The Falklands War 1982

The Falklands War 1982

Falklands War 1982


The Falkland Islands are a desolate and cold group of islands in the South Atlantic, 400 miles off the South American mainland. The two main islands are about the same area as Wales in the UK and in 1982 had a population of 1,820 people and 400,000 sheep - hardly a place that would expect an invasion or a war of liberation in response.

Before 1816 the island had a chequered past and were often left unguarded and uninhabited. After 1816 when Argentina won its independence from Spain they laid claim to the islands. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars Britain was determined to reassert its imperial claims and this included the Falklands. Pride was also at stake after the failure of a British expedition to Argentina during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1833 a British Naval force evicted the Argentineans and it was this act of aggression that they wished to avenge in 1982.

Under international law the Argentineans had no case, despite the original British aggression the Island had been settled and inhabited by the British continuously since 1833 with most of the islanders descended from the Scottish settlers brought there by the Falkland Islands Company to raise sheep. If such a claim as the Argentinean one was honoured then it would open an immense can of worms for many countries throughout the world. The British also pointed out that the UN charter gave small nations the right of National Self Determination and the islanders definitely wanted to remain British. Yet with such a seemingly worthless piece of territory at stake with a population equal to a large block of flats it seemed to the Argentineans that the British would offer no physical resistance especially with the distances involved and a population of 100,000 British Ex pats living on the Argentine mainland.

The Argentines had been taught since school that the British had stolen the islands and the country had not suffered the horrors of war as seen in the two world wars. It is also clear that if the Junta had not invaded the Falklands it would have gone to war elsewhere. The British didn't take such childish claims seriously while for the Argentineans it was a passionate, national cause. Caught up in a wave of patriotism the Argentinean government and people were about to pay a heavy price. Not expecting any British military response the Argentineans invaded on 2 April 1982 (Spring). If they had waited for 2 months it would have been too late for any British counter attack, but then the Argentineans hadn't even considered such an event.

The Beginning of the War

The British and Argentineans had periodically conducted talks on the Islands, the Argentineans had tried economic incentives for the islands to join their country but few willing wanted to be ruled by a military dictatorship. Running out of time and needing a victory the military junta led by General Galteri decided invasion was the only option to retake the island before the 150th anniversary of British rule. The Argentineans who had a good relationship with the US government under President Reagan believed the US would support them in the coming war or at least remain quiet, it would be yet another mistake.

The Argentineans then needed a Causus Beli, this was soon found. An Argentinean scrap merchant had been contracted to remove an abandoned whaling station on South Georgia, a British Island to the east of the Falklands (which the Argentineans also claimed). He landed without permission and was told to leave or gain permits and just over 20 Royal marines were sent to enforce the decision. On 25th March the Argentineans sent troops to protect the scrap dealer and occupy the Island, at the same time the invasion of the Falklands was ordered with troops landing at Port Stanley, the capital, on 2nd April 1982, taking the British completely by surprise. The Argentineans had taken the cutbacks proposed in the British 1981 White paper as an indication that the British would not fight for the Falklands. They were terribly mistaken. The British saw it as a point of honour and were furious at the actions of what they saw as a ‘Tin-pot’ dictator. The invasion was on a Friday by Tuesday a British task force had set sail to retake the islands! It was an amazing feat of mobilisation considering the islands lie 8250 miles from the UK. Merchant ships were drafted into service including two liners - the Canberra and the QEII. The Canberra returning from a cruise on the 7th April to be quickly refitted, a helipad added and setting sail two days later with 2400 troops on board, the QEII also became a troop ship like the Queen Elizabeth liner in World War 2. With the nearest British airbase being at Ascension Island 4000 miles from the Falklands the operation had to be completely naval.

The US tried to avert war diplomatically but both sides were now in a bellicose mood. The US public was massively pro British and the US lent the British arms and provided intelligence even offering the use of the USS Guam a 12,000 ton assault ship. It is likely that US intelligence proved vital during the war.

British Assault

The British Task force reached the South Atlantic on 1st May and quickly retook South Georgia and then prepared for the more difficult task of retaking the main Islands. The British chose to land on the other side of the island to the capital Port Stanley in a narrow stretch of water called San Carlos sound which lines between the two main islands. The landing started on the 21st May and was hardly opposed. British elite units such as the Parachute regiment and Royal Marine Commandos faced a weak, mainly conscript, Argentinean army, which proved to have poor morale. Once a British Submarine sunk the Argentinean Cruiser the General Belgrano the Argentinean navy stayed in port. The Argentinean Air force did much better and only luck saved the British from some awful casualties. They operated some 400 miles from their home bases and sank several British ships. British air defence was weak with a few Harrier and Sea Harrier aircraft and Rapier missile batteries. Bombs sank four British ships, and Exocet missiles sank the destroyer HMS Sheffield and the transport the Atlantic Conveyor. Many other ships were damaged some badly with considerable lost of life. The ground phase took 3 weeks and the British fought their way across the island with an Argentine surrender on 14th June 1982. The British lost 250 men including Colonel H Jones of the Parachute regiment and captured 12,278 prisoners, 5 civilians died. The Argentines lost 746 killed of which 368 had been on the Belgrano when it sunk. There have been some hints of war crimes carried out by British troops against Argentine prisoners but no firm evidence.


The Argentine government quickly collapsed, a return to democracy quickly followed and many former Junta officials received long prison sentences as torturers and leaders of government death squads. Argentina then entered a period of political unrest and threatened and abortive military coups. In 1990 Britain and Argentina resumed normal diplomatic relations and a naval exclusion zone around the islands was lifted. The British had spent £600 million on an air base at Port Stanley and it still proves costly to maintain today, although the British military presence is small and often contains Territorial Army units (part time volunteer soldiers). Two huge Squid fisheries opened bringing in $50 million in licenses a year. Large oil deposits also almost certainly exist in the waters around the Falklands and although in the 1980s it was difficult to locate them and uneconomic to extract them, technology is now making this feasible. It will never be known but is possible that the British knew about the long tem oil prospects when they made their decision to go to war. The population of the Island has increased but many islanders seek to marry service personnel as a way to escape these barren isolated islands. Argentina has not renounced its claim but continues to try and win hearts and minds. With the events of the Gulf War and Kuwait the Argentineans are unlikely to try force again especially against a much better defended Island. Should oil production start the Argentines have much to gain economically by co-operating, as they would be the nearest supplier of men and materials needed in the oil industry.

The Falklands War

Argentinian prisoners of war are marched in Port Stanley after they surrendered in the Falklands War
    Falklands War: Argentine cruiser General Belgrano sunk by British submarine Conqueror, killing more than 350 men British destroyer HMS Sheffield hit by Exocet rocket off Falkland Islands: 20 of her crew died. British troops land on Falkland Islands British ship Atlantic Conveyor carrying Chinook helicopters and destroyer HMS Coventry hit in Falkland war: 39 crew members die Falklands War: Royal Fleet Auxiliary Sir Gahalad attacked in San Carlos Water ("Bomb Alley") by Argentine aircraft: 48 soldiers and crewman were killed. Battle of Mount Longdon Falkland Islands Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the 74-day Falklands Islands conflict Riots in Argentina after Falklands/Malvinas defeat President Galtieri resigns after leading Argentina to defeat in the Falkland Islands

Event of Interest

1983-01-09 British PM Margaret Thatcher visits Falkland Islands

Friday, 19 March — Scrap metal workers arrive at the derelict whaling station at Leith on South Georgia and raise the flag of Argentina.

Sunday, 21 March — Endurance, at Stanley, sails for South Georgia with two helicopters and a Royal Marines detachment.

Monday, 22 March — The Bahia Buen Suceso leaves Leith Harbour forty-eight scrap metal workers remain behind.

Wednesday, 24 March — Royal Marines detachment from Endurance lands to monitor Argentine activity at Leith.

Thursday, 25 March — Argentine marines land at Leith from Bahia Paraiso.

Monday, 29 March Replacement Naval Party 8901 arrives in Stanley.

Wednesday, 31 March Royal Marines detachment disembarks from Endurance at Grytviken.

Thursday, 1 April — Naval Party 8901 for the 1981–82 deployment passed operational command to the new Royal Marines detachment both take up defensive positions in and around Stanley submarine Splendid leaves from Faslane orders given for the SBS to mobilise.

Friday, 2 April — Argentine invasion of the Falklands begins after brief resistance Governor Rex Hunt surrenders the UN condemns the act with Resolution 502 Task Force begins to assemble.

Saturday, 3 April — Royal Marines at Grytviken, outnumbered and outgunned, surrender NP 8901 is flown to Montevideo for repatriation.

Sunday, 4 April — Brigadier Thompson briefs his COs at Plymouth Submarine Conqueror leaves Faslane.

Monday, 5 April — Task Force sails from Portsmouth with HQ 3 Commando Brigade and elements of 40 and 42 Commando Naval Party 8901 arrives back in the UK.

Tuesday, 6 April — Naval Party 1222, intended for the island’s defence, arrival at Ascension.

Thursday, 8 April — Broadsword and Yarmouth depart from Gibraltar.

Friday, 9 April — Canberra departs from Portsmouth carrying 3 Para and most of 40 and 42 Commandos.

Saturday, 10 April — Antrim Group arrives at Ascension.

Sunday, 11 April — Antrim Group sails for South Georgia from Ascension with M Coy 42 Cdo aboard.

Monday, 12 April — UK imposes 200-mile Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falklands.

Wednesday, 14 April — Brilliant Group leaves Ascension Rear Admiral Woodward departs from Ascension aboard Glamorgan, with Alacrity, Broadsword and Yarmouth.

Friday, 16 April — Task Force sails from Ascension Hermes arrives at Ascension Invincible leaves Ascension Woodward discusses campaign strategy with Clapp and Thompson aboard Fearless.

Saturday, 17 April — Admiral Fieldhouse, C-in-C Fleet and Major General Moore, Land Forces Commander, fly to Ascension to meet Woodward, Thompson and Clapp aboard Hermes.

Sunday, 18 April — Carrier Battle Group leaves Ascension: Hermes, Invincible, Glamorgan, Broadsword, Yarmouth, Alacrity and RFA Olmeda and Resource.

Tuesday, 20 April — Canberra and Elk arrive at Ascension Royal Marines captured at South Georgia arrive in the UK.

Wednesday, 21 April — SBS and SAS teams inserted by helicopter on to South Georgia.

Thursday, 22 April — SAS team rescued from Fortuna Glacier two Wessex crash.

Friday, 23 April — M Coy 42 Commando lands on South Georgia.

Sunday, 25 April — Intrepid, Atlantic Conveyor, and Europic Ferry depart from the UK Carrier Battle Group joins with Sheffield group.

