Port Stanley is the capital and only town in the Falkland Islands. Its estimated population is around 1,500 citizens. The Falklands are not a sovereign state, it is not usually categorized as the world's southernmost capital city. Work on the settlement began in 1843, with it becoming the capital in July 1845. It was named for Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies at the time. The settlement rapidly grew as a deep water port. Stanley was subjugated by Argentine troops for about ten weeks during the Falklands War in 1982. During the Falklands War of 1982, Argentine forces occupied the airport. The Argentine Air Force were unable to place their most sophisticated fighter jets at the base given the relatively short runway, and the risk of attack by the British. In 1985, RAF Mount Pleasant opened and Port Stanley Airport returned to civilian use.
Port Stanley lies at the hub of East Falkland's
road network, and is the main shopping center on the islands, also possessing
the only swimming pool, school, hospital and library. Other attractions include
the Falkland Islands Museum, Government House, home to the Governor of the
Falkland Islands, a golf course, and Christ Church Cathedral.
Visit Gypsy Cove, which is known for its Magellanic penguins, and Cape Pembroke, the easternmost point of the Falklands, lie nearby. Gypsy Cove is four miles from Port Stanley and can be reached by local bus which runs every hour.
The harbor at Port Stanley is the supreme graveyard of 19th century shipping in the world. Along the seven mile harbor front can be seen the carcasses of some twenty ships that were beaten up by Cape Horn and never left the Falklands.