Lafonia

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Location of Lafonia within the Falkland Islands.

Lafonia is a peninsula forming the southern part of East Falkland, the largest of the Falkland Islands.

Contents

Geography and geology

map of the Falkland Islands

Shaped like the letter "E", Lafonia is joined to the northern part of the island by a 1.5-mile narrow isthmus; were this isthmus to be severed, Lafonia would be the third largest of the Falkland Islands. Falkland Sound runs to the west between Lafonia and West Falkland. Choiseul Sound divides Lafonia from the northern part of East Falkland.

Barren Island, Bleaker Island, George Island, Lively Island, Sea Lion Island and Speedwell Island are all off Lafonia.

The geology of north west Lafonia is Permian, and similar to that of parts of Ecca Pass in South Africa.[1] The plain of Lafonia is constituted by arenaceous sediments of the Lafonia Group. Depressions in the sediments formed where they were cut vertically by basalt dikes.

In the 21st century, Lafonia has seen gold prospecting[2] by Falkland Gold and Minerals Ltd.

History and Population

The land is gentle and low-lying, but almost uninhabited, falling into the "camp" category. Most of its settlement occurred in the mid-19th century.

The peninsula is named after Mr Samuel Fisher Lafone, a wealthy Liverpudlian cattle and hide merchant trading on the River Plate. In 1845, Lafone obtained from the government a grant of the southern portion of the East Falkland, a peninsula 600,000 acres in extent, and possession of all the wild cattle on the island for a period of six years, for a payment of £10,000 down, and £20,000 in ten years from January 1, 1852. In 1851, Mr Lafone's interest in Lafonia, as the peninsula came to be called, was purchased for £30,000 by the Falkland Islands Company, which had been incorporated by charter in the same year.

Lafonia has been used for sheep farming since the early nineteenth century and is run from Darwin (founded 1859) and Goose Green, both of which are located on the narrow isthmus that separates Lafonia from the rest of East Falkland. North Arm Settlement is the only substantial settlement in Lafonia (not counting offshore islands), along with Walker Creek.

Attractions include the Bodie Suspension Bridge, built in 1925 and said to be the southernmost in the world. There is also a shop here. Listed buildings in Lafonia include The Galpon and Stone Corral in Darwin, The Stone Cottage and Goose Green Hall (owned by Falklands Landholdings) in Goose Green and Paragon House. [2]

The first battles on land during the Falklands War took place on Lafonia; famously the Battle of Goose Green, where over a thousand Argentine personnel were stationed and in the course of the British advance the Argentines imprisoned around a hundred locals in the community hall. The area now has an Argentine military cemetery. Parts of Lafonia, especially near Darwin and Goose Green, are still heavily mined.

Other settlements include Port King, Egg Harbour and the abandoned Hope Place.

Wildlife

Charles Darwin surveyed the area's wildlife during his now-famous voyage on HMS Beagle.

Lafonia's wildlife includes the Chiloe Wigeon, Silver Teal and Yellow-billed Pintail. Introduced brown trout are found in at least one stream [3] flowing into Choiseul Sound. There is also a population of Zebra trout.

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References

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