Falkland Islands History and Demographics

According to Physicscat.com, the Falkland Islands constitute an archipelago of South America located on the epicontinental platform called the Argentine Sea in the South Atlantic Ocean, at a minimum distance of 480 km from Argentine Patagonia, 940 km north of Elephant Island in Antarctica and 1080 km west of the South Georgia islands (of Argentina, although also illegally occupied by the United Kingdom).

The word Malvinas is a derivation of Malouines, a name given by the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville in 1764 in memory of the port of Saint-Malo in France.

The name Falkland was taken from the Falkland Sound, the channel between the two main islands, which had been coined by the navigator John Strong in honor of Anthony Cary, fifth Viscount Falkland, treasurer of the Royal British Navy, extending to the entire archipelago.

The name Islas Malvinas, traditional in Spanish, is the name used in the official documentation of all Spanish-speaking countries and in Brazil (Ilhas Malvinas). It is also the name used in the joint declaration of the presidents of the members of Mercosur and Bolivia and Chile in 1996. For the Organization of American States (OAS) the name used officially in Spanish is “Islas Malvinas” and in English “Malvinas Islands “. In the United Nations, the name used in Spanish is “Islas Malvinas (Falklands)” and in English “Falkland Islands (Malvinas)”.



The islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by European explorers, but there are indications that indigenous Patagonians reached the Falklands in canoes: archaeological pieces such as arrowheads and remains of a canoe were found.

There is no fully proven evidence about who and when the islands were discovered, but there are various hypotheses that attribute the sighting or visit of the islands to: Esteban Gómez (in 1520), Simón de Alcazaba and Alonso de Camargo (before 1540), John Davis (in 1592) and Richard Hawkins (in 1594).

The first to leave undoubted traces of his visit was the Dutch sailor Sebald de Weert, in the year 1600.

That is why the Dutch maps of the time showed the name of Sebald Islands.

In January 1690 the Englishman John Strong would have reached the Sebald Islands, sailing between the two main islands and named the passage “Falkland Channel” in honor of his patron Anthony Cary, fifth Viscount of Falkland, who as Commissioner of the Admiralty had financed the expedition. British cartography would adopt the name of the channel, to designate the entire group of islands.

First occupation of the islands

The British visits subsequently caused a series of frictions with Spain and in 1740 there was an armed confrontation between the fleets of both countries without a clear winner. In 1764, the French Count Louis Antoine de Bougainville established Port Louis on Soledad Island and took possession of the islands in the name of the King of France. Faced with the Spanish protest, in 1766 France agreed to evacuate them and recognized Spanish sovereignty over the archipelago, with the condition of indemnifying Bougainville.

The 115 French settlers were under the government of Felipe Ruiz Puente, who proceeded to build a chapel and other buildings, establishing the Government of the Malvinas Islands. At the same time, the British founded Port Egmont on the island Trinidad of the Sebaldinas group of islands. Spain achieved the withdrawal of the British within the framework of the agreements called Nutka Conventions. In 1811 the Malvinas were evacuated by the Spanish, remaining deserted until 1820, being only visited by whaling ships of various nationalities.

Argentine establishment

In 1820 the government of Buenos Aires sent a frigate to take possession and reaffirm its rights in the Malvinas, as a succession to Spain. From 1823 he granted Luis María Vernet the exploitation of the islands’ resources. On June 10, 1829, the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands was created with a seat on Soledad Island and jurisdiction on the islands adjacent to Cape Horn. On 30 August as as 1829 Vernet founded Puerto Luis.

British occupation of the islands

Vernet’s control activities against American whaling ships caused the United States’ war corvette Lexington to destroy the Port Soledad facility.

The 2 of January of 1833 came the British frigate HMS Clio, at the command of Captain John James Onslow, who informed the Argentine boss that the islands since that time belonged to the king of the United Kingdom. The captain of the schooner Sarandí, José María Pinedo, did not consider himself in a position to resist and chose to embark his men and return to Buenos Aires. The following day the British forces disembarked, raised their flag and lowered the one that Pinedo had left, taking possession of the Malvinas.

Malvinas War

On April 2, 1982, Argentine military forces regained control of the Malvinas after 149 years of British administration – with the aim of diverting attention from the bloody dictatorship to which they subjected the Argentine people. Negotiations were held for six weeks in order to avoid a war. However, the conservative government of Margaret Thatcher – with the aim of diverting attention from the cruel neoliberal experiment to which it subjected the British people – was determined to military confrontation and sank the cruiser General Belgrano outside the military exclusion zone set by the The British themselves, which made the beginning of combative actions inevitable.

Washington’s support for Great Britain ratified the sham and inoperation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). Among the articles of this defense pact of 1947, is the 3.1 where it is established that an armed attack by any State against an American State, will be considered as an attack against all American States. The TIAR has been invoked, at least 20 times, but only in accordance with the interests of the White House, the same to judge Cuba as to justify its so-called war against terrorism, however in this case, the only one in Since an extracontinental power is really attacking a country in the hemisphere, the United States did not allow continental solidarity with Argentina to be exercised.

In her memoirs, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher highlights the importance of the English triumph as a personal triumph of her Government. This contributed to his subsisting for two more periods in power, at a time when conflicts were affecting British society. In fact, “the iron lady” rejected any possibility of a negotiated solution.

After the war, the islanders obtained full British citizenship, their lifestyle was improved by the investments made by the United Kingdom and the liberation of the economic measures that had been paralyzed to avoid conflicts with Argentina. In 1985, a new Constitution was promulgated, which gave the islanders a higher level of autonomy. In Argentina the result of the war had among its effects the definitive avoidance of a possible war with Chile and triggered the end of the military dictatorship and the return to democracy.

After the end of hostilities, the British government prohibited the entry of any civilian with an Argentine passport to the Falklands, but later the entry of Argentines with a tourist passport was allowed.


The population of the islands is 2,478, the majority of whom are of British descent (approximately 70%). The people of the United Kingdom who obtained their status on the islands are known in the area as belongers. However, a few are of Scandinavian descent. Others are the descendants of the whalers who reached the islands during the last two centuries. There is also a small minority of Americans, whose origin is mainly Chilean and lately, many people from Santa Helena have come to work on the islands.

Residents of the Falklands are known as kelpers; This name is derived from the algae found around the islands, called kelp in English. However they prefer to call themselves islanders (islanders).

The main religion is Christianity. The main denominations are the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the United Non-Conformist Church, the Evangelical Church, that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Lutheran Church and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The extra-provincial Anglican parish of the islands Falklands is under the direct jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Falkland Islands form an Apostolic Prefecture of the Catholic Church that is not included in the Catholic ecclesial structures of the United Kingdom or Argentina. Currently, the Catholic Apostolic Prefect of the Malvinas is at the same time rector of the mission sui juris of Santa Helena and its dependencies.

Falkland Islands History

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