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South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are small Islands west of the Falklands. Since Doomsday it has grown from a research and tourist settlement to the home of a local fishermen fleet and a large amount of British exiles from the Falklands.
The Island of South Georgia is said to have been first sighted in 1675 by Anthony de la Roché, a London merchant, and was named Roche Island on a number of early maps. It was sighted by a commercial Spanish ship named León operating out of Saint-Malo on 28 June or 29 June 1756. In 1775 Captain James Cook circumnavigated the island, made the first landing, claimed the territory for the Kingdom of Great Britain, and named it "the Isle of Georgia" in honour of King George III. British arrangements for the government of South Georgia were first established under the 1843 British Letters Patent.
In 1882–1883 a German expedition for the First International Polar Year was stationed at Royal Bay on the south-east side of the island. They also observed the transit of Venus and recorded waves produced by the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. Throughout the 19th century South Georgia was a sealers' base and, in the following century, a whalers' base until whaling ended in the 1960s. The first land-based whaling station, and first permanent habitation, was established at Grytviken in 1904 by Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen. It operated through his Argentine Fishing Company, which settled in Grytviken. The station remained in operation until 1965.
This photograph was taken by Frank Hurley during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. From 1905 the Argentine Meteorological Office co-operated in maintaining the meteorological observatory at Grytviken under the British lease requirements of the whaling station until these changed in 1949. In 1908 the United Kingdom issued a further Letters Patent to establish constitutional arrangements for its possessions in the South Atlantic. As well as South Georgia, the Letters Patent covered the South Orkneys, the South Shetlands, the South Sandwich Islands, and Graham Land.
From 1909 an administrative centre and residence was established at King Edward Point on South Georgia, near the whaling station of Grytviken. A permanent local British administration and resident Magistrate exercised effective possession, enforcement of British law, and regulation of all economic, scientific and other activities in the territory, which was then governed as the Falkland Islands Dependencies. In about 1912, what is according to some accounts the largest whale ever caught, a blue whale of 33.58 metres, was landed at Grytviken.
In April 1916, Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition became stranded on Elephant Island, some 800 miles south west of South Georgia. Shackleton and five companions set out in a small boat to summon help, and on May 10, after an epic voyage, they landed at King Haakon Bay on South Georgia's south coast. While three stayed at the coast, Shackleton and other two companions went on to cover 22 miles overland to reach help at Stromness whaling station. The remaining 22 members of the expedition, who had stayed on Elephant Island, were all subsequently rescued. In January 1922, during a later expedition, Shackleton died on board ship off South Georgia. He is buried at Grytviken. Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927.
During World War II, the Royal Navy deployed an armed merchant vessel to patrol South Georgian and Antarctic waters against German raiders, along with two four-inch shore guns (still present) protecting Cumberland Bay and Stromness Bay, manned by volunteers from among the Norwegian whalers. The base at King Edward Point was expanded as a research facility in 1949/1950 by the British Antarctic Survey. The Falklands War was precipitated on 19 March 1982 when a group of Argentinians, posing as scrap metal merchants, occupied the abandoned whaling station at Leith Harbour on South Georgia. On April 3 the Argentine troops attacked and occupied Grytviken. Among the commanding officers of the Argentine Garrison was Alfredo Astiz, a Captain in the Argentine Navy who, years later, was convicted of felonies committed during the Dirty War in Argentina.
The island was recaptured by British forces on 25 April in Operation Paraquet. From 1985, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands ceased to be administered as a Falkland Islands Dependency and became a separate territory. The King Edward Point base, which had become a small military garrison after the Falklands war, returned to civilian use in 2001 and is now operated by the British Antarctic Survey.
On Doomsday, the Island lost communications with the UK, and soon after the small populace of 30, plus around 50 British soldiers who were still at King Edward Point feared that it would be taken by Argentina, the Island went to first DEFCON. Even though they were a Falkland Islands Dependency it appeared that the Falklands had been concentrated with their own issues and forgot about the islands. They still did manage to make contact with them, and most of the tourists or civilians who were on the islands returned to the Falklands, but others were worried of an Argentinian revenge attack and chose to remain. The small exodus stopped when a boat traveling to the Falklands sank and rumors circulated that it was the Argentinians, although this was dismissed as false later on. This was around the time when winter kicked in and travel and communications would be knocked out for a long time.
Food was a problem, as the island had very little plant life since it was a tundra island. The tourist season was not big around this time of year, but nevertheless there were a handful of tourists at Grytviken, who were all in confusion and most were forced to stay in the museums at Grytviken. Luckily some of the surrounding fishermen who did not go to the Falkland Islands arrived at Grytviken around November when the seas became simply too cold and rough to stay out or fuel had run out on the gasoline powered boats. In effect they created the only non-governmental population on the island. The fishermen made up around 87 people, almost all men. The tourists, only around 30, were also mostly men other than less than a dozen women. The tiny government, confused on where to settle them, turned the former tourist attraction and abandoned town of Grytviken.