Monday, 26 April — Argentine forces on South Georgia surrender.

Tuesday, 27 April — Cabinet in London gives approval for Operation Sutton Norland and Sir Bedivere depart from the UK.

Wednesday, 28 April — UK declares 200-mile Total Exclusion Zone, now including aircraft and ships of all nations hospital ship Uganda arrives at Ascension.

Thursday, 29 April — Uganda departs from Ascension.

Friday, 30 April — UK begins enforcing the Total Exclusion Zone main Task Group arrives in TEZ.

Saturday, 1 May — Vulcan bomber attacks Stanley airport Sea Harriers also conduct attacks naval bombardments commence of the same area SAS and SBS patrol inserted on East and West Falklands UK government requisitions RMS Queen Elizabeth II.

Sunday, 2 May — Conqueror sinks the cruiser General Belgrano.

Tuesday, 4 May — Black Bluck 2 raid against Stanley airport Sheffield struck by Exocet missile Sea Harrier shot down over Goose Green.

Wednesday, 5 May — Eight RAF Harriers arrive at Ascension.

Thursday, 6 May — Argonaut group leaves Ascension 2 Para arrives at Ascension.

Friday, 7 May — Norland arrives at Ascension most of Amphibious Group departs.

Saturday, 8 May — First of refuelled air drops flown to the Task Force.

Monday, 10 May — Sheffield, heavily damaged six days previously, sinks while under tow Bristol group leaves UK Nimrods begin work in support of the Task Force.

Wednesday, 12 May — Queen Elizabeth II departs from Southampton with most of 5 Infantry Brigade aboard Glasgow damaged by Argentine aircraft Cardiff leaves Gibraltar 3 Commando Brigade HQ issues Operational Order for the landings in San Carlos Water.

Friday, 14–Saturday 15 May — SAS raid against airstrip at Pebble Island.

Wednesday, 19 May — Cabinet gives approval for amphibious landings Sea King carrying SAS crashes into the sea during cross-decking.

Thursday, 20 May — Sea King lands in Chile crew turn themselves in to authorities and are repatriated.

Friday, 21 May — 3 Commando Brigade executes landings in San Carlos Water Ardent sunk.

Saturday, 22 May — 3 Commando Brigade all ashore Brigade Maintenance Area established at Ajax Bay.

Sunday, 23 May — Antelope sunk.

Monday, 24 May — Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram are bombed in San Carlos Water, but the bombs fail to explode in all cases.

Tuesday, 25 May — Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor hit by Exocet missiles, the former sinking.

Wednesday, 26 May — 2 Para leaves Sussex Mountain for advance on Goose Green.

Thursday, 27 May — 3 Para and 45 Cdo tab and yomp, respectively, from San Carlos Water SAS patrol flies to Mount Kent Queen Elizabeth II, Canberra and Norland rendezvous at South Georgia 5 Infantry Brigade begins cross-decking on to troopships.

Friday, 28 May — 2 Para engages Argentine defenders at Darwin and Goose Green.

Saturday, 29 May — Major Keeble accepts Argentine surrender of 1,100 troops at Goose Green Atlantic Conveyor sinks under tow.

Sunday, 30 May — Moore arrives off the Falklands.

Monday, 31 May — 42 Commando move by air to Mount Kent Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre defeat Argentine troops at Top Malo House 3 Para arrives at Douglas settlement 45 Commando arrives at Teal Inlet settlement.

Tuesday, 1 June — Black Buck 5 raid strikes radar position in Stanley 5 Infantry Brigade begin disembarking in San Carlos Water 3 Commando Brigade forward base established at Teal Inlet in preparation for major engagements, 3 Para and 42 and 45 Commandos begin patrolling areas in vicinity of planned objectives.

Wednesday, 2 June — 2 Para fly to Bluff Cove.

Thursday, 3 June — Black Buck 6 raid conducted against runway at Stanley.

Saturday, 5 June — Scots Guards embark in Sir Tristram for Bluff Cove.

Sunday, 6 June — Welsh Guards embark in Fearless for Fitzroy but the ship is ordered not to sail Scots Guards land at Bluff Cove 5 Infantry Brigade establishes forward base there.

Tuesday, 8 June — Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram hit by bombs in Port Pleasant LCU Foxtrot Four sunk by Argentine aircraft in Choiseul Sound Plymouth damaged by unexploded bomb Moore explains plans for offensive against Stanley.

Friday, 11 June — Major assaults on the outer ring of Argentine defences around Stanley: 42 Cdo at Mount Harriet, 3 Para at Mount Longdon, and 45 Cdo at Two Sisters.

Saturday, 12 June — By sunrise all attacks have succeeded Glamorgan struck by land-based Exocet missile Black Buck 7 Raid conducted against radar installation at Stanley.

Sunday, 13 June — 2 Para attack Wireless Ridge Scots Guards attack Mount Tumbledown 1/7 Gurkhas occupy Mount William.

Monday, 14 June — By early morning all assaults successful Argentine forces surrender.

Extracted from A Companion to the Falklands War by Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Margaret Thatcher&aposs &aposIron Lady&apos Moniker Sticks

Her quick response to the South Atlantic conflict and swift victory led to a surge in her popularity and subsequent reelection in 1983. She would go on to serve until 1990, making her Britain’s longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century.

“She was decisive, determined, effective,” says historian Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation. “There was never the slightest note of doubt in her public responses, and she was pretty clear privately too. We would get the islands back. I don&apost think any other British leader at that time would have handled things quite as clearly.”

Above all, Collins adds, the events of the war vindicated her. “If the war had been lost, or there had been some messy or ambiguous outcome, it would have destroyed her,” he says. 𠇋ut a swift decisive victory was essential, really, from her point of view.”

The triumph also proved Thatcher’s “Iron Lady” moniker was deserved.

�ore the Falklands it was a bit of a joke, that phrase,” he says. �terwards it meant something quite real. She was seen as enormously tough and resourceful, someone you would not take on if you were wise.”

And, Bailey notes, Thatcher was the first woman to lead the country into battle since Elizabeth I.

Margaret Thatcher at the਋lue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos in 1992, remembering the servicemen who lost their lives on the grounds where the Falklands invasion started.

David Giles/PA Images/Getty Images

“I’m sure she liked this fact,” he says. “It was rare in the modern day for politicians to have an international conflict to handle—the last one for England had been Suez in 1956. It gave Thatcher an international stage to perform upon. … In a way, it elevated her from being a national politician to being an international stateswoman. As the first female prime minister of Britain, her success probably helped to make the idea of a female leader more acceptable.”

The public, Bailey says, felt Thatcher had “restored the ‘Great’ in Great Britain she had elevated the confidence of the nation. We could still sail halfway round the world and succeed militarily.”

But it wasn’t just the public who recognized the change in Thatcher’s leadership, according to Collins.

“She genuinely gained enormously in confidence and stature," he says, "and it stayed with her."


When the world sea level was lower in the Ice Age, the Falkland Islands may have been joined to the mainland of South America.

While Amerindians from Patagonia could have visited the Falklands, [1] [2] the islands were uninhabited when discovered by Europeans. Recent discoveries of arrowheads in Lafonia (on the southern half of East Falkland) as well as the remains of a wooden canoe provide evidence that the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego may have made the journey to the islands. It is not known if these are evidence of one-way journeys, but there is no known evidence of pre-Columbian buildings or structures. However, it is not certain that the discovery predates arrival of Europeans. A Patagonian Missionary Society mission station was founded on Keppel Island (off the west coast of West Falkland) in 1856. Yahgan Indians were at this station from 1856 to 1898 so this may be the source of the artifacts that have been found.

The presence of the warrah, Dusicyon australis, has often been cited as evidence of pre-European occupation of the islands. However, in 2009, this hypothesis was disproved when DNA analysis identified the Falkland Island wolf's closest living relative as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) – an unusually long-legged, fox-like South American canid, from which it separated about 6.7 million years ago. [3] It would seem that the lineages of the maned wolf and the Falkland Islands wolf separated in North America canids did not appear in South America until roughly 3 million years ago in a paleozoogeographical event called the Great American Biotic Interchange, in which the continents of North and South America were newly connected by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. This means it is likely that the warrah arrived in the islands long before humans.

The islands had no native trees when discovered but there is some ambiguous evidence of past forestation, that may be due to wood being transported by oceanic currents from Patagonia. All modern trees have been introduced by Europeans.

An archipelago in the region of the Falkland Islands appeared on Portuguese maps from the early 16th century. Researchers Pepper and Pascoe cite the possibility that an unknown Portuguese expedition may have sighted the islands, based on the existence of a French copy of a Portuguese map from 1516. [4] Maps from this period show islands known as the Sanson islands in a position that could be interpreted as the Falklands.

Sightings of the islands are attributed to Ferdinand Magellan or Estêvão Gomes of San Antonio, one of the captains in the expedition, as the Falklands fit the description of those visited to gather supplies. The account given by Pigafetta the Chronicler of Magellan's voyage contradicts attribution to either Gomes or Magellan, since it describes the position of islands close to the Patagonia coast, with the expedition following the mainland coast and the islands visited between a latitude of 49° and 51°S and also refers to meeting "giants" (described as Sansón or Samsons in the chronicle) who are believed to be the Tehuelche Indians. [5] Although acknowledging that Pigafetta's account casts doubt upon the claim, the Argentine historian Laurio H. Destefani asserts it probable that a ship from the Magellan expedition discovered the islands citing the difficulty in measuring longitude accurately, [6] which means that islands described as close to the coast could be further away. Destefani dismisses attribution to Gomes since the course taken by him on his return would not have taken the ships near the Falklands.

Destefani also attributes an early visit to the Falklands by an unknown Spanish ship, although Destefani's firm conclusions are contradicted by authors who conclude the sightings refer to the Beagle Channel. [7]

When English explorer John Davis, commander of Desire, one of the ships belonging to Thomas Cavendish's second expedition to the New World, separated from Cavendish off the coast of what is now southern Argentina, he decided to make for the Strait of Magellan in order to find Cavendish. On 9 August 1592 a severe storm battered his ship, and Davis drifted under bare masts, taking refuge "among certain Isles never before discovered". Davis did not provide the latitude of these islands, indicating they were 50 leagues (240 km) away from the Patagonian coast (they are actually 75 leagues, 360 km away). [8] Navigational errors due to the longitude problem were a common problem until the late 18th century, when accurate marine chronometers became readily available, [9] [10] although Destefani asserts the error here to be "unusually large".

