Falkland Islands Facts

Falkland Islands Facts and History


The Malvinas, as the Falkland Islands in Argentina are called, only received brief international attention.

That was in 1982, when Argentina by Britain managed archipelago occupied militarily. This was followed by a naval war for the islands, which the United Kingdom won in the end. It should be mentioned that after all, the criminal military regime in Argentina disappeared as a result of the war. Through the Argentine occupation and the subsequent liberation, the patriotism of the residents awakened so much that they gave themselves a constitution, but also wanted to stay with the mother country Great Britain.

Could it be rights to mine natural resources in the sea around the islands that started the war? We do not know it. The then US President Ronald Reagan didn’t know either when he asked why two of his allies were waging war: “That little icy-cold bunch of land down there.”

Name of the country Dependent territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy
Geographical location In the Atlantic off the south-east coast of South America (at the 52nd degree of southern latitude)about 500 km from Argentina
National anthem God save our glorious Queen
Population Approx. 3,000 residents, plus around 1,700 British soldiers (Credit: Countryaah: Falkland Islands Facts)
Ethnicities British 99%
Religions Anglicans (majority), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, Evangelists,Lutherans, United Free Church, and Roman Catholic Church
Languages English
Capital Port Stanley
Surface Land area: 12,173 km²
Highest mountain Mount Usborne with a height of 712 m
International license plate GB
National currency Falkland Islands Pound £ 1FI = 100 pence
Time difference to CET -4 h (summer: -5 h)
International phone code +500 (long-distance connections with satellite phone)
Mains voltage, frequency 240 volts, 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .fk

Falkland Islands: History

Dispute over the discovery

Various Spanish and Portuguese seafarers are believed to have been the first people to discover the islands, according to Argentine sources. Most documented is the report by Esteban Gómez of the “San Antonio” of the famous Spanish expedition of Magellan, who discovered the islands on his way back to Spain in 1522. The Argentine historian Maria Laura San Martino de Dromi quotes maps that are said to have been made between 1522 and 1561 and show the islands.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, it is said to have been the English helmsman John Davis on the “Desire” who (1592) was the first to sight the Falklands.

First settlement in the 17th century

In the years around 1600 the Dutch seaman Sebald de Weerdt made the first discovery of the islands, which was not objected to by anybody.

In 1690, Captain John Strong led a British expedition to land on the Falklands for the first time. The British claimed the crown on the archipelago and named it Viscount Falkland.

In 1764 the French seaman Louis-Antoine de Bougainville founded the first settlement on East Falkland.

The French fishing fleet in Falkland was manned by men from St. Malo. The Argentine name “Islas Malvinas” was derived from the French “Iles Malouines”.

Dispute between the colonial powers

In 1765 the British were the first to colonize the West Falkland Islands. 1767 The French sell their Port Louis settlement in East Falkland to the Spanish. Spain then claims the rest of the country. In 1770 a Spanish flotilla threatens the English garrison and demands their withdrawal. The first documented conflict between the colonial powers occurs. The garrison commander, Captain Hunt, writes:

“I have received the letters from your officers who are supposed to explain to me that these islands belong to the King of Spain. I must then instruct you that these islands belong to the British crown, through the right of British discovery and settlement of the same. And that the Subjects of no other power have the right to settle in the said islands without the consent of the British Majesty or without registering as subjects of the British Crown with Her Majesty’s Government. ”

A little later the Spanish returned with a stronger force and the British withdrew in 1770. In 1771 the English post was filled again when there was a threat of war. In 1774 the settlement had to be given up allegedly for economic reasons. The Spanish kept their Soledad Island until 1811 when Spain lost its colonies in South America.

Five years later Argentina gained independence and in 1820 the government of Argentina claimed the islands. Another eight years later, the caudillo and later governor of Buenos Aires sent Juan Manuel de Rosasan official (governor Vernet) to the island with military occupation and settlers. In 1831 the USS Lexington destroyed this settlement in the East Falklands to repay the sinking of three American fishing boats by the Argentines. In 1833 the British remembered their claim to the islands and occupied them to forestall the Americans. Vernet and the Argentine settlers were sent home. The archipelago has been part of Great Britain without interruption since 1833. By 1885 a British settlement of over 1,800 people had developed and was economically self-sufficient.

Colonial times

In 1892 the Falklands became British Crown Colony. In 1914 it was the scene of a naval battle between the German Navy and the British Navy. An association of German cruisers under Vice Admiral Graf Spee had defeated a British squadron at Coronel. Short of ammunition, he and his squadron were on their way home across the Atlantic Ocean. He dared to attack the Falkland Islands. But the British battlecruisers HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible, dispatched to destroy it, had just arrived there. The battlecruisers were superior to any German ship in terms of speed, combat power and gun range. In the following sea battle, 4 German cruisers and two auxiliary ships were sunk, and one cruiser escaped.

