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Falkland Islands: forbidden to forget

Documents that synthesize the history of the Argentine archipelago and which Britain has forcibly retained since 1833. The Falkland Question is the Question of All. And not just every 2 April.

Islas Malvinas

 The Falkland Islands are the best-known archipelago in the world. The set of 200 islands that constitute it were in the mouth of Reyes, Lords, consuls and presidents since the 18th century, even sketched by inspired feathers, Englishman Samuel Johnson said they would forever be “useless to the Crown... buccaneer's shelters”; “islands too much famous”, in the verses of the last Borges.   For her, despite the thirteen thousand kilometers away, the divine King Louis XV, and his mistress Madame du Barry, and the ideologue of British imperialism, Lord Palmerston, put their thoughts.  Until San Martín, through Antonio Beruti, he thought of those “barren and sad soledades” as a great prison of deserters and renegade Spaniards.   And more notoriety came from the British usurpation of January 2, 1833, and the sustained Argentine claim, which include South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. With successes and mistakes, from Manuel Moreno, Mariano's brother, and passing through Alfredo Palacios, fundamental in raising awareness to Argentines thanks to his tireless anti-imperialist preaching, the representatives of the Nation never ceded in restitution the “lost little sister”, and  in honor of those who have lost the restitution. two, from the gauchos who rebelled to the occupation, to the 650 compatriots who defended sovereignty in 1982. As Paul Groussac's study concluded that Palacios had distributed in each school, and library in the country, in 1936, “for Argentines, the question of the Falklands is the pending issue” 

A tour of the documents, and testimonies, of the different eras allows us to recompose the arguments on both sides. And it makes it possible to understand the differences between Europeans who saw “150 nautical miles from the Strait of Magellan”, for some, first Américo Vespucio in 1502, on behalf of the King of Portugal - so it would be, with the Treaty of Tordesillas, recognized the Spanish empire. Others, on the other hand, claim that it was the Englishman John Davis, in 1592 - and formerly Francis Drake in 1577, and  not Richard Hawkins in 1593, for years the argument of the English, the latter who in his memoirs described in the Falklands “rivers of freshwater, campfires and temperate climate similar to England (sic )”.  

“We had a heavy storm, so we were forced to sail, as our sails should not induce any force,” wrote Davis, a pirate deserter who caught in the Pacific but was drifting along the Patagonian coasts, “on the 14th we were driven between certain islands never previously discovered by any acquaintance,” he closed in his report to Elizabeth of England. At the same time Spanish and Portuguese sailors already knew it as the Isla de los Lobos  - and began an uncontrolled international predation that extinguished entire species, for example the only quadruped, the  warrah , a fox never seen since 1897.

 Historians agree that the first sighting corresponds to a Dutch sailor, Sebald de Wert, and that he made the maps appear as the Sebald- or Sebaldine Islands - in the seventeenth century . These Dutch cartographies trigger alarms of Spanish diplomacy, which holds its rights in the face of the English maritime expansionism that was beginning to glimpse, with the rain of patents to pirates looting ships from all flags — especially Hispanic.  Among the many commercial companies that crossed the seas was the South Sea, which started from one of the most powerful ports of the time, Saint Malo, north of France. Several times these sailors arrived at the Sebaldinas, and perhaps landed to hunt in search of leathers and tallow. These “malouines”, which castilization by, replacement “ou” by “v”, would give their kindness to the archipelago.  

Malvinas Argentinas


 The two British invasions to Falklands — and the French colony 

 The first English invasion of the Falkland Islands was on 27 January 1690.   On that day John Strong disembarks on the western island, “to inspect algae, penguins and geese (sic)”  In his passage between the two islands he called the Falkland Strait Canal, in tribute to its protective admiral, and he ended in calling the whole, but initially only referred to the western island to distinguish it from the eastern “spanish” (sic) Strong is for the British the first that could be thrown to have planted flag. Although there is irrefutable evidence, in some writings guarded in the Library of Paris, that were actually the men of Magellan, under the Spanish crown, and almost a century earlier, the first of the Old Continent. The names of Jerónimo Guerra and Esteban Gomes, who participated in the first foundation of Buenos Aires along with Pedro de Mendoza, according to Arnaldo Canclini, is mentioned.  

“On Monday 27 January we saw the land of Hawkins (sic)... we sent a boat to the beach... Tuesday 28, we saw a rock secluded about four or five leagues from the big island... at eight o'clock Wednesday night we anchored, without landing... on Thursday we went down in search of water and firewood, which still does not appear.” appears in Strong's newspaper, which has never been published in full according to E.M.S. Danero, “on Thursday we left the port -natural- with wind O.S.O... on Saturday 1st of February we enlisted and sent to the big boat to go ahead polling” and the next day Strong's Welfare had ; to abondado las Malvinas towards Magellanes. A week lasted the discovery, and presence, English.