In 1594, they may have been visited by English commander Richard Hawkins with his ship the Dainty, who, combining his own name with that of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen", gave a group of islands the name of "Hawkins' Maidenland". However, the latitude given was off by at least 3 degrees and the description of the shore (including the sighting of bonfires) casts doubts on his discovery. [11] Errors in the latitude measured can be attributed to a simple mistake reading a cross staff divided into minutes meaning the latitude measured could be 50° 48'. [5] The description of bonfires can also be attributed to peat fires caused by lightning, which is not uncommon in the outer islands of the Falklands in February. [5] In 1925, Conor O'Brian analysed the voyage of Hawkins and concluded that the only land he could have sighted was Steeple Jason Island. [5] The British historian Mary Cawkell also points out that criticism of the account of Hawkins discovery should be tempered by the fact it was written nine years after the event Hawkins was captured by the Spanish and spent eight years in prison. [12]

On 24 January 1600, the Dutchman Sebald de Weert visited the Jason Islands and called them the Sebald Islands (in Spanish, "Islas Sebaldinas" or "Sebaldes"). This name remained in use for the entire Falkland Islands for a long time William Dampier used the name Sibbel de Wards in his reports of his visits in 1684 and 1703, [13] while James Cook still referred to the Sebaldine Islands in the 1770s. [14] The latitude that De Weert provided (50° 40') was close enough as to be considered, for the first time beyond doubt, the Falkland Islands. [15]

English Captain John Strong, commander of Welfare, sailed between the two principal islands in 1690 and called the passage "Falkland Channel" (now Falkland Sound), after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount Falkland (1656–1694), who as Commissioner of the Admiralty had financed the expedition and later became First Lord of the Admiralty. From this body of water the island group later took its collective name.

France established a colony at Port St. Louis, on East Falkland's Berkeley Sound coast in 1764. The French name Îles Malouines was given to the islands – malouin being the adjective for the Breton port of Saint-Malo. The Spanish name Islas Malvinas is a translation of the French name of Îles Malouines.

In 1765, Captain John Byron, who was unaware the French had established Port Saint Louis on East Falkland, explored Saunders Island around West Falkland. After discovering a natural harbour, he named the area Port Egmont and claimed the islands for Britain on the grounds of prior discovery. The next year Captain John MacBride established a permanent British settlement at Port Egmont.

Under the alliance established by the Pacte de Famille, in 1766 France agreed to leave after the Spanish complained about French presence in territories they considered their own. Spain agreed to compensate Louis de Bougainville, the French admiral and explorer who had established the settlement on East Falkland at his own expense. In 1767, the Spanish formally assumed control of Port St. Louis and renamed it Puerto Soledad (English: Port Solitude).

In early 1770 Spanish commander, Don Juan Ignacio de Madariaga, briefly visited Port Egmont. On 10 June he returned from Argentina with five armed ships and 1400 soldiers forcing the British to leave Port Egmont. This action sparked the Falkland Crisis between 10 July 1770 to 22 January 1771 when Britain and Spain almost went to war over the islands. However, conflict was averted when the colony was re-established by Captain John Stott with the ships HMS Juno, HMS Hound and HMS Florida (a mail ship which had already been at the founding of the original settlement). Egmont quickly became an important port-of-call for British ships sailing around Cape Horn.

With the growing economic pressures stemming from the upcoming American War of Independence, the British government decided that it should withdraw its presence from many overseas settlements in 1774. On 20 May 1776 the British forces under the command of Royal Naval Lieutenant Clayton formally left Port Egmont, while leaving a plaque asserting Britain's continuing sovereignty over the islands. [16] For the next four years, British sealers used Egmont as a base for their activities in the South Atlantic. This ended in 1780 when they were forced to leave by Spanish authorities who then ordered that the British colony be destroyed.

Spain, which had a garrison at Puerto Soledad on East Falkland, which was administered from Montevideo until 1811 when it withdrew due to the military pressures created by the Peninsular War in Spain and the growing calls for independence by its colonies in South America. On departure, the Spanish also left a plaque proclaiming Spain's sovereignty over the islands as the British had done 35 years before.

Following the departure of the Spanish settlers, the Falkland Islands became the domain of whalers and sealers who used the islands to shelter from the worst of the South Atlantic weather. By merit of their location, the Falkland Islands have often been the last refuge for ships damaged at sea. Most numerous among those using the islands were British and American sealers, where typically between 40 and 50 ships were engaged in exploiting fur seals. This represents an itinerant population of up to 1,000 sailors.

Isabella Edit

On 8 February 1813 Isabella, a British ship of 193 tons en route from Sydney to London, ran aground off the coast of Speedwell Island, then known as Eagle Island. Among the ship's 54 passengers and crew, all of whom survived the wreck, was the United Irish general and exile Joseph Holt, who subsequently detailed the ordeal in his memoirs. [17] Also aboard had been the heavily pregnant Joanna Durie, who on 21 February 1813 gave birth to Elizabeth Providence Durie.

The next day, 22 February 1813, six men who had volunteered to seek help from any nearby Spanish outposts that they could find set out in one of the Isabella's longboats. Braving the South Atlantic in a boat little more than 17 feet (5.2 m) long, they made landfall on the mainland at the River Plate just over a month later. The British gun brig HMS Nancy under the command of Lieutenant William D'Aranda was sent to rescue the survivors.

On 5 April Captain Charles Barnard of the American sealer Nanina was sailing off the shore of Speedwell Island, with a discovery boat deployed looking for seals. Having seen smoke and heard gunshots the previous day, he was alert to the possibility of survivors of a ship wreck. This suspicion was heightened when the crew of the boat came aboard and informed Barnard that they had come across a new moccasin as well as the partially butchered remains of a seal. At dinner that evening, the crew observed a man approaching the ship who was shortly joined by eight to ten others. Both Barnard and the survivors from Isabella had harboured concerns the other party was Spanish and were relieved to discover their respective nationalities.

Barnard dined with the Isabella survivors that evening and finding that the British party were unaware of the War of 1812 informed the survivors that technically they were at war with each other. Nevertheless, Barnard promised to rescue the British party and set about preparations for the voyage to the River Plate. Realising that they had insufficient stores for the voyage he set about hunting wild pigs and otherwise acquiring additional food. While Barnard was gathering supplies, however, the British took the opportunity to seize Nanina and departed leaving Barnard, along with one member of his own crew and three from Isabella, marooned. Shortly thereafter, Nancy arrived from the River Plate and encountered Nanina, whereupon Lieutenant D'Aranda rescued the erstwhile survivors of Isabella and took Nanina itself as a prize of war.

Barnard and his party survived for eighteen months marooned on the islands until the British whalers Indispensable and Asp rescued them in November 1814. The British admiral in Rio de Janeiro had requested their masters to divert to the area to search for the American crew. In 1829, Barnard published an account of his survival entitled A Narrative of the Sufferings and Adventures of Capt Charles H. Barnard. [18]

In March 1820, Heroína, a privately owned frigate that was operated as a privateer under a license issued by the United Provinces of the River Plate, under the command of American Colonel David Jewett, set sail looking to capture Spanish ships as prizes. He captured Carlota, a Portuguese ship, which was considered an act of piracy. A storm resulted in severe damage to Heroína and sank the prize Carlota, forcing Jewett to put into Puerto Soledad for repairs in October 1820.

Captain Jewett sought assistance from the British explorer James Weddell. Weddell reported the letter he received from Jewett as: [19]

Sir, I have the honor of informing you that I have arrived in this port with a commission from the Supreme Government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata to take possession of these islands on behalf of the country to which they belong by Natural Law. While carrying out this mission I want to do so with all the courtesy and respect all friendly nations one of the objectives of my mission is to prevent the destruction of resources necessary for all ships passing by and forced to cast anchor here, as well as to help them to obtain the necessary supplies, with minimum expenses and inconvenience. Since your presence here is not in competition with these purposes and in the belief that a personal meeting will be fruitful for both of us, I invite you to come aboard, where you'll be welcomed to stay as long as you wish I would also greatly appreciate your extending this invitation to any other British subject found in the vicinity I am, respectfully yours. Signed, Jewett, Colonel of the Navy of the United Provinces of South America and commander of the frigate Heroína.

Many modern authors report this letter as representing the declaration issued by Jewett. [20]

Jewett's ship received Weddell's assistance in obtaining anchorage off Port Louis. Weddell reported only 30 seamen and 40 soldiers fit for duty out of a crew of 200, and how Jewett slept with pistols over his head following the mutiny. On 6 November 1820, Jewett raised the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate (a predecessor of modern-day Argentina) and claimed possession of the islands. In the words of Weddell, "In a few days, he took formal possession of these islands for the patriot government of Buenos Ayres, read a declaration under their colours, planted on a port in ruins, and fired a salute of twenty-one guns." [21]

Jewett departed from the Falkland Islands in April 1821. In total he had spent no more than six months on the island, entirely at Port Luis. In 1822, Jewett was accused of piracy by a Portuguese court, but by that time he was in Brazil.

Luis Vernet's enterprise Edit

In 1823, the United Provinces of the River Plate granted fishing rights to Jorge Pacheco and Luis Vernet. Travelling to the islands in 1824, the first expedition failed almost as soon as it landed, and Pacheco chose not to continue with the venture. Vernet persisted, but the second attempt, delayed until winter 1826 by a Brazilian blockade, was also unsuccessful. The expedition intended to exploit the feral cattle on the islands but the boggy conditions meant the gauchos could not catch cattle in their traditional way. Vernet was by now aware of conflicting British claims to the islands and sought permission from the British consulate before departing for the islands.

In 1828, the United Provinces government granted Vernet all of East Falkland including all its resources, and exempted him from taxation if a colony could be established within three years. He took settlers, including British Captain Matthew Brisbane (who had sailed to the islands earlier with Weddell), and before leaving once again sought permission from the British Consulate in Buenos Aires. The British asked for a report for the British government on the islands, and Vernet asked for British protection should they return. [22]

On 10 June 1829, Vernet was designated as 'civil and military commandant' of the islands (no governor was ever appointed) and granted a monopoly on seal hunting rights. A protest was lodged by the British Consulate in Buenos Aires. By 1831, the colony was successful enough to be advertising for new colonists, although USS Lexington's report suggests that the conditions on the islands were quite miserable. [23] Charles Darwin's visit in 1833 confirmed the squalid conditions in the settlement, although Captain Matthew Brisbane (Vernet's deputy) later claimed that this was the result of the Lexington raid. [24]

USS Lexington raid Edit

In 1831, Vernet attempted to assert his monopoly on seal hunting rights. This led him to capture the American ships Harriet, Superior and Breakwater. As a reprisal, the United States consul in Buenos Aires sent Captain Silas Duncan of USS Lexington to recover the confiscated property. After finding what he considered proof that at least four American fishing ships had been captured, plundered, and even outfitted for war, Duncan took seven prisoners aboard Lexington and charged them with piracy.