In the neighboring country of Argentina, a nationalist movement in literature, politics and education arose in the 1930s, which saw the islands as primordial Argentine territory. The anti-British debate was fueled by the discussion about the Roca-Runciman Treaty, which regulated trade relations between Great Britain and Argentina and the temporary occupation of Buenos Aires by the English, as well as the role of the kingdom in the founding of Uruguay and the transfiguration of the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas as a resistance fighter against the British.

Dispute over the right to self-determination

In 1964 the dispute reached the United Nations Committee to End the Colonial Era. Argentina claims the islands for itself based on papal bulletins of 1493 and the Treaty of Tordesillas(1494), in which Spain and Portugal divided the new world among themselves. Argentina also cited the distance from the motherland and the need to end a colonial situation. While Britain has claimed permanent settlement of its citizens, permanent government and possession of the crown since the discovery. In addition, the mother country would grant the residents, the “kelpers”, self-determination according to the United Nations Charter. An end to the colonial status through an Argentine rule over the population would create a colonial situation again. A year later the General Assembly decided that the two states should come to an agreement through negotiation.

The Falklands War

In Argentina, the military staged a coup in 1966 and 1978. In the meantime, Péron (1973-1974) and his wife Isabel (1974-1976) returned to power. However, they could not achieve any success in the internal political consolidation of the country. The “Junta” of 1978 made it possible for the right-wing death squads to take action against political opponents. Thousands of Argentines “disappeared” or were arrested. The liberalization of the economy was unsuccessful in the short term. The inflation rate rose to over 600%, the gross national product fell by 11% and the decline in the currency reduced the purchasing power of wages by almost 20%. Perhaps to distract attention from the miserable situation or out of ignorance of the enemy, the Argentine armed forces occupied the Falkland Islands in 1982.Operación Rosario by Admiral Jorge Anaya.

On April 2, 1982, Argentine troops occupied Governor Rex Hunt ended the brief resistance of the Royal Marines and the British soldiers and their governor were flown to Montevideo.

On April 3, 1982, after a brief skirmish, the Argentines occupied the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (1,600 km east of Falkland). General Mario Menendez became military governor. In Buenos Aires there were outbursts of joy over the occupation after the unions called for mass rallies against the government a week ago.

The UN Security Council passed resolution 502 which called for the invaders to withdraw and hostilities to cease. While the British began their first air transports to the island of Asencion in the Atlantic, the Argentine army sent 10,000 recruits, some of them young and poorly trained, to the archipelago. British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher (1979-1990) sent a fleet of 28,000 soldiers into the Atlantic.

From April 8 to 19, 1982, US Secretary of State Alexander Haig tried to mediate between the two allies.

On April 25, a small squad of the Royal Marines retook Georgia Island. Meanwhile the main force had arrived on the island of Ascension 13,000 km away.

Haig’s mediation mission had failed and US President Ronald Reagan imposed sanctions on Argentina and pledged support to Prime Minister Margret Thatcher.

On May 1, Harrier and Vulcan British bombed the runways at Port Stanley. Three Argentine machines were shot down – one of them by their own people. The President of Peru Belaunde Terry drafted a peace agreement before the junta could accept it, a British submarine sank the old Argentine cruiser “General Belgrano” outside the combat zone. The war therefore continued. The Argentine Air Force had recently received “Super Etendard” fighter jets with Exocet missiles from France. The pilots had little experience with the new machines, but their use brought success. The destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk and a British Harrier fighter was shot down. A sea war developed around the archipelago in which a number of Argentine machines were shot down, but also some warships were sunk – some with valuable cargo. On May 22nd, the British Navy managed to land on the East Island.

While other British ships were lost, the British infantry, supported by paratroopers, fought against the superior strength of Argentina.

A British veto prevented a Spanish-Panamanian peace resolution in the UN Security Council.

The British troops had to conquer the mountains of the island against great resistance and with losses until the garrison in Port Stanley gave up on June 14th. Their commander Mario Menendez signed a ceasefire in the course of which 9,800 Argentines were captured.

When the British reoccupied the South Sandwich Islands on June 20, it was formally announced that hostilities would cease. The war lasted 72 days. It killed 236 British and 655 Argentines. From a military point of view, it was astonishing to see how, despite the use of high-tech weapons, the Argentines were able to cause immense damage to the British naval forces even with old aircraft and conventional bombs. Politically, the war re-elected Margaret Thatcher and cost $ 2 billion. In Argentina, free presidential elections were held the following year, won by Rául Alfonsin Foulkés (1983-1989) the leader of the “Radical Citizens’ Union” (UCR).

On the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, Argentina began to vigorously again demonstrate its never-abandoned claims to the island world.

Falkland Islands Facts