For 70 years no European ever stepped on the islands, nor contradicted Spanish sovereignty. However, there was almost war for them in 1740 between Spain and England, when a powerful fleet was chartered from London in order to explore the islands but “without any intention of settling” (sic), without success because it could not arrive by the scurvy that killed almost all English sailors -and to the Spaniards who had enlisted to arrest them. However, it left a precedent in English Captain Anson's recommendation to obtain the islands as a military base of operations.  That means the second English invasion was being prepared. Captain Byron departed secretly to that end, and on January 15, 1765 he founded Port Egmont in the West Malvina, in homage now the first lord of the admiralty. They left a small garrison on those lands claimed for King George III and departed for Cape Horn . If the poet Byron's grandfather, who stressed that “His Majesty's entire fleet” could meet in the bay, he would be surprised that another imperialist colony already existed a year ago in the Falklands. A Frenchman.

 On February 3, 1764 Port Louis was founded by the French nobleman entrepreneur Bougainville, who had invested his fortune, and semi-convinced the court of the last French Sun King, Louis XVI, to bring the first colonizing project to the Falklands, in an ambitious agriculture and fishing plan.   Byron's successor, McBride, who was ordered to evict anyone who did not recognize His Majesty, took a capital surprise when only 80 miles from his fort he met a series of houses and fortifications exceeding 250, and abundant orchards with matarifes. He wanted to intimidate the French to retire, but they vehemently intimidated the English to immediately leave the squalid Port Egmont, “the most horrific place I've ever seen in my life,” described an English sailor.  MacBride left for England, leaving a dozen men, in order to communicate the failure of the invading mission in January 1767, again failed because France, which wished as an ally to Spain against England, had decided to sell the colony for 250 thousand pounds.  

“And through these payments... I force myself in every way to hand over to the Court of Spain those establishments with their families, houses, works, woods, boats there built and plumbed on the expedition,” Bougainville signed the first Spanish governor Felipe Ruiz Puente, backed by the governor of Buenos Aires Francisco Bucareli, on April 25, 1767, “and finally everything that belonged to the Company of  Saint Maló ”, in a hallmark recognition of the rights of the Spanish Crown over the Islands. This signified the legal principle of sovereignty that consolidated the Hispanic position before the world, and on June 10, 1770 evicted the British from Puerto Egmont, and although they returned in 1771, after  three years they abandoned the fortification in compliance with a pact & secret” which sought to save the English honor, and, at the same time, admitted usurpation against Spanish lands. In the British Naval Chronicle they refer to the evacuation of Port Egmont, “these islands pertinently claimed by the English, were ceded to Spain,” according to Adolfo Saldías .

Before leaving the islands, the English left a lead plate at the gate of the fort, “Let all nations know that the (singular) island of Falkland, along with this fort and the warehouses, pier, port and bays and inlets that belong to it, are dominion and unique property of his Very Sacred Property Jorge III” This plaque was immediately removed by the realists and is believed to be taken by Beresford, the marshal of the first failed British invasion of Buenos Aires in 1806, although it could never be found.  We should start counting the English invasions since 1690.  


 Homeland Government, American crimes, English usurpation 

 “ That henceforth be paid by the Ministry of Navy, all salaries, bonuses, wages, and other expenses that occur in or belong to that establishment, Malvinas,” signed Cornelio de Saavedra and Juan José Paso on May 30, 1810, five days after the May Revolution , with regard to a request of the garrison on the island for arrears since 1806, “to preserve the unity in the mode, so necessary and convenient in the objects of the royal service... at the disposal of the Higher Board”, ratifying the patriots the rights over the archipi... eacute; lake, “ all the rights that the former metropolis - Spain - had in the material possession of the Falklands and all the others surrounding Cape Horn, even those known under the name of Tierra del Fuego, being justified that possession by the right of the first occupant, by the consent of the main maritime powers in Europe and by the adjacency of these islands to the continent that formed the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires”, justified the governor   Martín Rodríguez  on June 10, 1829 when the Malvinas Islands Civil and Military Command was created.   This decree allows the delay in the formation of an Argentine island government, although in 1820 the “Heroine”, under the command of North American David Jewett, had been sent in commission to take possession in the name of “the United Provinces to which they belong by natural law” hellip; One of the main objectives of my task is to prevent the unattentive destruction of the source of resources, for ships passing, or forced landfall arriving to the islands.”  This corsair in the service of the Buenos Aires government found six English and ten American ships fishing illegally, without Argentine permits, and who were invited to withdraw without any scandal or protests from their respective Governments. J ewett first hoisted the sky and white in the Falklands  - although perhaps he reached his bays on a trip by Admiral Brown in 1815.  

