Mudcat Café message #825225 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53405   Message #825225
Posted By: Teribus
13-Nov-02 - 10:58 AM
Thread Name: BS: British Rule.The vote
Subject: RE: BS: British Rule.The vote
Chronicle of the Falkland islands

1522, 1592
Argentine versions state that various Spanish and Portuguese seamen, and particularly Esteban Gómez of the Magellan expedition (in 1522) were the first to see the islands without giving concrete verifiable sources except their own, which are most likely revisionistic.

According the Encyclopedia Britannica (an American source probably leaning toward the English), the English navigator John Davis on the Desire (1592) may (note emphasis) have been the first person to sight the Falklands.

Given that both sides' claims are much debated and undocumented by the original sources, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Circa 1600
The Dutchman Sebald de Weerdt makes the first undisputed sighting of the islands.

The English captain John Strong heading a British expedition made the first recorded landing in the Falklands, in 1690. The British claim the islands for the crown and named the sound between the two main islands after Viscount Falkland, a British naval official. The name was later applied to the whole island group.

French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville founds the islands' first permanent settlement, on East Falkland.
During subsequent years, a French fishery is manned by people from St. Malo (hence "Iles Malouines" from which the Argentine name "Islas Malvinas" is derived).

The British are the first to settle in the West Falkland island.

The Spanish buy out the French settlement (Port Louis) in the East Falkland island. For Spain, this implies a French recognition of the Spanish rights to the land.

A Spanish flotilla arrives at the islands asking the British to leave. When first asked to leave, the British officer in charge of the garrison, a Captain Hunt, replied:
``I have received your letters by the officer, acquainting me that these islands and coasts thereof belong to the King of Spain, your Master. In return I am to acquaint you that the said islands belong to his Brittanic Majesty, My Master, by right of discovery as well as settlement and that the subjects of no other power whatever can have any right to be settled in the said islands without leave from His Brittanic Majesty or taking oaths of allegiance and submitting themselves to His Majesty's Government as subjects of the Crown of Great Britain.''
This is the first documented sign we could find of the conflict between Britain and Spain regarding the Islands.

Shortly thereafter, the Spanish revisited with a much superior force ``convincing'' the British garrison to leave on 14th July 1770.

[Source: 'An account of of the last expedition to Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands' , by Bernard Penrose published in the Universal Magazine, April 1775.]

The British outpost on West Falkland is restored after threat of war.

The British withdraw from the island (for economic reasons according to British sources). Spain maintains the settlement on East Falkland (which it called Soledad Island) until 1811, when Spain is about to lose control of its colonies in America.

Independent Argentina first appears on the historical scene.

The Buenos Aires government, which had declared its independence from Spain in 1816, first proclaims its sovereignty over the Falklands.

Argentine warlord (Caudillo), and later governor of Buenos Aires Juan Manuel de Rosas sent a governor, Mr. Vernet, together with a garrison and settlers for menial work to the islands. The first recorded Argentine settlement in the islands.

The American warship USS Lexington destroys the Argentine settlement on East Falkland in reprisal for the arrest of three U.S. ships that had been hunting seals in the area.

Afraid that the Americans seized the islands, the British remember the expedition of the 17th century, re-invade the islands, forcefully depose Vernet and send the Argentines back to the mainland albeit without having to fire a shot.

A British community of some 1,800 people on the islands is self-supporting.

Colonial status is granted to the Falklands.

1933 and on
According to David Rock: ``After the Roca-Runciman treaty [A bilateral trade agreement signed in 1933 between Britain and Argentina, benefiting Britain and exploiting Argentina's natural resources -- Ed.], a profusion of new nationalist writers and factions began to appear. For a time the nationalist movement was largely dominated by historians who sought to fuel the campaign against the British. These historical ``revisionists'' began to reexamine the 19th century and to catalogue Britain's imperialist encroachments: the british invasions of 1806-1807, Britain's role in the foundation of Uruguay in the late 1820s, its seizure of the Falkland Islands in 1833, the blockades under Rosas ... A cult now enveloped the figure of Juan Manuel de Rosas, who was depicted as a symbol of national resistance to foreign dominations [In fact, he was a strong handed dictator who killed countless opponents, benefited greatly from trade with Britain, sized 800,000 acres of estate land for himself only etc. -- Ed]... Propaganda of this kind made a deepening imprint on public opinion and helped sustain nationalist sentiments in the Army...''

The islands' position was debated by the UN committee on de-colonization. Argentina based its claim to the Falklands on papal bulls of 1493 modified by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), by which Spain and Portugal had divided the New World between themselves; on succession from Spain; on the islands' proximity to South America; and on the need to end a colonial situation. Britain based its claim on its "open, continuous, effective possession, occupation, and administration" of the islands since 1833 and its determination to grant the Falklanders self-determination as recognized in the United Nations Charter. Britain asserted that, far from ending a colonial situation, Argentine rule and control of the lives of the Falklanders against their will would, in fact, create one.

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution inviting Britain and Argentina to hold discussions to find a peaceful solution to the dispute. These protracted discussions were still proceeding in February 1982 shortly before the Falkland war started.