Also taken on board, Duncan reported, "were the whole of the (Falklands') population consisting of about forty persons, with the exception of some 'gauchos', or cowboys who were encamped in the interior." The group, principally German citizens from Buenos Aires, "appeared greatly rejoiced at the opportunity thus presented of removing with their families from a desolate region where the climate is always cold and cheerless and the soil extremely unproductive". However, about 24 people did remain on the island, mainly gauchos and several Charrúa Indians, who continued to trade on Vernet's account.

Measures were taken against the settlement. The log of Lexington reports destruction of arms and a powder store, while settlers remaining later said that there was great damage to private property. [25] Towards the end of his life, Luis Vernet authorised his sons to claim on his behalf for his losses stemming from the raid. In the case lodged against the US Government for compensation, rejected by the US Government of President Cleveland in 1885, Vernet stated that the settlement was destroyed. [26]

Penal colony and mutiny Edit

In the aftermath of the Lexington incident, Major Esteban Mestivier was commissioned by the Buenos Aires government to set up a penal colony. He arrived at his destination on 15 November 1832 but his soldiers mutinied and killed him. The mutiny was suppressed by armed sailors from the French whaler Jean Jacques, whilst Mestivier's widow was taken on board the British sealer Rapid. Sarandí returned on 30 December 1832 and Major José María Pinedo took charge of the settlement. [27]

The Argentinian assertions of sovereignty provided the spur for Britain to send a naval task force in order to finally and permanently return to the islands.

On 3 January 1833, Captain James Onslow, of the brig-sloop HMS Clio, arrived at Vernet's settlement at Port Louis to request that the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate be replaced with the British one, and for the administration to leave the islands. While Major José María Pinedo, commander of the schooner Sarandí, wanted to resist, his numerical disadvantage was obvious, particularly as a large number of his crew were British mercenaries who were unwilling to fight their own countrymen. Such a situation was not unusual in the newly independent states in Latin America, where land forces were strong, but navies were frequently quite undermanned. As such he protested verbally, but departed without a fight on 5 January. Argentina claims that Vernet's colony was also expelled at this time, though sources from the time appear to dispute this, suggesting that the colonists were encouraged to remain initially under the authority of Vernet's storekeeper, William Dickson and later his deputy, Matthew Brisbane. [22]

Initial British plans for the Islands were based upon the continuation of Vernet's settlement at Port Louis. An Argentine immigrant of Irish origin, William Dickson, was appointed as the British representative and provided with a flagpole and flag to be flown whenever ships were in harbour. [22] In March 1833, Vernet's Deputy, Matthew Brisbane returned and presented his papers to Captain Robert FitzRoy of HMS Beagle, which coincidentally happened to be in harbour at the time. Fitzroy encouraged Brisbane to continue with Vernet's enterprise with the proviso that whilst private enterprise was encouraged, Argentine assertions of sovereignty would not be welcome. [24]

Brisbane reasserted his authority over Vernet's settlement and recommenced the practice of paying employees in promissory notes. Due to Vernet's reduced status, the promissory notes were devalued, which meant that the employees received fewer goods at Vernet's stores for their wages. After months of freedom following the Lexington raid this accentuated dissatisfaction with the leadership of the settlement. In August 1833, under the leadership of Antonio Rivero, a gang of Creole and Indian gauchos ran amok in the settlement. Armed with muskets obtained from American sealers, the gang killed five members of Vernet's settlement including both Dickson and Brisbane. Shortly afterward the survivors fled Port Louis, seeking refuge on Turf Island in Berkeley Sound until rescued by the British sealer Hopeful in October 1833. [22]

Lt Henry Smith was installed as the first British resident in January 1834. One of his first actions was to pursue and arrest Rivero's gang for the murders committed the previous August. The gang was sent for trial in London but could not be tried as the Crown Court did not have jurisdiction over the Falkland Islands. In the British colonial system, colonies had their own, distinct governments, finances, and judicial systems. [28] [29] Rivero was not tried and sentenced because the British local government and local judiciary had not yet been installed in 1834 these were created later, by the 1841 British Letters Patent. [20] Subsequently, Rivero has acquired the status of a folk hero in Argentina, where he is portrayed as leading a rebellion against British rule. [20] Ironically it was the actions of Rivero that were responsible for the ultimate demise of Vernet's enterprise on the Falklands.

Charles Darwin revisited the Falklands in 1834 the settlements Darwin and Fitzroy both take their names from this visit.

After the arrest of Rivero, Smith set about restoring the settlement at Port Louis, repairing the damage done by the Lexington raid and renaming it 'Anson's Harbour'. Lt Lowcay succeeded Smith in April 1838, followed by Lt Robinson in September 1839 and Lt Tyssen in December 1839. [22]

Vernet later attempted to return to the Islands but was refused permission to return. The British Crown reneged on promises and refused to recognise rights granted by Captain Onslow at the time of the reoccupation. Eventually, after travelling to London, Vernet received paltry compensation for horses shipped to Port Louis many years before. [22] G.T. Whittington obtained a concession of 6,400 acres (26 km 2 ) from Vernet that he later exploited with the formation of the Falkland Islands Commercial Fishery and Agricultural Association. [30]

Immediately following their return to the Falkland Islands and the failure of Vernet's settlement, the British maintained Port Louis as a military outpost. There was no attempt to colonise the islands following the intervention, instead there was a reliance upon the remaining rump of Vernet's settlement. [31] Lt. Smith received little support from the Royal Navy and the islands developed largely on his initiative but he had to rely on a group of armed gauchos to enforce authority and protect British interests. Smith received advice from Vernet in this regard, and in turn continued to administer Vernet's property and provide him with regular accounts. [31] His superiors later rebuked him for his ideas and actions in promoting the development of the small settlement in Port Louis. In frustration, Smith resigned but his successors Lt. Lowcay and Lt. Tyssen did not continue with the initiatives Smith had pursued and the settlement began to stagnate. [32]

In 1836, East Falkland was surveyed by Admiral George Grey, and further in 1837 by Lowcay. Admiral George Grey, conducting the geographic survey in November 1836 had the following to say about their first view of East Falkland:

We anchored a little after sunset off a creek called 'Johnson's Harbour'. The day having been cloudy with occasional showers, these islands at all times dreary enough, looked particularly so on our first view of them, the shores of sound, steep, with bare hills intersected with ravines rising from them, these hills without a tree and the clouds hanging low, gave them exactly the appearance of the Cheviots or a Scotch moor on a winter's day and considering we were in the May of these latitudes, the first impression of the climate was not favourable, the weather however, was not called, the thermometer was 63 °F (17 °C) [17 °C] which is Howick mid-summer temperature.

Pressure to develop the islands as a colony began to build as the result of a campaign mounted by British merchant G. T. Whittington. Whittington formed the Falkland Islands Commercial Fishery and Agricultural Association and (based on information indirectly obtained from Vernet) published a pamphlet entitled "The Falkland Islands". Later a petition signed by London merchants was presented to the British Government demanding the convening of a public meeting to discuss the future development of the Falkland Islands. Whittington petitioned the Colonial Secretary, Lord Russell, proposing that his association be allowed to colonise the islands. In May 1840, the British Government made the decision to colonise the Falkland Islands.

Unaware of the decision by the British Government to colonise the islands, Whittington grew impatient and decided to take action of his own initiative. [ when? ] Obtaining two ships, he sent his brother, J. B. Whittington, on a mission to land stores and settlers at Port Louis. On arrival he presented his claim to land that his brother had bought from Vernet. [30] Lt. Tyssen was taken aback by Whittington's arrival, indicating that he had no authority to allow this however, he was unable to prevent the party from landing. Whittington constructed a large house for his party, and using a salting house built by Vernet established a fish-salting business. [33]

Establishment of Port Stanley Edit

In 1833 the United Kingdom asserted authority over the Falkland Islands and Richard Clement Moody, a highly esteemed Royal Engineer, was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of the islands. This post was renamed Governor of the Falkland Islands in 1843, when he also became Commander-in-Chief of the Falkland Islands. Moody left England for Falkland on 1 October 1841 aboard the ship Hebe and arrived in Anson's Harbour later that month. He was accompanied by twelve sappers and miners and their families together with Whittington's colonists this brought the population of Anson's Harbour to approximately 50. When Moody arrived, the Falklands was 'almost in a state of anarchy', but he used his powers 'with great wisdom and moderation' [34] to develop the Islands' infrastructure and, commanding detachment of sappers, erected government offices, a school and barracks, residences, ports, and a new road system.

In 1842, Moody was instructed by Lord Stanley the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies to report on the potential of the Port William area as the site of the new capital. Moody assigned the task of surveying the area to Captain Ross, leader of the Antarctic Expedition. Captain Ross delivered his report in 1843, concluding that Port William afforded a good deep-water anchorage for naval vessels, and that the southern shores of Port Jackson was a suitable location for the proposed settlement. Moody accepted the recommendation of Ross and construction of the new settlement started in July 1843. Inn July 1845, at Moody's suggestion, the new capital of the islands was officially named Port Stanley after Lord Stanley. Not everyone was enthused with the selection of the location of the new capital, J. B. Whittington famously remarked that "Of all the miserable bog holes, I believe that Mr Moody has selected one of the worst for the site of his town."

The structure of the Colonial Government was established in 1845 with the formation of the Legislative Council and Executive Council and work on the construction of Government House commenced. The following year, the first officers appointed to the Colonial Government took their posts by this time a number of residences, a large storage shed, carpenter's shop and blacksmith's shop had been completed and the Government Dockyard laid out. In 1845 Moody introduced tussock grass into Great Britain from Falkland, for which he received the gold medal of the Royal Agricultural Society. [35] The Coat of arms of the Falkland Islands notably includes an image of tussock grass. [36] Moody returned to England in February 1849. [35] Moody Brook is named after him. [35]

With the establishment of the deep-water anchorage and improvements in port facilities, Stanley saw a dramatic increase in the number of visiting ships in the 1840s in part due to the California Gold Rush. A boom in ship provisioning and ship-repair resulted, aided by the notoriously bad weather in the South Atlantic and around Cape Horn. Stanley and the Falkland Islands are famous as the repository of many wrecks of 19th-century ships that reached the islands only to be condemned as unseaworthy and were often employed as floating warehouses by local merchants.

At one point in the 19th century, Stanley became one of the world's busiest ports. However, the ship-repair trade began to slacken off in 1876 with the establishment of the Plimsoll line, which saw the elimination of the so-called coffin ships and unseaworthy vessels that might otherwise have ended up in Stanley for repair. With the introduction of increasingly reliable iron steamships in the 1890s the trade declined further and was no longer viable following the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Port Stanley continued to be a busy port supporting whaling and sealing activities in the early part of the 20th century, British warships (and garrisons) in the First and Second World War and the fishing and cruise ship industries in the latter half of the century.

