.
Enjoy the sights
Use the day to enjoy local attractions like the many shipwrecks off the island coast, beautiful hikes in the countryside, or visit local landmarks.
5 Facts About The Falklands That Will Surprise You
A home away from home
The Falkland Islands are 300 miles away from the Patagonian coast but are 8,050 miles from Britain, the nation ruling them.
The islands are home to millions of penguins and other birds native to the region.
Stanley is the place to be
Four-fifths of the island’s population lives in the capital town, Stanley.
Outside of Stanley, the rest of the population is generally found in the small and isolated sheep-farming communities that serve to supply the main export of the island, sheep's wool.
A delicate balance
The Falklands unemployment rate is minimal, but there is a housing shortage that discourages immigration.
Why We Love Falklands Day
A well-kept secret
Sometimes the Falkland Islands feel like a secret from the rest of the world and as much as we’d like to keep this beautiful destination to ourselves, we also want you to enjoy it. Falkland Day is an occasion that boosts visibility for the islands.
It pays tribute
We think it’s important that there is a day to remember the history and work that went into creating the Falkland Islands. Pay tribute on this day in your own way.
An excuse to visit
The holiday and special events serve as an extra reason to visit the beautiful islands. Why not book a vacation and celebrate this holiday with the locals?
Falklands Day dates