Monday, April 11, 2005

History of Falkland Islands

History of Falkland Islands. This is a short history to the still disputed British territory of the Falkland Islands. Or, as Argentina calls it, the "Islas Malvinas."

From the site:

The Falkland Islands were first seen by Davis in the year 1592 and Sir Richard Hawkins sailed along their north shore in 1594. The claims of Amerigo Vespucci to a previous discovery are doubtful. In 1598 Sebald de Wert, a Dutchman, visited them, and called them the Sebald Islands, a name which they bear on some Dutch maps. Captain Strong sailed through between the two principal islands in 1690, landed upon one of them, and called the passage Falkland Sound, and from this the group afterwards took its English name.

In 1764, the French explorer De Bougainville took possession of the islands on behalf of his country, and established a colony at Port Louis on Berkeley Sound. But in 1767 France ceded the islands to Spain, De Bougainville being employed as intermediary. Meanwhile in 1765 Commodore Byron had taken possession on the part of England on the ground of prior discovery, and had formed a settlement at Port Egmont on the small island of Saunders. The Spanish and English settlers remained in ignorance, real or assumed, of each other's presence until 1769-1770, when Byron's action was nearly the cause of a war between England and Spain, both countries having armed fleets to contest the barren sovereignty. In 1771, however, Spain yielded the islands to Great Britain by convention.

As they had not been actually colonized by England, the republic of Buenos Aires claimed the group in 1820, and subsequently entered into a dispute with the United States of America concerning the rights to the products of these islands. On the representations of Great Britain the Buenos Aireans withdrew, and the British flag was once more hoisted at Port Louis in 1833, and since that time the Falkland Islands have been a regular British colony.

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