Government House opened as the offices of the Lieutenant Governor in 1847. Government House continued to develop with various additions, formally becoming the Governor's residence in 1859 when Governor Moore took residence. Government House remains the residence of the Governor.

Many of the colonists begin to move from Ansons' Harbour to Port Stanley. As the new town expanded, the population grew rapidly, reaching 200 by 1849. The population was further expanded by the arrival of 30 married Chelsea Pensioners and their families. The Chelsea Pensioners were to form the permanent garrison and police force, taking over from the Royal Sappers and Miners Regiment which had garrisoned the early colony.

The Exchange Building opened in 1854 part of the building was later used as a church. 1854 also saw the establishment of Marmont Row, including the Eagle Inn, now known as the Upland Goose Hotel. In 1887, Jubilee Villas were built to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Jubilee Villas are a row of brick built houses that follow a traditional British pattern positioned on Ross road near the waterfront, they became an iconic image during the Falklands War.

Peat is common on the islands and has traditionally been exploited as a fuel. Uncontrolled exploitation of this natural resource led to peat slips in 1878 and 1886. The 1878 peat slip resulted in the destruction of several houses, whilst the 1886 peat slip resulted in the deaths of two women and the destruction of the Exchange Building.

Christ Church Cathedral was consecrated in 1892 and completed in 1903. It received its famous whalebone arch, constructed from the jaws of two blue whales, in 1933 to commemorate the centenary of continuous British administration. Also consecrated in 1892 was the Tabernacle United Free Church, constructed from an imported timber kit.

Development of agriculture and the Camp Edit

A few years after the British had established themselves in the islands, a number of new British settlements were started. Initially many of these settlements were established in order to exploit the feral cattle on the islands. Following the introduction of the Cheviot breed of sheep to the islands in 1852, sheep farming became the dominant form of agriculture on the Islands.

Salvador Settlement was one of the earliest, being started in the 1830s, by a Gibraltarian immigrant (hence its other name of "Gibraltar Settlement"), and it is still run by his descendants, the Pitalugas.

Vernet furnished Samuel Fisher Lafone, a British merchant operating from Montevideo, with details of the Falkland Islands including a map. Sensing that the exploitation of feral cattle on the islands would be a lucrative venture, in 1846 he negotiated a contract with the British Government that gave him exclusive rights to this resource. Until 1846 Moody had allotted feral cattle to new settlers and the new agreement not only prevented this but made Stanley dependent upon Lafone for supplies of beef.

Cattle were concentrated in the southern part of East Falkland, an area that became known as Lafonia. Lafone was an absentee landlord and never actually set foot on the islands. His activities were not monitored by the British and rather than introducing more British settlers as he promised, he brought large numbers of Spanish and Indian gauchos to hunt cattle. In 1846, they established Hope Place on the south shores of Brenton Loch and in 1849 a sod wall (the Boca wall) was built across the isthmus at Darwin to control the movement of cattle.

Lafone continued to develop his business interests and in 1849 looked to establish a joint stock company with his London creditors. The company was launched as The Royal Falkland Land, Cattle, Seal and Fishery Company in 1850 but soon thereafter was incorporated under Royal Charter as The Falkland Islands Company Limited. Lafone became a director and his brother-in-law J.P. Dale the company's first manager in the islands. By 1852, the feral cattle had been hunted virtually to extinction by gauchos and the company switched to sheep farming with the introduction of the Cheviot breed of sheep. Hope Place proved to be an unsuitable location and the operation moved to Darwin. In 1860, the Lafone Beef contract was terminated but the Falkland Islands Company was given a grant to Lafonia. Ownership of the remaining cattle outside of Lafonia reverted to the Crown and hunting cattle without permission was banned.

In the second half of the 19th century, Darwin, Goose Green, Fox Bay and Port Howard were established. Port Howard was founded by James Lovegrove Waldron, and his brother in 1866 the Waldron brothers later left for Patagonia, but left the farm under local management. [37]

Darwin was initially the haunt of gauchos and cattle farmers, but sheep farming came to dominate the area, and Scottish shepherds were brought in. A few years later, the first large tallow works in the islands (though not the first) was set up by the FIC in 1874. It handled 15,891 sheep in 1880. [38]

From the 1880s, until 1972, Darwin and Fox Bay had their own separate medical officers. Nowadays, most medical care is based in Stanley. [38]

Exploitation of maritime resources Edit

The Falkland Islands were used as a base for whaling ships hunting the southern right whale and sperm whale from the 1770s until British authority was established over the islands and surrounding seas. Whaling was briefly revived with the establishment of a whaling station on New Island from 1909 to 1917 until whaling operations moved to South Georgia.

Fur seals had long been exploited for their pelts but numbers entered a drastic decline in the early 19th century. As a result, seal hunting died off, although continuing at a low level. In order to conserve stocks, a ban on the hunting of fur seals during summers months was enacted in 1881, but it was not until 1921 that hunting was banned entirely.

Elephant seals were exploited for oil but like the fur seals their numbers declined drastically in the mid-1850s. Sealers instead turned their attention to the South American sea lion resulting in a dramatic decline in their numbers that made sealing uneconomic. Attempts to revive the trade, including a sealing station at Port Albermarle, were unsuccessful.

Even penguins were exploited for oil. Rockhopper and gentoo penguins were rendered down in trypots from 1860 until the 1880s.

Establishment of communications Edit

Although the first telephone lines were installed by the Falkland Islands Company in the 1880s, the Falkland Islands Government was slow to embrace telephony. It was not until 1897 that a telephone line was installed between Cape Pembroke lighthouse and the police station. The islands isolation was broken in 1911 when Guglielmo Marconi installed a wireless telegraphy station that enabled telegrams to be sent to mainland Uruguay. [39]

A line was laid between Darwin and Stanley, with the ship Consort landing poles on the coast. Construction commenced in 1906 and was finished in 1907 (a length of nearly 50 miles or 80 kilometres). The line was initially only for business but the public could make calls occasionally. [38] Lines continued to be laid to most of the major settlements in the islands, with the Falkland Islands police responsible for their maintenance till 1927. Communications among the settlements relied on the telephone network until radio telephones were introduced in the 1950s, although the telephone network continued until 1982. [39] Telecommunications improved dramatically after the Falklands War, when an earth station was installed to allow direct dialling for the first time. In 1997, an Internet service was launched and by 2002 nearly 90% of Falkland homes had Internet access. [39]

Economic development Edit

A canning factory was opened in 1911 at Goose Green and was initially extremely successful. It absorbed a large proportion of surplus sheep but during the postwar slump it suffered a serious loss and closed in 1921. [38]

Despite this setback, a mere year later, the settlement grew after it became the base for the Falkland Islands Company's sheep farm in Lafonia in 1922, with improved sheep handling and wool shed being built. [38] In 1927, the settlement's huge sheep shearing shed was built, which is claimed to be the world's largest, with a capacity of five thousand sheep. [37] In 1979, 100,598 sheep were shorn at Goose Green. [38]

The mid-20th century saw a number of abortive attempts to diversify the islands' economy away from large scale sheep ranching.

In the period just after the Second World War, Port Albemarle, in the south west of West Falkland, was enlarged by the Colonial Development Company and included its own power station, jetty, Nissen huts etc. this was an attempt to revive the old sealing industry which had flourished during the 19th century. However, the project proved to be nonviable, not least because seal numbers had declined massively.

Similarly, Ajax Bay on Falkland Sound, was developed by the Colonial Development Corporation in the 1950s, which was also responsible for developing Port Albemarle. It was mainly a refrigeration plant, and was supposed to freeze Falkland mutton, but this was found to be economically nonviable, despite the huge expense incurred. Many of the pre-fabricated houses here were moved to Stanley. The site later became a British field hospital during the landings of Operation Sutton.

The seas around the Falkland Islands were not well policed prior to the Falklands War, and many foreign boats fished off the islands, despite protests that potential revenue was being lost. Fishing licences were only later to be introduced.

Education Edit

In 1956, J. L. Waldron Ltd built a school at Port Howard, possibly inspired by the "gift" of the FIC at Darwin, a few years earlier. [38]

Up until the 1970s, Goose Green was the site of a boarding school, run by the state. "Camp" children boarded here, and there were 40 spaces. The boarding school was later transferred to Stanley, although the recent emphasis has been on locally based education. The school itself became an Argentine HQ, and was burnt down. A new (day) school has been built for local children. [37]

First World War Edit

Port Stanley became an important coaling station for the Royal Navy. This led to ships based there being involved in major naval engagements in both the First and Second World Wars.

The strategic significance of the Falkland Islands was confirmed by the second major naval engagement of the First World War. Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee's German East Asia Squadron called at the islands on its trip from the Pacific Ocean back to Germany, intending to destroy the Royal Navy radio relay station and coaling depot there. Unknown to von Spee, a British squadron, including two battlecruisers considerably more powerful than his forces, had been sent to hunt down his squadron and happened to be in the harbour coaling. In the one-sided battle which followed, most of von Spee's squadron was sunk. Canopus Hill, south of Stanley, is named after HMS Canopus, which had fired the first shot in the battle.

Second World War Edit

The Falkland Islands Defence Force was called out to man gun positions and signalling posts around Stanley as soon as word was received of Britain's declaration of war on 3 September 1939. Mounted patrols were carried out in the Camp, and coast-watching stations were created around the islands to guard against the approach of enemy ships and the landing of enemy forces. The Falkland Islanders experienced much the same kind of war-time privations and restrictions as the British population, including black-outs, travel restrictions, and rationing. [40]

In December 1939, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of the River Plate, County-class heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, which had been self-refitting in the Falkland Islands at the time of the battle, steamed to join HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles at the mouth of the River Plate, trapping the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee. Convinced by British propaganda and false intelligence that a major naval task force awaited his ship and short of ammunition, Captain Langsdorf of Admiral Graf Spee chose instead to scuttle the ship rather than face the Royal Navy. [40]

Operation Tabarin, an expedition to the Antarctic, was mounted from the islands during the war. The purpose of the expedition was to assert Britain's claims on the continent, as well as gather scientific data. Operation Tabarin was later replaced by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, which was later renamed the British Antarctic Survey. [40]

In 1942, in response to the Japanese entry into the war, additional forces were sent to the islands to strengthen their defence against invasion. The largest component of these additional forces was a battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. In 1944, as a result of the reduced threat of invasion from Japan, the West Yorks were replaced by a smaller contingent of the Royal Scots. [40]

Over the whole war more than 150 Falkland Islanders out of a population of only 2,300 volunteered for the British armed forces - 6.5% of the entire population - 24 of whom did not return. In July 1944, all volunteers were given the right to be identified by a "Falkland Islands" shoulder-flash. [40] In addition to these contributions to the British war-effort, the Falkland Islands also donated five Supermarine Spitfires to the British Royal Air Force. [41]

Argentine incursions Edit

With the exception of an attempt by President Juan Perón to buy the Falkland Islands in 1953 which was rejected as inconceivable by the British government, [42] the immediate post-war period was fairly uneventful. However, a series of incidents in the 1960s marked the intensification of Argentine sovereignty claims.