Soon the government began creating steps towards a "true" government by December, electing random fishermen, tourists, or an occasional soldiers that they could not hope to govern properly, but 4 or 5 officials of the old British government station could not hope to govern the new population either. The "Fishers Regime" as it was called was called gave the simplest of orders: assigning the fishermen to return to their fleets and fish, or find some building materials. Weapons, were the main problem. An Argentinian attack was inevitable, as they had already seized the island only one year ago. A scant handful of the fishermen had harpoons or even small firearms, but the British soldiers couldn't hope to contain the Argentinian attack. So every man and women were told to be on the lookout for the Argentinians. This was the beginning of the "Freezing Cold War".
Freezing Cold War
The attack never came. Instead, the Argentinians offered their support to the small island. The local militia and proper military were in awe: It was only one year ago they attacked and occupied the island! Nevertheless the Argentinians hoped they would join their new union with the Falklands and Uruguay, known as the United South American Republic. But unlike those at the Falklands, the South Georgians would not be fooled by the Argentinians and refused annexation, but took in their aid. Aid mostly came in the form of vegetables or an occasional drop or two of gasoline, but the gasoline would not be used to use cars, it would be used to heat the local population who were only barely not freezing to death or for gas-powered boats. They barely got by since the fishermen were always well prepared for the coldest of climates and had the warmest of clothes to hand out to the mostly unprepared tourists.
The island also received several hundred "British Rebels" in 1986 who were detained after Argentina united with the Falklands but some of the British civilians and military persons would stop at nothing to stop the new union from occurring. This brought the population up to over 800, and this put a massive strain on the heat and construction resources. Luckily, as compensation for the forced massive emigration, the Argentinians supplied them with proper building materials. Several Argentinian or Falkland construction workers would build "state-of-the-art" homes in Grytviken, built to keep the cold out. While this happened, the South Georgians used other construction materials to reinforce the promontory north-eastern settlement at King Edward Point. This was seen as the best place to defend the island from should an Argentinian invasion ever occur and some of the British Rebels chose to settle there rather than in Grytviken. It was also home to one of the few places on the island where several crops could be grown.
South Sandwich Islands
Throughout this whole time not a soul had stepped foot on the South Sandwich Islands. Several fishing boats approached the islands and discovered what appeared to be a failed fisherman settlement on the island which was made up of a mere 12 people. They had settled on Montagu Island and had tried to use the volcano as a heat source. Their bodies were buried on the island.
The is practically no presence on the islands now, though there were plans for 40 people to move to the islands to enforce their control over them. Several fishermen would move to the islands and build several enforced cottages on the island, using thermal heat like the failed colony, but even then most have moved back or only maintain their cottages when they are around fishing. It was these tiny settlements that prompted Argentina to take action once more.
In 1995, South Georgia was offered a final chance to join Argentina: They would join or face a boycott of supplies and aid. The government was forced to make a decision, lose their culture and British pride or join the Argentinians and be supplied with everything they needed. In a hard choice, they chose to remain independent and would "die before leaving the hopes for Britain aside". The Argentinians failed to mention the fact that New Britain had existed this whole time, and instead telling lies that Britain had "ceased to exist as an island" on Doomsday, and was no more than "chunks of land" scattered throughout where the British Isles used to be, but the South Georgians had pled for support from New Zealand, who soon began sending their support to the islands. Soon after they came into contact with New Britain, who then also aided the islands. Reunification miraculously did not come up after 1995 until recently.
The islands are in discussion with New Britain to discuss returning control to a certain degree to the British. Plans are to move Tristan de Cuhna, Ascension, and South Georgia into renewed British Overseas Territories. The islanders are rejoiced at the fact they will join with those at Tristan de Cuhna and Ascension together as a united country.
Fishing is the largest occupation on the Island. Besides that, many of the the islands natural resources are not touched due to the lack of equipment needed to extract them. Fuel is the largest problem, since it is used to keep most of the boats running or to keep generators running. It manages to purchase small, expensive amounts of fuel at an overcharged price from the United American Republic, Argentina, at (15 British Pounds; the equivalent of 30 Aussie Dollars) a gallon, although this is mainly used by the government and the rich. Farming is also a major employer as well.
Culture and Climate
Since Doomsday, South Georgia has become a survival based economy. Due to the scarcity of pretty much every needed material excluding food and water everyone shares everything from shoes to gas to clothes.
United American Republic still clams South Georgia, but the island is loyal to New Britain. Military leader, George Pale has told the UAR that at the time Falkland went to Argentina, South Georgia was on its own and that it wasn't going to be transferred to UAR.
By radio, the Island has kept close ties with New Britain.
New Britain and the ANZC had two wind turbines installed on the island as an act of generosity, since the islands were always short on fuel. The wind turbines generates quite a lot of electricity considering the amount of winds that pass through the area.
South Georgia and South Sandwich are a member of the Commonwealth of British Nations.
Since they are part of the Realm of the Commonwealth, they should be represented by New Britain, but since its' suspension they have a personal LoN seat.