The Faroe Islands is a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. It is an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark. Their total area is about 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi) with a population of 50,322 in October 2017. The terrain is rugged and the climate is subpolar oceanic climate —windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream. The natural vegetation of the Faroe Islands is dominated by arctic-alpine plants, wildflowers, grasses, moss and lichen. Most of the lowland area is grassland and some are heath, dominated by shrubby heathers. The bird fauna of the Faroe Islands is dominated by seabirds and birds attracted to open land like heather, probably because of the lack of woodland and other suitable habitats. Many species have developed special Faroese sub-species: common eider, Common starling, Eurasian wren, common murre, and black guillemot. Only a few species of wildland mammals are found in the Faroe Islands today, all introduced by humans. Three species are thriving on the islands today: mountain hare (Lepus timidus), brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), and the house mouse (Mus musculus). Apart from these, there is a local domestic sheep breed, the Faroe sheep. Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are common around the shorelines. Several species of cetacea live in the waters around the Faroe Islands. Best known are the long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melaena), which are still hunted by the islanders in accordance with longstanding local tradition. Orcas (Orcinus orca) are regular visitors around the islands.
The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. The Faroese have control of most of their domestic affairs. Those that are the responsibility of Denmark include military defence, policing and the justice department, currency, and foreign affairs. However, as they are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the Faroe Islands have an independent trade policy and can establish trade agreements with other states. The islands also have representation in the Nordic Council as members of the Danish delegation. Credit: Wikipedia.
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