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Faeroe Islands

Introduction

Faeroe Islands or Faröe Islands (both: fârˈō) [key], Dan. Færøerne, Faeroese Føroyar, group of volcanic islands (2005 est. pop. 47,000), 540 sq mi (1,399 sq km), Denmark, in the N Atlantic, between Iceland and the Shetland Islands. There are 18 main islands and a few small, uninhabited islands. The largest islands are Streymoy, on which the group's capital, Tórshavn, is situated, and Østerø. The Faeroes are high and rugged and have only sparse vegetation. The climate is relatively mild because of the influence of the North Atlantic Drift; there are frequent storms and much fog.

The population is Scandinavian and almost totally Lutheran; they speak Faeroese (a Germanic language derived from Old Norse and related to Danish) and Danish. The inhabitants depend mainly on fishing and to a lesser extent on sheep raising, shipbuilding, and fish farming. Fish, animal feeds, stamps, and ships are exported, while consumer goods, raw materials, machinery, and fuels are imported. The chief fishing ports are Vágur, Tórshavn, and Klaksvíg. The potential for petroleum production is being explored.

The Faeroes are a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark; they are governed under the Danish constitution of 1953. The Danish monarch, represented by a high commissioner, is the head of state. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is elected by the legislature. The cabinet is appointed by the prime minister. The 32 members of the unicameral Faeroese Parliament or Logting are popularly elected to four-year terms.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian Political Geography


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