The first of these took place in 1964, when a light plane piloted by Miguel Fitzgerald touched down on the racecourse at Stanley. Leaping from the aircraft, he handed a letter claiming sovereignty to a bemused islander before flying off again. The stunt was timed to coincide with Argentine diplomatic efforts at the UN Decolonisation Committee.

A more serious incident took place on 28 September 1966 when eighteen young Peronists staged a symbolic invasion of the Islands by hijacking an Aerolíneas Argentinas airliner and landing it in Stanley the group called this action Operativo Cóndor. There, they raised seven Argentine flags and took four islanders hostage. The planning had been done during a trip to the islands that one of the leaders, Cristina Verrier, had made as a tourist. Before leaving, twenty plotters had been "locked up" for three days at a training camp on a "spiritual retreat." At one point, two of them left the group. [43] [44] [45] [46]

The airliner left at 12:30 p.m. from Buenos Aires, bound for Río Gallegos with 48 passengers on board, including Argentine Rear Admiral José María Guzmán, who was on his way to Tierra del Fuego, an Argentine territory of which he was governor. Two armed men, Dardo Cabo, 25, and Alejandro Giovenco, entered the flight deck and ordered Commander Ernesto Fernández García to change course toward the Falklands. Two of the men approached Guzmán in the cabin and told him of the hijacking, and one of his aides-de-camp attempted to get his pistol, but he was struck down. [44] [47]

The airplane landed at 8:42 a.m. in Port Stanley, behind the house occupied by Governor Sir Cosmo Dugal Patrick Thomas Haskard, who was away from the island. The pilot attempted to land at the racecourse but the plane hit telegraph poles, and the undercarriage sank into the mud. Islanders, assuming that the plane was in trouble, rushed to assist but found themselves taken hostage by the hijackers [45] (included in the group of four was a young police sergeant, Terry Peck, who became a local hero in the Falklands War). [45] The Argentines exited the airplane by rope and formed themselves in front of the craft in the form of a fan: They hoisted seven Argentine flags. They then sang the Argentine national anthem, attempting at first to turn authority over the island to Guzmán, who refused the offer. [44]

Les Gleadell, acting Governor of the Falkland Islands, ordered that the DC-4 be surrounded. [47] He received three of the invaders, who announced that they had as much right as anyone to be there and in reply were firmly told that they should disarm and give up. The result of this meeting was an agreement that seven men, including Peck and Captain Ian Martin, commanding a four-man Royal Marines detachment, should be exchanged for the hostages aboard the aircraft. The 26 passengers were then allowed to disembark and sent to lodge with local families, as the island had no hotel. On being taken past the governor's residence, Guzmán laughingly commented: "Mi casa" ("my house"). [48]

After a bitterly cold night in the aircraft, which contained only brandy, wine, orange juice and a few biscuits, the kidnappers surrendered. [48] They were kept locked up in an annex to St Mary's Church for a week until they were put aboard an Argentine ship, the Bahía Buen Suceso, which had lingered outside the harbor awaiting conclusion of the affair. The men were tried in Argentina on crimes that included illegal deprivation of freedom, possession of weapons of war, illegal association, piracy, and robbery in the open. The leaders were sentenced to three years in prison and the others to nine months. [44] [45]

On October of the same year a group of Argentine naval special forces conducted covert landings from the submarine ARA Santiago del Estero. The 12-man team, which landed some 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Stanley, was led by Juan José Lombardo who later, as Chief of Naval Operations, planned the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands. [49]

In November 1968, Miguel Fitzgerald was hired by the Argentine press to attempt a reprise of his 1964 landing. Accompanied by one of the 1966 hijackers, he flew to Stanley but on arrival found he could not land at the racecourse due to obstacles placed following the hijacking. The plane was forced to crash land on Eliza Cove Road, but the two occupants were unharmed. The stunt was intended to coincide with the visit of Lord Chalfont to the islands.

The latter incident proved counter-productive to the Argentine sovereignty push, as Lord Chalfont had been talking to a public meeting at the time of the plane's arrival. The islanders made it plain to Lord Chalfont that they rejected a Memorandum of Agreement negotiated between Britain and Argentina that August which stated that Britain was prepared to discuss sovereignty provided the islanders' wishes were respected. This spurred the formation of the Falkland Islands Committee by London barrister Bill Hunter-Christie and others. The Emergency Committee, as it became known, proved to be an effective lobbying organisation, constantly undermining Foreign Office initiatives on sovereignty negotiations. In December 1968, the lobbying effort managed to force the British Government to state that the islanders' wishes would be paramount.

Growing links with Argentina Edit

Partly as the result of diplomatic pressure, economic and political links with Argentina increased in the 1960s and 1970s. These became severed after the end of the Falklands War, but before the war they were not entirely negative, and some islanders sent their children to boarding schools in Argentina.

Realising that any talks on the sovereignty issue would be derailed if it did not meet with the islanders' wishes, the British and Argentine Governments enacted a series of measures designed to encourage dependence on Argentina. In 1971, following secret talks between the two Governments (and without consulting the islanders), the communications agreement was signed. The thrust of the agreement was the establishment of direct air and sea links between the islands and Argentina, together with agreements on postal and telephony services. Following the agreement the subsidised shipping link with Montevideo ended, a passenger and cargo ship service to the mainland (that would ameliorate any dependence on Argentina) was promised by the British but never provided.

Líneas Aéreas del Estado (LADE), the airline operated by the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina or FAA), began an air link to the islands. Initially this service operated amphibious aircraft between Comodoro Rivadavia and Stanley using Grumman HU-16 Albatross aircraft. [50] The inauguration of the service was commemorated by a series of stamps issued by both the Argentine and Falkland Island postal services. In 1972, a temporary airstrip was constructed by Argentina near Stanley. Britain constructed a small permanent airstrip in 1976 suitable only for short haul flights.

As part of the agreement, islanders had to travel via Argentina and were forced to carry Argentine Identity Cards issued in Buenos Aires. The Tarjeta Provisoria or "white card" as they were known were hated by the islanders, who felt they were a de facto Argentine passport, since only islanders were required to use them and not other temporary residents of the islands. Tensions were raised further with the agreement that male Falkland Islanders would not have to undertake conscription into the Argentine Army, since this carried the implication that Falkland Islanders were Argentine citizens.

LADE set up an office in Stanley and mail was routed through Argentina. Medical treatments unavailable in the islands were provided in Argentina and scholarships were made available for study in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and other Argentine cities. Spanish language teachers were provided by Argentina. Foreign Office officials in Stanley were instructed to do everything possible to foster good relations between the Falkland Islands and Argentina.

The islands became more dependent upon Argentina, when the British and Argentine governments agreed that the islands would be supplied with petrol, diesel and oil by YPF, the Argentine national oil and gas company.

Despite these tensions relationships between the islanders and the Argentines operating the new services in the islands were cordial. Although there was apprehension, politics were generally avoided and on a one-to-one basis there was never any real hostility.

On the international level, relations began to sour in 1975 when Argentine delegates at the London meeting of the International Parliamentary Union condemned Britain's "act of international piracy" in establishing a colony in the Falkland Islands. Diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina were broken but resumed in 1976.

In October 1975, the British Government tasked Lord Shackleton (son of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton) with an economic survey of the Falkland Islands. The Argentine Government reacted furiously and refused permission for Lord Shackleton to travel via Argentina. Later the ship transporting Shackleton to the islands, RRS Shackleton, was fired upon by the Argentine destroyer ARA Almirante Storni.

In 1976, after a military junta took control of the country, Argentina covertly established a military base on Southern Thule. It was discovered by the British Antarctic Survey ship RRS Bransfield in 1977. The British protested but restricted their response to a diplomatic protest. Backing up the diplomatic efforts, the British Prime Minister Jim Callaghan sent a naval task force consisting of surface ships and a nuclear submarine. Nevertheless, Argentine aircraft and warships harassed ships fishing in Falkland waters.

Lord Shackleton's report was delivered in 1977 and documented the economic stagnation in the islands. It nevertheless concluded that the islands made a net contribution to the British economy and had economic potential for development. Recommendations included oil exploration, exploitation of the fisheries, extension of the Stanley runway, the creation of a development agency, the expansion of the road network, expansion of the facilities at Stanley harbour and the breakdown of absentee landlord owned farms into family units. The report was largely ignored at the time, as it was felt that acting upon it would sour relations with Argentina. A reprise of the report by Lord Shackleton in 1982 following the Falklands War became the blueprint for subsequent economic development of the islands.

Falklands War Edit

Argentina invaded the islands on 2 April 1982, using special forces, which landed at Mullet Creek and advanced on Government House in Stanley, with a secondary force coming in from Yorke Bay. They encountered little opposition, there being only a small force of fifty-seven British marines and eleven sailors, in addition to the Falkland Islands Defence Force (who were later sent to Fox Bay). There was only one Argentine fatality. The event garnered international attention at a level which the islands had never experienced before, and made them a household name in the UK.

For a brief period, the Falkland Islands found themselves under Argentine control. This included Spanish-language signage, and attempts to make the islanders drive on the right (although few roads in the Falklands at the time actually had two lanes). In many parts of the Camp, such as Goose Green and Pebble Island, the islanders found themselves under house arrest.

The British responded with an expeditionary force that landed seven weeks later and, after fierce fighting, forced the Argentine garrison to surrender on 14 June 1982. The war proved to be an anomaly in a number of different respects, not least that it proved that small arms still had a role to play. It also had major consequences for the military junta, which was toppled soon afterwards.

Margaret Thatcher's general political legacy remains controversial and divisive within the UK and within the context of the Falklands her government's withdrawal of HMS Endurance is a stated contributing factor to the causes of the conflict because it gave the wrong signals about the UK attitude towards maintaining its possession. However, within the Falklands, she is considered a heroine because of the determination of her response to the Argentine invasion. The islanders celebrate Margaret Thatcher Day on 10 January and Thatcher Drive in Stanley is named after her, . [51]

Following the war, Britain focused on improving its facilities on the islands. It increased its military presence significantly, building a large base at RAF Mount Pleasant and its port at Mare Harbour. It also invested heavily in improving facilities in Stanley and transportation and infrastructure around the islands, tarmacking the Stanley–Mount Pleasant road and many roads within Stanley. [52] The population has risen due to the growth of Stanley, but has declined in Camp (the countryside). Since November 2008, a regular ferry service has linked East and West Falkland, carrying cars, passengers and cargo serviced by MV Concordia Bay, a 42.45 m (139 ft 3 in) twin-screw shallow draught landing craft. [53]

A major change to the governance of the Falkland Islands was introduced by the 1985 constitution. The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) became a parliamentary representative dependency, whose members are democratically elected while the governor, as head of government and representative of the Queen, is purely a figurehead without executive powers. Effectively, the Falkland Islands are self-governing, with the exception of foreign policy. (The FIG does represents itself at the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, as the British Government no longer attends.)

