Falkland Islands History

Falkland Islands History

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago consists of two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland as well as a number of smaller islands.

The islands are largely administered as an autonomous overseas territory in the United Kingdom (UK). The administration is headquartered in the town of Stanley (formerly Port Stanley) on the island of East Falkland.

According to programingplease.com, Argentina considers the archipelago as part of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego and claims the islands and designates them by their Spanish name Islas Malvinas.

The islands are famous for their impressive wealth of seabirds, sea elephants, sea lions and colonies of penguins.

The islands were uninhabited when the first Europeans went ashore. Whether they have been inhabited in the past is the subject of discussion, but archaeological remains have never been found from an indigenous people on the islands and the existence of such is quite unlikely, as the distance to the South American mainland is more than 450 km.


16th century – Several explorers may have seen islands, which may have been the Falkland Islands.

1592 – Captain John Davis discovers the Falkland Islands on 14 August, in search of the Northwest Passage, but the expedition fails. It was not until about a century later that the first recorded landing took place. It was the British Captain John Strong in 1690.

1598 – The most common assumption is that the first explorer to reach the archipelago was a Dutch sailor, Sebald de Weert. However, Spanish and British historians have claimed that others from different countries had previously discovered the islands.

1696 – A British navigator, William Dampier, sails around the islands. He went out as a buccaneer because he considered it the easiest way to travel the world. This was something he did a total of three times, as the first person in the world. He was the first Englishman to explore and map parts of Australia and New Guinea. He made thorough observations of the travels and published the book A New Voyage Round the World in 1697.

1701 – Jacques Gouin de Beauchêne, discovers the southernmost island in the Falkland Islands, located about 54 km south of Porpoise Point in Lafonia. The island was named after him in great honor – Beauchene Island.

1713 – Trade rivalry between Spain, Britain and France, led to the Treaty of Utrecht.

1740 – Lord George Anson of Britain visits the islands and recommends that they be used as a base for England to explore the Pacific Ocean.

1764 – The first French settlement is established by Louis Antoine de Bougainville, construction begins on Fort de St. Louis on the island of East Falkland and on April 5, he officially took possession of the islands for France at a ceremony during which, among other things. was fired a salute of 21 cannon shots. The colony was ceded to Spain two years later. The islands were for a very long time the subject of territorial disputes; first between Britain and Spain, then Britain and Argentina.

1764-1766 – John Byron embarks on a world tour. Among other things, he annexed Falkland Islands and discovered the Tuamotu Islands, Tokelau and Gilbert Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Cape Byron, the easternmost point in Australia was named after him by James Cook.

1811 – Spain moves from the islands.

1820 – In March, Daniel Jewett sets sail and embarks on a voyage marked by accidents, mutiny, scurvy, and piracy against Portuguese and American ships. About 80 of his crew of 200 were either sick or dead when he arrived on October 27 at Purto Soledad (later renamed Port Louis ). He discovered there 50 British and American seal hunting ships. On November 6, he hoisted the United Provinces of the River Plate flag, declaring Argentine ownership of the islands.

1834 – Charles Darwin spends several months and twice as long as in the Galapagos Islands, pointing out the long-running dispute between Buenos Aires and London, but his description of the islands was very apt: “ hilly landscape, which gives the impression of desolation and misery, where everything is either peaty soil or brittle grass. ” After his voyage with HMS Beagle (1831-1836), he concluded that all species had evolved from a common ancestor, out of all the information he had gathered on the voyage, he later formulated the theory of evolution, which explains, among other things, how new species can emerge. He published the book “ The Voyage of the Beagle”In 1839, which brought him great fame and respect.

1845 – Stanley becomes the islands’ administrative center. The town is named after the British Secretary of Defense Lord Stanley, who at this time was in charge of the British colonies. He never visited the islands.

1881 – The islands become economically independent.

1884 – After a period of 34 years, Argentina requests that the sovereignty conflict go to international arbitration, but Britain ignores the request. Argentina therefore issued a new map showing the Falkland Islands as their territory, prompting Britain to protest.

1914 – On December 8, during World War I, there is a naval battle between units of the Royal Navy and the German Kaiserliche Marine, in which the British, after being shaken by the defeat at the Battle of the Coronel, hunted down the German naval officer and Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee and destroyed the German naval vessels. Spee went down with his flagship, the SMS Scharnhorst, along with his two sons, Otto (on Nuremberg ) and Heinreich (on the Gneisenau ). Several German warships have since been named after Maximilian von Spee, e.g.Admiral Graf Spee.

1916 – Ernest Shackleton visited i.a. Stanley with his Endurance expedition, on his way back from a failed trip to Antarctica. The participants in the expedition had not had contact with the outside world since 1914 and were not aware of the outbreak of World War II. The news of Shackleton’s arrival in the Falkland Islands briefly reached the headlines on June 2, 1916. The participants in the expedition returned home little by little at a critical time during the war and did not receive the expected hero reception. When Shackleton himself returned to England on May 29, 1917 after a brief trip to the United States, where he told of the expedition, his return was scarcely noticed.

1982 – Argentina invades the islands, triggering the Falklands War, during which Britain regained the islands in support of the islands’ right to self-determination. The fighting took place between April 2 and June 14, 1982. The 74-day war cost dearly: 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three islanders lost their lives. The dispute over the Falkland Islands has meant cold air between Argentina and Britain for almost 180 years (2012).

Falkland Islands History