Cape Horn provided an essential route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans prior to the building of the Panama Canal (opened in 1914) and the Falklands were well-placed to offer shelter, supplies and repairs to passing ships.
Falkland Island waters were notoriously treacherous to navigate before the Royal Navy completed soundings, and this is paid testimony to by the 120 or so wrecks that are known to lie off the rocky coasts; there are almost certainly many more ships lost to the sea without record.
Stanley Harbour itself was something of a ship graveyard – until the 1980s more than a dozen vessels of various sizes lay hulked or abandoned along the shoreline. Sadly, today less than half that number can be seen, and in the most part the remains are little more than skeletal – truly relics of a bygone age.
The hulks of 19th century ships, such as the Charles Cooper and the Jhelum, that had been striking features of the harbour for generations have been lost to us in just the last few years. The few that remain in reasonably intact will not survive indefinitely.
The Falkland Islands have a rich maritime heritage, largely because of our location close to one of the world’s great trading routes.
Kindly sponsored by
Consolidated Fisheries Ltd
Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust
The historic heart of Stanley