Empire Colonies: The Falklands

The Falklands War began on Friday 2 April 1982 when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, but it is way back we need to look at to understand what led to the tragic loss of roughly 1000 lives both British and Argentinian.

Back in 1765 Britain via Captain John Byron made a claim to Port Egmont and and other islands for Britain on the grounds of being there first. However unknown to them there was already a French settlement which Spain acquired and interrupted the British control of The Falklands, but with economic pressures at home saw Britain to unilaterally withdraw from many overseas settlements in 1774. The British left behind a plaque asserting her continued claim when they left, Spain also left behind a plaque asserting Spanish claims in 1806.

However in 1820 a ship the Heroina took shelter in the Islands and they to made a claim, the third so far, on behalf of the United Provinces of the River Plate. But it was Luis Vernet was a merchant from Hamburg who  established a settlement on East Falkland in 1828 however he had approval from from both the British and Argentine authorities, and it was he who asked the British to protect the colony.

Argentina attempted to found a penal colony in  1832, but a mutiny ensued and Commander Mestivier was killed after only four days. In January 1833 the British returned and asked the Argentine garrison leave which under protest they did.

From 1834 the islands were governed as a naval station and then in 1840 the British Government established a permanent colony, the Falklands became part of the British Empire.


3 thoughts on “Empire Colonies: The Falklands

  1. It seems like such a lonely spit of land to spend so many years fighting over. It’s beautiful in an I’d-never-want-to-visit way. On another note, I live in one of the colonies (a descendant of both colonisers and locals) and the unshakeable certainty on the part of the colonists that the land “belonged” to them always makes me smile.

    • Well looking at the history it is a good case to claim it as British territory, but I think realistically it needs to be up to the people that live there. Of course if it was made an independent country then they could just ask for British protection.

      • Agreed. I was commenting on the strangeness of claiming land as your own in the age of discovery; imagining the scenario today of seeing a pretty piece of land in South Africa and simply saying, ‘I like it. I’ll stay. It’s mine’. It wasn’t meant to question the validity of either side’s claim. Twas just a thought 🙂

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