Links with Argentina were severed in the post-war period, and laws introduced forbidding Argentine citizens from buying land. An alternative trading partner was found in Chile, with links developing over the years, including flights to Punta Arenas (in the far south of Patagonian Chile, near Tierra del Fuego). In recent years, Argentines have been allowed to visit the islands again, often to visit the military cemeteries where their friends and loved ones are buried.

Land mines were a persistent problem for 38 years following the war. Land mine clearance was completed by November 2020. [54] [55]

In 1983, the UK passed the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act granting full British citizenship to the islanders. High-profile dignitaries visited to show British commitment to the islands, including Margaret Thatcher, the Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra. In 1985, the Falkland Islands Dependency was split into the Falkland Islands proper and a newly separate territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Relations between the UK and Argentina remained hostile after 1982. Although the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the UK and Argentina to return to negotiations over the Islands' future, [56] the UK ruled out further talks over the islands' sovereignty. The UK also maintained the arms embargo against Argentina that they initiated during the war, compelling the Argentine armed forces (a traditional UK buyer) to switch to other markets. Diplomatic relations were restored in 1989.

Relations between the UK and Argentina improved further in the 1990s. In 1998, Argentine President Carlos Menem visited London, where he reaffirmed Argentina claims to the Islands, but stated that only peaceful means would be used for their recovery. In 2001, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Argentina, where he stated his hope that the UK and Argentina could resolve their differences. However, no talks on sovereignty took place during the visit.

Increased British military presence and new bases Edit

After the war, the British still faced potential future aggression, so an aircraft carrier was kept on station guarding the islands with its squadron of Sea Harriers, while the local airfield was prepared for jet aircraft. HMS Hermes took guard duty first, whilst HMS Invincible went north to change a gearbox. Invincible then returned to relieve Hermes, which urgently needed to have its boilers cleaned. Invincible remained until HMS Illustrious was rushed south (being commissioned during the journey). Once the Port Stanley runway was ready for jets, several RAF F-4 Phantoms were stationed there, relieving Illustrious.

The islands lacked barracks for a permanent garrison, so the Ministry of defence chartered two former car ferries as barracks ships: Rangatira from the Union Company of New Zealand and Saint Edmund from Sealink in Britain. [57] Rangatira arrived in Port Stanley on 11 July 1982 and stayed until 26 September 1983. [57]

Later, the British government decided to construct a new RAF base as the centrepiece of plans to strengthen the island defences and deter any further attempts to take the Falklands by force. This was a massive undertaking — including construction of the world's longest corridor, a half-mile linking the barracks, messes, recreation and welfare areas of the base. [58] The base is occasionally referred to by residents as "the Death Star" because of its vast size and sometimes confusing layout.

Mount Pleasant, to the west of Stanley, was chosen as the site for the new base. The airfield was opened by The Duke of York in 1985, and became fully operational in 1986. [59]

Using the IATA airport code MPN, RAF Mount Pleasant also acts as the Falkland Islands' only international airport, in addition to its military role. Flights open to civilian passengers are operated twice-weekly. [60] These flights are currently operated by a civilian airline on behalf of the Royal Air Force, and fly to and from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK with a refuelling stop at RAF Ascension Island in the south-central Atlantic Ocean. Chilean airline LAN Airlines also operate weekly flights from Santiago. [60]

Attempts at diversifying the economy Edit

Before the Falklands War, sheep-farming was the Falkland Islands' only industry. [61] Since the late 1980s, when two species of squid popular with consumers were discovered in substantial numbers near the Falklands, fishing has become the largest part of the economy. [62]

On 14 September 2011, Rockhopper Exploration announced plans under way for oil production to commence in 2016, through the use of Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) technology, replicating the methodology used on the Foinaven field off the Shetland Islands. [63] The production site will require approximately 110 people working offshore and another 40 working onshore. [64] The oil is expected to trade at 90 - 105% of the Brent crude price. [65]

Some small businesses attempted at Fox Bay have included a market garden, a salmon farm and a knitting mill with "Warrah Knitwear".

Tourism is the second-largest part of the economy. [62] The war brought the islands newfound fame now tourists come both to see wildlife and go on war tours. Cruise ships often visit, frequently as a tie-in to Antarctica. [61] Nonetheless, the remoteness of the archipelago, and the lack of direct flights to major cities, make the Falklands an expensive destination.

Conservation Edit

In line with increasing global interest in environmental issues, some nature reserves have been established around the islands, although there are no national parks. In 1990, the Clifton family who owned Sea Lion Island sold it to the Falkland Island Development Company. They had planted 60,000 stands of tussac grass, [37] considered important because on the main islands much tussac has been depredated by grazing. A similar trend may be seen on Bleaker Island, where the farm "went organic" in 1999. [ citation needed ] Also in the 1990s, Steeple Jason Island and Grand Jason Island were bought by New York philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, who later donated them to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society. He also gave them US$425,000 to build a conservation station named after himself and his wife Judy. [66]

The US military cleaned up victims of modern history’s largest mass suicide

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:39:34

In November 1978, 909 members of a fanatical cult died — killing themselves and their children using a cyanide and Valium-laced grape drink — to make a political statement: they would die on their own terms in a “revolutionary suicide.” It would be the largest single loss of civilian life until the September 11th terror attacks.

The People’s Temple, as the cult was called, was founded by Jim Jones, a former monkey salesman and self-ordained minister in 1950s Indianapolis. He later moved the church to California. There, the size of the cult grew to around 20,000.

Yep, this guy was their savior.

With that growth, Jones became a public figure and fled to the South American country of Guyana to escape the negative press surrounding the People’s Temple. Jones faced accusations of financial fraud and child abuse and sought to escape what he thought was the persecution from U.S. intelligence agencies.

More than 1,000 members went with him.

Jones and his cult founded Jonestown, an agricultural cooperative on 4,000 acres of poor soil and limited access to fresh water. Temple members worked long days and were punished for disobeying Jones’ orders. They were allowed limited contact with friends and family. Jones even confiscated their passports.

Houses in Jonestown.

Toward the end of the Jonestown experiment, Jones became inceasingly paranoid as his mental state broke down. Congressman Leo Ryan came to Jonestown to investigate allegations that his contituents’ loved ones were actually hostages there. People’s Temple members asked to return home with the Congressman, who took them back to his plane.

That’s when tragedy struck.

After arriving at the airstrip that took Congressman Ryan to the People’s Temple collective, Jones’ armed thugs gunned down the contingent, along with members of the press and some of the defectors. At the same time, Jones was distributing the poisoned punch (which was actually Flavor-Aid, not Kool-Aid, as the saying goes) to the cult members.

An aerial view of the bodies of the victims of the Jonestown tragedy. U.S. Army personnel from Fort Bragg, North Carolina (NC), are placing the remains into body bags. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jose L. Sanchez, Nov. 20, 1978.)

There is evidence that those who didn’t want to imbibe were forced to drink the punch. Jones himself was found dead with a bullet in his head, among the other 900+ bodies.

Within hours of learning about Congressman Ryan’s death, the U.S. State Department received assistance from the 437th Military Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. Charleston C-141 Starlifters led what would be “the most unusual airlift operation since the Berlin Airlift.”

Col. Bruce M. Durvine, vice commander of the 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing, and members of the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron carry boxes of plastic body bags to an HH-53 Jolly Green Giant helicopter for use in the evacuation of bodies from Jonestown. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jose L. Sanchez, Jonestown, Nov. 20, 1978.)

Air Force Combat Controllers were the first American forces on the ground, securing the airstrip area, providing security, and operating the airspace. The Starlifters had to be staged more than 150 miles away from the dirt airstrip where Ryan’s body was found because they were too large for the field.

The military Aeromedical Evacuation Team repatriated eight wounded survivors from the area. It wasn’t until November 20th that Guyanan Defense Forces could reach the Jonestown Compound. The small contingent was overwhelmed by what they found there and asked the Americans to take over.

A U.S. Air Force HH-53 Jolly Green Giant helicopter from the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron stands by to assist in the removal of the remains of the victims of the Jonestown tragedy. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jose L. Sanchez, Georgetown, Nov. 20, 1978.)

According to San Diego State University’s exhaustive study of the Jonestown cult and its aftermath, Army Medic Jeff Brailey was one of the first Americans to enter the compound. He described carrying the poison’s antidote among a sea of bodies, “something he’d never forget.” Army Graves Registration Units tried to identify all the bodies, as they would bodies of soldiers killed in combat.

Jonestown victims’ bodies were to be airlifted to Dover Air Force Base, but first they had to be moved by three HH-53 Jolly Green Giant helicopters to the Starlifter staging area. There were so many bodies, the Air Force ran out of remains transfer cases.

U.S. Army UH-1 Iroquois helicopters are loaded aboard a C-141 Starlifter aircraft for transport back to their home base in the Canal Zone. The helicopters were used during humanitarian relief efforts following the Jonestown tragedy. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jose L. Sanchez, Georgetown, Nov. 20, 1978.)

“Stacked like cordwood,” the bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition. It took 30 helicopter sorties carrying 30 bodies each to get the remains to the Starlifters for transport. Each C-141 could handle 81 remains cases — as long as they were stacked on pallets.

The stench of death in the helicopters was so bad, they were deemed medically unsafe. Task Force personnel who handled the bodies burned their clothing on the runway at the end of the mission.

U.S. military personnel place a body bag containing the remains of the victims of the Jonestown tragedy in a coffin for transport to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Pedro J. Gonzalez, Georgetown, Nov. 20, 1978.)

Jeff Brailey, the Army medic who entered Jonestown, wrote a book about his experience, “The Ghosts of November.”

Falklands War: Everything You Need To Know

A look at how 74 days of war in the Falklands unfolded and what it meant for the UK and Argentina.

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, less than 500km off the coast of Argentina and around 1,200km from the Antarctic.

The Falklands, also known as Islas Malvinas in Spanish, are a British Overseas Territory.

In the early 1980s they were at the centre of an armed dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina.

Known as the Falklands War, the conflict lasted from 2 April until 14 June 1982.

