There is no native population on any of the islands, the largest being South Georgia wich is about 100 miles by 18 miles.  The only present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, scientists, and support staff from the British Antarctic Survey.

The British claim to sovereignty of South Georgia dates from 1775 and the rest of the Sandwich Islands from 1908.  The territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands was formed in 1985, after previously being governed by the Falkland Islands.  South Georgia Island has been contested over by Argentina and was part of the reason for the Falklands War.  In fact, Argentine forces briefly occupied the Islands.  Disputes over the island continue to this day.

Life on the Island

The climate in the islands is very variable and harsh, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year interspersed with periods of calm. Typical daily maximum temperatures in South Georgia at sea level are around 0°C (32°F) in winter (August) and 10°C (50°F) in summer (January). Annual precipitation in South Georgia is about 1500 mm (59 in), much of which falls as sleet or snow.

The prevailing weather conditions generally make the islands difficult to approach by ship, though the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays which provide good anchorage.