The arrival of Commander Luis Vernet in 1829 revolutionized Malvinas's tranquility and his ardorous project of turning the islands into a “great national fishery”, demonstrating their economic viability, which had been discarded by French and English alike, ended up perhaps playing against the interests of the Nation for its excessive zeal. What can not be denied is that he was a man of great dreams, this merchant of French origin, born in Hamburg, “ the one who subscribes political and military commander of the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego and Isla Adjacentes had the honor to offer V.E. in note on December 26, 1829 a plan for the sooner promoted this colony,” wrote Governor Rosas in 1831, seeing that from Buenos Aires there was little support while he was running out of his heritage. Vernet played a whole in this company that took 100 settlers from the Rio de la Plata, among them the first Malvinas gauchos, “the whole Falkland Islands have good ports, abound in fish, enough for the support of considerable populations... and for export... the soil is for the most part own for agriculture...  the islands -adycentes- would deserve a small establishment, not more than twelve fishermen, to fish... and to monitor that those of other flags do not fish... and to avoid a warship to force foreigners to respect the rights... whose protection. it would also be ineffective because they have so many points to save... -And for the Argentinean inhabitants who want to inhabit Malvinas, more- do not pay lease, you have no narrowness of land, are free of duty contribution for twenty years, and has the market for their products at the door & rdquo; 

On July 30, 1831 Vernet arrested two American schooners who were illegally hunting seals in Argentine waters, and returned to Buenos Aires in one of them, to try the foreigners - while he sold the confiscated loot. Here the defendants come into contact with the United States consul, who authorizes the war frigate “Lexington”, in Montevideo, to retaliate at the same Port de la Soledad (former Puerto Luis) against the Argentines.  On the last day of 1832 the American sailors practically razed the population and plunder meansave, after they manage to disembark by deceiving with a neutral flag, and forced the settlers a desperate flight into the interior of the island “The unanimous explosion of indignation ; n that has produced this odious outrage in you is fully justified, and there will certainly be the same feeling that men of honor from any part of the world where it is heard,” cried Governor Balcarce  on  February 14, 1832, while his minister Maza engaged in an arduous discussion with the US representatives, who are beginning to deny Argentine power over the islands with flimsy arguments - in tune to the English Consul Parish who had already opposed the creation of an Argentinean command on the islands... One of the most dire consequences of the outrage American, which was never compensated by the country of the Monroe Law, America for the Americans, is that criminal commander Duncan assured that after his misdeeds the “islands were free from every government”  

 Only a year later the corvette of His Majesty “Clío”, commanded by James Onslow, entered behind the promontory of Puerto de la Soledad , amid a civil disorder caused by the rebellion, with the following order, “you must inform you that you received orders from the SE on commander-in-chief of the SMB Naval Forces, stationed in South America, to achieve sovereignty right over these islands on behalf of SMB.  It is my intention to raise tomorrow the national pavilion of Great Britain on the ground, where you ask, serve to rent yours, and withdraw your forces, carrying with you all the effects pertaining to your government”, ended on 2 January 1833. Argentine commander José María Pinedo of schooner Sarandí protested vigorously but did not have enough men to resist, most of his English crew in addition, and left for Buenos Aires. What is, Pinedo refused to rent our flag, and had to be withdrawn by the usurpers themselves . The English had nothing but a couple of days, on a makeshift stick they hoisted their flag, and left only one man in charge of the usurped land, the pansetter William Dickson. For eight years the Falklands were chaos, disorder and predation.  Only in 1841 with the arrival of Richard Moody, the founder of Port Stanley/Puerto Argentino, Great Britain managed the islands, at a time when the foreign policy of Rosism pooled a renewed Americanism.  

“ We do not expect to convince the English government of the value of our reasons,” said  Groussac  in 1910, a French intellectual so Argentine, director of the National Library, in words which are contemporaneous to us, “not even of the desirability of every kind that advises the definitive solution of this enervant and endless question of the Falklands. So we have written not for him, but for men of good will who perhaps only hope to know the cause of truth and righteousness” 

Malvinas Argentinas


Sources: Saldías, A.  History of the Argentine Confederation.  Buenos Aires: Hyspamerica. 1987; AGN,  Documentary Milestones. Falkland Islands . Buenos Aires: Konex Foundation. 1982; Danero, EMS  The whole history of the Falklands . Buenos Aires: Tor. 1946; Groussac, P.  Malvina Islandss.  Buenos Aires: Ministry of Education. 2015

Publication Date: 02/04/2021

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Malvinas Malvinas Survivors: 37 Years of Injustice
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