In the 74 days, the diplomatic relations between the two countries were severely strained and it took nearly a decade for them to be fully restored.

Falklands: The Soldier's Perspective - Part One

What was the Falklands War about?

Ultimately, the Falklands War was about sovereignty over the archipelago.

It was not a novel dispute, as it had been going on since 1833 when both the UK and Argentina tried to assert sovereignty over the Falklands.

For more than a century there were several attempts at talks (sometimes supported by the United Nations) between the two countries, but they all failed to reach an agreement and the situation escalated in 1982.

Why was Argentina so interested in the Islas Malvinas?

The Falklands became increasingly important for Argentina in the year leading up to the war.

Based on the information collected in the Falklands Census of 1980, the islands were inhabited by just 1,813 people, with some members of 42 Royal Marines stationed at Moody Brook Barracks.

Nearly all (1,723) of those people held British nationality and just 30 were Argentine nationals.

In 1981, a referendum saw the population vote in favour of remaining under British sovereignty.

However, during the very same year, Argentina was facing a very tough economic and civil situation.

Falklands: The Soldier's Perspective - Part Two

Less than six months before the conflict started, the Argentine military regime changed and a new junta took charge.

As civil unrest and dislike for the military dictatorship grew in Argentina, the junta attempted to shift the public's interest from national issues to a war.

The junta supported claims that the islands held ties with the South American country, but the ultimate goal was most likely to spur a nationalist sentiment across Argentina and for the military regime to gain both popularity and greater influence over the South Atlantic region.

How did the Falklands War start?

On 19 March 1982, scrap metal workers from Argentina arrived on board transport ship ARA Bahia Buen Suceso at a derelict whaling station in Leith, on South Georgia island, and raised the Argentine flag.

The scrap workers, led by merchant Constantino Davidoff, had been contracted to dismantle the abandoned whaling station on the island.

The party was infiltrated by Argentine marines who were posing as civilian scientists and were there to begin what had been code-named Operation Alpha.

The arrival in Leith also failed to follow the correct protocol and that, together with the flag incident, was reported to the governor in Stanley, the capital.

Falklands War: Portsmouth Dockyard Workers Honoured

On 22 March, ARA Bahia Buen Suceso left Leith, but the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) post detected Argentine personnel on the island in the afternoon and informed London.

The Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel HMS Endurance was ordered to set sail together with two helicopters and a Royal Marines detachment for South Georgia.

On 25 March, Argentine marines landed at Leith from icebreaker Bahia Paraiso.

Less than a week later, on 31 March, the Royal Marines detachment disembarked from HMS Endurance but, at the same time, Baha Paraiso slipped away from Leith.

As this was happening in South Georgia, the Argentine forces were preparing to land on the Falklands.

How did the conflict unfold?

In April 1982, Argentina launched Operation Rosario, aiming to capture the islands.

On 2 April, Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands and the following day South Georgia.

Meanwhile, on 29 March the British Government had already dispatched three vessels from Europe to the South Atlantic in response to what was happening in South Georgia.

Following the invasion of the Falklands, the UK formed a task force aimed at retaking control of the islands as part of Operation Corporate.

The task force was made up of vessels that were ready to be deployed at the time, including nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror, aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes.

The British Forces also requisitioned vessels that were not necessarily used for military operations like ocean liners SS Canberra and Queen Elizabeth 2.

By the time the whole task force was put together, the Armed Forces had 127 ships in total – 62 of which were merchant ships.

While preparations were in full swing in the UK, the Royal Air Force set up an airbase on Ascension Island, where bombers, fighters and refuelling aircraft were sent to protect the naval task force that would arrive on its way to the Falklands.

A small task group left Ascension Island on 11 April and reached South Georgia a few days later.

Liberation Day: Adapted Ceremony Marks End Of Falklands War Anniversary

By 25 April, British forces and the Royal Marines had retaken control of the island of South Georgia, successfully completing Operation Paraquet.

Argentine forces and British forces fought in several close-combat battles at sea and in the air.

RAF Vulcan bombers also played a significant part in the Falklands War.

As part of Operation Black Buck, the V-Bombers performed a series of missions from Ascension Island to the Falklands between 30 April and 12 June 1982, specifically targeting first the runway at Port Stanley Airport and later Argentinian anti-aircraft radars.

The series of long-distance bombing missions has been described as ambitious by many and the Vulcan To The Sky Trust defined Op Black Buck as "the RAF's most daring attack" since the Dambusters raid during the Second World War.

Several vessels were lost by both sides, most notably Argentine cruiser General Belgrano and British destroyer HMS Sheffield.

Airpower was also weakened on both sides, but Argentina suffered the loss of what was estimated to be 20% to 30% of their aircraft.

On 21 May, British forces were able to land on the Falklands.

Contrary to what had been expected by Argentinian military officials, the amphibious operation took place in the east of the islands, avoiding the capital Stanley, where the Argentine forces had planned their major resistance points.

Resistance fighting quickly broke out on the islands, but the British infantry made its way southward and captured both Darwin and Goose Green.

Hard fighting continued until British forces were able to surround the capital of Stanley and the main port.

On 14 June 1982, Argentina surrendered, officially marking the end of the 10-week undeclared war.

How many people died?

A total of 907 people lost their lives during the 10-week Falklands War – 255 of them were British, 649 Argentinian and three were Falkland Islanders killed by friendly fire.

Several people were also wounded, including 775 Brits and 1,657 Argentinians.

Everything You Need To Know About British Forces In The Falklands

How was the Falklands War perceived in the UK?

The Falklands War is often defined as a popular war in the United Kingdom.

The conflict took place in the early 1980s, when the British Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher.

Also known as the 'Iron Lady', Mrs Thatcher was facing criticism for her strict policies at the time, which led to high unemployment around the country.

However, her response to the Falklands War and the subsequent relatively quick victory of the UK in the conflict led to an increase in Ms Thatcher's popularity and contributed to her re-election in 1983.

A series of surveys conducted during the war by Ipsos MORI revealed that within the span of a few days, the UK population shifted its key focus from domestic issues such as unemployment and inflation to the situation in the Falklands.

During the war, the public opinion of the Prime Minister also consistently grew, with 45% of respondents saying that their opinion of Mrs Thatcher had "gone up" by the end of June 1982.

What happened next?

The Falklands War severely strained the diplomatic relationship between the United Kingdom and Argentina, and it took until the early 1990s for it to improve again.

However, the 1982 war was just the beginning of further complications in the relations between the two counties, as disputes over the archipelago continue well into the 21st Century.

According to research conducted in 2012, UK-Argentine relations were at the time "in their worst state since 1982".

In November 2017, for the first time since before the conflict, a Royal Air Force aircraft landed in Argentina to support the search for the missing submarine ARA San Juan.

Falklands Cleared Of Landmines Following 1982 Conflict

As of 2021, there are still instances where Britain has actively attempted to oppose the modernisation of the Argentine military kit, blocking potential sales of parts of avionics of British origin.

The situation on the islands themselves was also deeply impacted by the conflict as it is estimated about 30,000 landmines were laid by Argentine forces in 1982.

Despite the end of the hostilities, it took until October 2020 for the Falklands to be declared mine-free.

Argentine Morale

Superior morale helped bring the British victory, but even in this, the sides were closer than expected. When the British attacked Mount Longdon on the night of 11 June, they expected little resistance due to poor morale.

The spirit of the Argentine defenders was strong, and instead of an easy victory the attackers faced a grueling twelve-hour battle, from which Brigadier Julian Thompson almost called the retreat.

The war was fierce and brutal, often fought at close quarters with bayonets and grenades. During the fighting at Two Sisters, Private Oscar Ismael Poltronieri held up a whole British company with gunfire, for which he won the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross, Argentina’s top medal for courage.

The Landings at San Carlos Bay

The ships belonging to the British Task Force began landing troops at San Carlos Bay in the Falkland Islands on 21 May, 1982, led in part by Brigadier J H Thompson of the Royal Marines.

Ships carrying British troops began landing at San Carlos Bay in the Falkland Islands on 21 May 1982, following orders from London. Among the men arriving at the bay was 3 Commando Brigade, which was led by Brigadier J H Thompson, Royal Marines and assisted by Colonel T Seccombe, Royal Marines. Other troops landing included 40, 42 and 45 Commando and soldiers from 2 Para and 3 Para, Parachute Regiment.

London had given orders to secure the beachhead from Argentine attack and to ensure that as many troops and essential supplies as possible were landed safely at San Carlos Bay. Men from the Special Forces units were immediately sent out to search for and deal with any threats from nearby Argentine forces, in order that the landings were not interrupted and troops were not put at risk from the enemy.

San Carlos Settlement

These units launched an attack on the enemy forces based north of the bay at Fanning Head, as this location gave the enemy a good view of San Carlos Bay, therefore making them an added threat to the landings. The attack took place with the British men coming in on helicopters and using GPMG’s, supported by HMS Antrim gunfire. Following the attack, the enemy soldiers were offered the chance to surrender but would not do so. In total, 11 Argentinean soldiers lost their lives in the attack, while six were captured as prisoners of war and the rest fled from the scene. Attacks backed up by gunfire from HMS Ardent were also carried out on the banks of Argentine men located close to Darwin, which lay south of the bay. Each of these attacks happened as the Task Force was closing in on San Carlos Bay with its fleet of ships, troops and supplies.

In the first British landing at San Carlos Bay (Blue Beach), 40 Commando, 3 Commando Brigade HQ and 2 Para arrived, while the second phase of the landings saw 45 Commando and a range of artillery and logistic units land at Ajax Bay (Red Beach). Finally, Port San Carlos (Green Beach) saw the arrival of 42 Commando, 3 Para and artillery units.

Overall, the Task Force landings were seen as a major success as all the 2,400 troops and supplies that were needed arrived safely on shore. However, a number of ships were lost in the landings, which was a real blow for the British defence. Small transport ships were stationed in San Carlos Bay while big escort vessels were stationed in the Falklands Sound, and all of them were clear targets for air attacks by the Argentine troops. The British set up twelve Rapier missile systems close to the bay in order to ward off any attacks, however the travelling had altered these systems for the worse and they took a long time to become operational and provide the protection they were meant to. Alongside ships, two Gazelle helicopters were also lost as a result of Argentine Marine gunfire.

Following the landings, Brigadier Thompson was set to work moving his men to Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. The majority of the men had to travel there on foot carrying their supplies, ensuring a long, tiring journey. In terms of next steps, Thompson ordered 2 Para to head south to launch attacks on the enemy based at Goose Green and Darwin, while the Royal Marines were told to head east to do battle with the enemy forces at Two Sisters and Mount Harriet. Meanwhile, 3 Para were busy attacking at Mount Longdon.

Watch the video: Falklands War 1982 DOCUMENTARY